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East Midlands Chamber News

'Dragons' to inspire students into construction

Some of Nottingham's top business people will turn into 'dragons' tomorrow when tasked to encourage more young people into the construction industry they mentor university students.

A project called BE Inspired aims to combat the skills gap locally following news that the skills gap is widening across the construction sector with fewer young people choosing professions in architecture, surveying, engineering, project management and planning.

Nottingham Trent University is linking with the Construction Industry Council to create BE Inspired – a competition for students from Nottingham Business School and the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment at Nottingham Trent University.

BE Inspired will see students produce a three-minute video and outline a social media campaign aimed at young people. The project will seek to engage and inform young people that a career in the construction industry offers lots of opportunity.

This week students will gather at a 'Dragon’s Den'-style competition to receive feedback on their story boards as part of BE Inspired.

Maria Willis, of Construction Coach and chair of the East Midlands Construction Industry Council, is working with the university to help launch BE Inspired. She said: “We are delighted to welcome so many 'dragons' and their leadership and experience will be vital for students during this stage of the process.

“Following last month’s launch, which saw students speed network, they have worked hard to design a social media campaign to attract young people into construction.”

'Dragons' will include Maria, Tim Garratt - MD of regional property agency Innes England, Gleeds Recruitment Manager and BE Inspired panellist Jackie Lister, Darren Beford - Associate Director at Mace; Berni Dickinson - Director of Marketing and Enterprise at Evolve Trust, James Bromley - Commercial Director of Laing O’Rourke, and Alison Whitlock - Head of Talent Development at Confetti Media.

In March, there will be an official launch event and prize-giving at Antenna in Nottingham to show the winning team’s video. The package will then be used in industry to encourage young people into the construction sector.

Winners of the competition will get a cash prize and a valuable insight into the workings of property and construction.

Sponsors of BE Inspired are construction firm Laing O’Rourke, construction consultancy company Gleeds, consultancy and construction firm Mace, leading Midlands property agents Innes England, creative agency RizkMcCay and specialist construction PR agency Cartwright Communications.

Each sponsor is getting involved in BE Inspired and offering support to the students who sign up.

Jackie Lister said: “We’re really excited to be part of the campaign. It’s important that businesses like ours are proactive in attracting new talent to fill the growing number of job opportunities across the industry, not only in the UK but across the world.

“We’re always looking for inspiring new ways to connect with young people. Reaching out to students while they are still studying gives them a good opportunity to really understand what the industry is about – there are hundreds of different career paths to choose from.”

Tim Garratt said: “It’s very important to be involved in this project and it’s already been very interesting to see what the students have come up with to make the industry more attractive and long-term, to increase new talent for job roles.”