Low wages, low prospects, low education and dirty work – it’s fair to say that the construction industry in the UK has something of an image problem.
At a time when the sector should be held up as a beacon of progress, thanks to ambitious infrastructure projects like HS2 and the biggest highways network upgrade in generations, the construction industry still faces a skills shortage and an uphill battle to build enough residential properties and business premises.
A new coalition made up of key industry stakeholders is set to challenge these negative images and present the sector in its true light. Construction United aims to bring everyone with a vested interest in construction together to actively improve perceptions of the sector and employees at all levels while supporting a number of relevant causes.
Early supporters of the initiative include SIG and trade association FIS, who are set to be joined by a host of other construction companies as the campaign builds towards a week of exciting events. Taking place from 17 to 23 October, the week will be packed with activities designed to show all of the great things about the industry, while raising funds for a number of worthy, relevant causes.
One such charity is The Prince’s Trust, which will be partnering with Construction United to highlight the many varied, exciting roles that exist within the sector to try and combat the growing skills gap by encouraging young people to consider the industry. CRASH, a charity which channels the skills, materials and generosity of the industry to create caring environments for vulnerable people in homeless and hospice charities, will also be supported by Construction United.
As well as looking at how the industry is viewed by others, Construction United will work to build on construction’s reputation as a collaborative, caring sector. With awareness of mental health in the workplace high on the public agenda right now, Construction United wants the construction industry to lead the way in addressing the stigma around this issue. By working with the Time to Change campaign, led by Mind and Rethink Mental illness, the initiative will help tackle worker wellbeing by increasing awareness and raising funds for Mind.
Mark Tomlin, group sales and marketing director at Construction United partner SIG Distribution, said: “This initiative isn’t about an individual business or charity making themselves look great, its about a workforce that is more than two million strong being proud of the great things that they do – and making sure that every stakeholder engaged in the process gets to stand with them.
“Construction brings so many economic and social benefits to the UK, yet there is a very real image problem that the sector needs to face. By addressing these problems and making the wider public aware of just how important construction is, we can hopefully attract new talent to the sector while making the most of the great people that we have.”
Construction United is actively calling on businesses from the construction industry and beyond to pledge their support to the cause by signing up online and taking part in some of the exciting activities planned in 2016. For more information on Construction United, and to sign up, please visit www.constructionunited.co.uk,
Image courtesy of Shutterstock/ Alexander A.Trofimov