Our Skills Development Director, Paul Skitt, has written his first Careers Blog. Paul is very keen to inspire young people to join the construction industry and is happy to share why Flannery is a great choice for anyone interested in a career in plant hire.

“Here at Flannery, it is very important for us to work collaboratively with colleges and young people, to inspire the next generation and introduce them to the plant hire industry. There is a real shortage of plant operators in the UK and we are keen to attract new talent into this industry. As a business we are determined to take a proactive approach, engaging with new entrants and demonstrating the variety of opportunities available.

I must say, it is incredibly enjoyable and rewarding to work with young people and articulate the exciting career opportunities within the construction plant sector. We have supported many careers/skills events over the years and have spoken with hundreds of young people and advised them about career opportunities within the construction/plant sector. Unfortunately, many young people have very limited knowledge about the plant sector and our mission is to ensure they do!

By focusing on engagement through the education sector, we aim to raise awareness of the employment and careers opportunities within the plant/infrastructure sector and also erase the gender stereotypes about this industry. We commit to widening our talent pool of recruitment in order to support skills, employment challenges and continuously developing the diversity of our workforce.

Our experience at a variety of career and skills events has taught us that the best way to engaged with school / college students and adults is to create opportunities for practical ‘have a go’ activities on simulators and machines. This approach means that participants get a real understanding of how machines operate, and the dexterity required to successfully operate one. Students also tend to easily grasp the digital technology and innovations that Flannery Plant Hire has adopted.

During the COVID pandemic, our engagement work with students has been crucial. Now, more than ever young people need good, clear and relevant career advice. COVID-19 meant that the plethora of careers events we would normally attend were cancelled. In response to this Flannery hosted several careers and skills webinars, some were supported by CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) and Europe’s biggest infrastructure project HS2. These online “bitesize” careers sessions included an online forum where students could access specific construction and plant careers advice, meet with our current apprentices, and get direction on how they could enter the industry. These webinars were deliberately very interactive. The team was really happy to receive positive feedback from the students and colleges – it makes the hard work worthwhile.

The last year has been a challenging and changing time, but despite this, the UK’s broad portfolio of construction and infrastructure project have continued to deliver opportunities for businesses like Flannery and their teams.  Thanks to many projects maintaining operations and momentum through the pandemic, the sector remains resilient with a positive pipeline of work ahead making the sector an attractive career option with great growth potential.

Social value has become a real buzz word in our industry (and rightly so). To us this means giving something back to the education sector. It is essential for us, as an employer to connect with our academic partners, to inform them about specific careers and give skills advice. This is critical in order to attract more talent into the construction sector, so we see this engagement as mutually beneficial.

We are really proud to of the apprentices we have taken on so far (and following our engagement in Bucks Skills events in the last year). With some award winners and fantastic feedback from clients so far on our apprentice team, we look forward to finding new talent and taking on more apprentices in 2021.”