Spec Finish

TLevels: what they are T Levels are two-year course which is taken after GCSEs and are broadly equivalent in size to three A Levels. Launched in September 2020, these courses have been developed in collaboration with employers and education providers so that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for entry into skilled employment, an apprenticeship or related technical study through further or higher education. TLevels offer students practical and knowledge-based learning at a school or college andon-the-job experience through an industry placement of at least 315hours – approximately45days. The courses are available at selected colleges, schools and other providers across England. Employers, to find out more about industry placements visit https:// employers.tlevels.gov.uk/hc/en-gb Feature www.thefis.org 13 reasoning was that it’s a sexist industry. If we’re to stamp out this idea, we need to encourage more women into the industry. Despite a clear change of heart around how women view the sector, this year’s T Level construction graduates still were 90 percent male – showing that more needs to be done to close the gap between male and female applicants 2 . The good news is that the results speak for themselves, when it came to overall T Level applicants, women outperformed men in achieving top grades – 41 percent of women achieved a “Distinction” or “Distinction*” compared to around 28 percent of men 2 . We also know that women are good for business, both in terms of overall performance and employee retention. However, more needs to be done in terms of creating attractive job packages that trump other sectors. This starts at the recruitment stage, removing subconscious bias and involving women in the candidate selection process. The industry also needs to go further in terms of measuring and reporting on diversity job satisfaction. Establishing diversity councils can be a green flag for a positive, inclusive workplace, showing that minority voices are both heard and recognised. Creating family-friendly policies and maternity and paternity benefits is also a step in the right direction. With half of younger women interested in construction and a fifth very interested, now is the time to act before enthusiasm dwindles. Know your purpose If we’re to win the hearts and minds of young people, then employers also need a firmer stance on what it is they are trying to achieve. Budding workers need something to hang their hat on – before they join an organisation, they need to know what’s possible and how their work can impact the wider world. It’s been reported that Gen-Z has higher ‘eco anxiety’, than previous generations, and this impacts where they can and will work 3 . They are still money-motivated, but it isn’t their only driver. Our study found that over a third are interested in construction as it’s an ‘industry going through massive change’, a similar number also wanted to create “a better physical world”. We know what’s motivating young people and we should respond accordingly. Many companies are doing great work in tackling sustainability but from an outside perspective, we have no idea of some of the milestones that have been reached. Accomplishments occasionally make it to the media, yet the construction industry should be using all channels available to promote its achievements. Essentially, we need to tell the story better – and focus on improving our green credentials to prove to the next generation that we’re taking the climate emergency seriously. An opportunity for employers Providing jobs and apprenticeships for young people is a two-way street and we mustn’t forget that it also provides an opportunity for employers looking to grow their business. Junior and apprentice type roles can be extremely valuable, helping to ease the load of more experienced staff whilst securing a legacy of future workers. Yet for employers to benefit, they too must play their part in raising awareness around the varied roles that are available – particularly in finishing and interiors, where careers span far and wide. Using media and social media channels can provide an in-depth look at what day-to-day jobs entail and can go a long way in winning the hearts and minds of youngsters unsure of their next move. Perceptions don’t change overnight but if we start now, we can begin building momentum for future school leavers looking to make the most of their hard- earned T Levels. It’s now about taking the bull by the horns and doing all we can to tackle the imminent skills shortage. By doing so, we can secure a pipeline of talented and highly skilled workers that can last a generation. www.byggfaktagroup.com www.thenbs.com Source 1. https://tinyurl.com/3za4ffav 2. https://feweek.co.uk/t-level-results-2022-6-key-findings/ 3. https://tinyurl.com/2p9a66b4

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