Building college gets behind national awareness campaigns

Leeds College of Building celebrated two impactful campaigns celebrated across the UK and beyond: National Careers Week (2-7th March) and International Women’s Day (8th March). 

National Careers Week is a celebration of careers guidance across the UK. It focusses on careers guidance at an important stage in the academic calendar to help support young people leaving education.

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. To celebrate, Leeds College of Building has been offering free taster sessions to any females over 16 who are interested in learning DIY skills or those who are thinking about a career in construction. 

Over the last decade, Leeds College of Building has been at the forefront of promoting opportunities for all in the construction industries. The College has focussed on creating career opportunities through apprenticeships which has resulted in a massive growth of the College’s technical and professional training.

Areas as varied as Building Services Engineering, Civil Engineering, Construction Management, Quantity Surveying, and Transport Planning saw just ten apprentices enrolling in 2011. By 2018, this figure stood at over 700 (6,900% increase), counter to national statistics revealing a 28% drop in apprenticeship starts in England over the same period (521,000 down to 393,000).

Just four years ago, the College had a total of 965 apprentices; by the end of the last academic year, that figure stood at nearly 2,250, across all areas of the College’s provision. During the same period, Higher Level Apprenticeships increased from 73 to 465, an incredible 536% upsurge. In addition, the College provides off the job training for numerous other apprentices from other providers. 

Derek Whitehead, Principal & CEO at Leeds College of Building said:

“We’re delighted that our work is opening up career opportunities in the industry, filling skill shortages, and making life-changing differences to our students’ futures. We’ve worked really hard to push the many and varied roles for men and women too; female apprentices at Leeds College of Building have risen from one student to over 150 today.”  

One recent success story is Civil Engineer Apprentice, Erin Ruddy (20), who enrolled on the College’s Transport Planning Technician Apprenticeship after coming across the course online: 

“It stood out as an area with interesting options and excellent development opportunities. I started an Apprenticeship at Capita and haven’t looked back. I finished College last March and got my certificates a few months later. After that, I took up a new role at Arup.  

“I sat my EngTech assessment recently which is the start of Chartership. The course combines the EngTech with the apprenticeship to lay out a pathway that leads to a profession and not just a job. If it wasn’t for the apprenticeship, I don’t know what I’d be doing now.” 

With youth unemployment remaining high and employers citing that young people are ill-prepared with the basic skills needed for employment, there has never been more need for equality in careers guidance to be promoted and celebrated in education. 

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