13th November Journal Column

By Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

I’m always supportive of getting young people into the industry and recruiting new staff, so it’s no surprise that I am thrilled with the information published in the recent report by Prospects.

The report shows that for architecture and building graduates, prospects are improving. Graduates from last year have topped the overall results for across the whole country. The employment rates for 2014 graduates were higher than average, with 85.1 per cent in work within six months of leaving university. Considering the overall employment rate for all graduates is only 76.6 per cent, I’d say that’s pretty good going for our industry.
Beating national averages can only mean good things and shows that the industry is going from strength to strength.

Only 5.3 per cent of graduates from 2014 were still unemployed after six months of graduating, and if we compare that to the rate of all graduates, 6.3 per cent, our industry is still coming in way above the rest. Across all subjects we’ve seen massive improvements; back in 2010 the unemployment rate six months after graduation was a lot higher at 10.9 per cent. Opportunities are increasing for graduates and in particular our graduates, which I love to see.

The report, published by Prospects, revealed the difference in employment outcomes among all graduates, showing which degrees are more likely to lead to a career in that particular area of study. Out of the top five, three were degrees relating to the industry; civil engineering, mechanical engineering and architecture and building; with them all having the highest rates out of the 24 that featured.

The Local Government Association (LGA) had previously announced that in the last five years the number of completed construction apprenticeships fell by 58 per cent, so it’s good to know students are still coming into the industry through other means. The LGA also reported earlier in the year that the numbers of students studying the subjects which relate to the industry are mainly boys, which wasn’t good news for an advocate of women in the industry like me. However, things finally seem to be changing, the Prospects report shows that across architectural related subjects almost 40 per cent of graduates were women – which is good enough for me.

As I have said many times before in this column, I am 100 per cent behind supporting new recruits, particularly students and young people, as I believe that the young people of today hold the future of our industry in their hands and we should therefore do all that we can to encourage them into the industry and show them exactly what construction can offer.