There’s a shortage of skillsets across the construction industry. People new to construction, especially the younger generation, aren’t always trained and encouraged to join the sector, creating a labour shortage in an industry proud of its specialisms.
Yet it doesn’t need to be this way, especially as our very own Sarra (our company director) is on a mission to change this – creating new and improved ways to get young people into construction.
Sarra’s commitment to changing the face of the construction industry and its opportunities for young people means she actively champions training and upskilling in the sector, passing on skills and knowledge to the next generation.
Volunteering as a STEM ambassador
Sarra’s community work is done not as a paid role but as a volunteer, demonstrating her passion for impact and knowledge sharing. Through her work as a STEM Ambassador for the Construction Industry Training Board, she has spent more than four years visiting schools and colleges, meeting young people in their own environments to share her technical expertise and raise awareness of construction opportunities and the variety of roles available.
Sarra is an industry champion with the East Sussex Careers Hub and an enterprise advisor with Skills East Sussex, where she’s worked for more than five years. These roles, which again are voluntary, mean Sarra can connect with young people to share construction opportunities and her expertise to mentor and support them at the start of their career journeys.
Supporting young people who face challenges
As an enterprise advisor, Sarra is passionate about equal opportunities and sharing ways young people can develop themselves and their chances in life. Through this role, she connects with Lindfield School in Eastbourne: a local secondary school for students with additional educational needs, such as learning difficulties, autism, and speech, language and communication difficulties.
Here, Sarra looks at things from the perspective of both a young people’s champion and an industry employer. As well as discussing opportunities available in construction, she advises these young people about what an employer, like her, would expect from them in the workplace, giving them a chance to consider how to meet expectations and therefore achieve success.
Championing women in construction
Not only is Sarra driven in her approach to train and upskill more young people, but she’s also hugely passionate about addressing and rectifying the gender imbalance in construction.
Naturally, Sarra herself is proof of the talents of the women in the construction sector and how, with hard-work and dedication, there’s huge potential for leadership opportunities and incredible success. Leading by example, Sarra shows young women what can be achieved in construction and how absorbing knowledge and growing confidence means women take up the space they deserve to within the traditionally male-dominated sector. You can listen to some of Sarra’s thoughts on this and her experiences working with women in the industry here.
Connecting fellow industry leaders
Sarra knows change for the future begins with people working in the sector today. As the current Chairperson of Constructing Excellence Sussex, she strives to connect like-minded construction professionals who share her values and those of Hawes Construction Group, including pride, ownership, and a pledge to be the best they can be.
As Chairperson, Sarra aims to spark industry innovation. She works with others to create opportunities to educate people on industry practices that have a key influence over training and upskilling opportunities for young people.
Sarra and the wider Hawes Construction Group team want to inspire everyone to share their technical expertise and industry experience how and where they can, so the construction sector can grow and thrive. To discover how you can get involved, take a look at the Give an Hour scheme, which asks you to spend just 60 minutes of your time connecting with the next generation.
Sarra is delighted to already be playing her part in training, upskilling and improving both confidence and opportunities for young people in construction.
You might not have heard much about reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) until it made the news recently. Used in […]
Over the course of some of our most recent projects, we have been quietly working away on something in the […]