The long-term success of our industry depends on our capacity to attract new talent. So it is vital that we take steps today to build enthusiasm among young people – while raising the prestige of our profession.
Globally, our sector is suffering from a severe skills shortage, leaving businesses struggling to find suitably qualified staff. While many organisations have expressed concerns over this issue, not enough are taking progressive action to reverse this trend.
We believe the answer lies in education. To this end we are working with schools and colleges to engage with adolescents as they begin to make the choices that will shape their working lives. Through a combination of learning experiences and vocational guidance, our project teams are helping students make informed decisions about their future – while providing an exciting insight into the many different careers our industry has to offer.
Over the longer term, we hope to support schools in setting aside more time for construction-related skills, promoting greater interest in science, technology, maths and engineering.
At the other end of the educational spectrum, we have formed a network of alliances with some of the world’s most prestigious universities. Through our partnerships with the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London we have developed two unique masters degrees. Open to applicants from across the world, the programmes seek to develop the next generation of industry innovators, challenging candidates to rethink current practices.
Alongside this, we continue to work with our own people to help build the skills and mindsets our industry will need to meet future engineering challenges profitably and sustainably. The training and development of our employees remains one of our most significant areas of investment.
Through bespoke schemes, such as our Apprenticeship Plus and Cadet programmes, we are offering exciting career paths that combine project-based experience with formal academic qualifications.
These funded learning opportunities provide young people with attractive alternatives to full-time education. Moreover, as we increasingly move toward more high-tech methods of delivery, such programmes will become vital in creating the multi-skilled workforce we need to sustain ourselves well into the future.
We believe that a strong leadership capability is vital to any organisation. For this reason we are continually working to build the skills of our senior executives, functional leaders and key project delivery personnel.
Our ‘Young Guns’, ‘Guns’ and ‘Big Guns’ internal programmes are designed to fast-track high-potential employees into leadership roles. Many of our senior leaders have benefited directly from being part of these learning networks and subsequently pass their knowledge on to new entrants to Laing O'Rourke through our mentoring and development programmes.