Pupils from four schools across Newtownabbey took part in UK Construction Week, a national campaign that aims to promote careers in the construction industry.
Organised by Clanmil Housing Group, and supported by the Department for Communities T:BUC initiative, the event provided young people from Years 10 and 11 at Abbey Community College, Hazelwood Integrated, Glengormley High and Edmond Rice with an opportunity to come together and find out about the variety and challenge of working in today’s modern construction industry through a construction site visit and insights from sector experts.
A total of 50 young people visited Clanmil’s site at Carnmoney Road in Glengormley where 48 new homes are currently being built.
The students heard from Joy Scott, Chair at Clanmil about the many different roles and professions that work together in the development process, and from Michael McBride of contractor WJ McBride Construction, architect Chris Campbell of GM Design, Adrian Kerrs of Mills Selig solicitors and David Little about the wide range of careers on offer in the construction industry.
Women’sTec, Northern Ireland’s largest provider of training for women in non-traditional skills, highlighted the sector as a good career option for women.
Clanmil’s Jan Sloan explained why events like this are important.
She said: “It’s no secret that Northern Ireland is in the grips of a construction skills shortage. While our construction industry has shown signs of growth in recent months, there are concerns that a lack of skilled people could hold us back.
“At Clanmil we plan to build 400 new homes annually for the next three years. It is really important that Northern Ireland has a thriving construction sector to deliver the high quality homes that people so desperately need.
“That’s why we’re delighted to be able to offer these young people this unique opportunity to see first-hand just what’s involved in the design and construction process and the wide range of exciting careers on offer.”
Davy Jackson, Head of the Technology and Design department at Glengormley High School added: “This is an amazing opportunity to work with Clanmil Housing whose vision is ‘Everyone has a Great Home’.
“As a school, we want nothing more than all of our pupils to have a great education. These young people have been able to chat with real people who work in the construction industry.
“Drawing upon the resources and experiences of such a reputable employer will enable us to foster a wonderful relationship to build upon for years to come through further similar initiatives.”