Students in Wales get first hand experience of construction with ‘See Your Site’ scheme

Coleg Cambria students at the at Borras Park CP School development

Coleg Cambria students during their visit to Read Construction’s development at Borras Park CP School as part of the ‘See Your Site’ initiative in Wales.

Hundreds of college students in Wales have donned hard hats and hi-vis vests to go on to construction sites as a way to encourage them into the industry as a career. 

The ‘See Your Site’ initiative took place at more than a dozen building sites across Wales, with 300 learners from nine colleges taking part. Each student was paired with an on-site mentor to shadow and ask about their chosen trade.

Organised by CITB Wales, the idea is to help Level One construction learners see early on in their courses how their studies relate to work on live construction sites. It also introduces them to prospective future employers.

The aim is to get more of the students actually into the industry. Currently, only 41% of those involved in further education construction courses end up working in construction.

If more don’t get jobs in the industry Wales will face a labour shortage in the sector, because it is predicted that 9,000 workers will need to be recruited in the next two or three years to keep up with demand.

‘See Your Site’ was launched in Wales in 2019. It was suggested by construction employers in the principality as a way of helping more college learners move into the industry. No site visits were held last year because of the Covid restrictions, but they have now resumed.

It is hoped that further visits will be arranged during this academic year. And the pioneering scheme in Wales could spread out to England and Scotland.

Leigh Hughes, Corporate and Social Responsibility Director for construction company Bouygues UK, chairs the CITB Wales National Council. He says: “It’s crucial that, as an industry, we do all we can to attract and retain new talent to help address the skills shortage.”

Mark Bodger, CITB Wales Engagement Director, said it was great to be able to support college learners and local construction employers again. “This will help bring further education and the construction industry closer together and retain as many potential new recruits as possible at this time.”

One of the colleges that took part was Coleg Cambria in Wrexham. Dave Garratt, Curriculum Director for Foundation Learning at the college, thanked CITB and Read Construction for inviting the college’s learners and staff to a development at Borras Park CP School. He said: “All learners will gain huge value out of this and we are very grateful.”