Swansea Arena site to inspire city’s next generation

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Swansea Arena hosted careers advisers from schools on Thursday (16 September) to show off the hundreds of different roles involved in construction.

Careers advisers from schools in the Swansea area heard how pupils interested in any subject can find a role suitable for them in the sector.

They were given first-hand accounts of how schoolwork can lead to well paid, structured careers as bid writers, designers,  drone operators, lawyers, conservationists, accountants, project leaders, health and safety officers and many more, all involved in some way during the different stages of a construction site.

The first in a series of visits to sites for careers advisers across Wales, titled Building IOK (Industrial Occupational Knowledge), the event involved a demonstration of the Go Construct website, specifically set up by the construction industry to demonstrate the hundreds of roles available, including how to start an apprenticeship.

Pupils from the advisers’ schools would also be offered work experience covering all aspects of construction, while have-a-go equipment can also be brought into school premises.

Andrew Wonklyn, team manager at Careers Wales who attended the event, said: “Site visits like these are really valuable to our advisers so they can continue to have the most up to date knowledge of career paths available and continue to provide the best service possible to the people of Wales. There are many stereotypes about the types of jobs available in the sector so this is a great myth-busting initiative and one that all regions in Wales can benefit from.”

Schools participating included Birchgrove Comprehensive School; Bishop Gore School; Bishop Vaughan RC School; Bishopston Comprehensive School; Cefn Hengoed Comprehensive School; Dylan Thomas Community School; Gowerton Comprehensive School; and Pentrehafod Comprehensive School.

Building IOK is an initiative between Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) Wales and Careers Wales and will continue with careers advisers and schools from all over Wales visiting local building sites.

Rob Davies, CITB Wales Senior Customer Engagement Manager, said: “This is a great way to show that there’s something for everyone in construction, whatever you’re interested in. Due to a labour shortage the sector is crying out for new entrants right now, and offers so many paths into a highly rewarding career, from apprenticeships to Further Education and more.

The landmark 3,500-capacity Swansea Arena is being built by Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd. This is part of the £135m Copr Bay Phase One regeneration being developed by Swansea Council.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “So much construction is taking place in Swansea at the moment as we transform our city into one of the UK’s best places to live, work, study and visit. 

“Not only will the combination of these schemes create a far better city for our residents and businesses, but they are also generating construction jobs for local people while inspiring our schoolchildren to explore careers in the construction sector. With schemes like Copr Bay phase one also attracting further private sector investment in Swansea, the construction sector is set to continue to play a key role here in coming years.”

Susan Jones, Buckingham Group Major Projects Social Value Manager, said: “With an increasing average age of 42.5 in the industry, we need more young people to see the benefits of working in construction so they choose it as their career path. Without this, the skill shortage will become critical within the next few years.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Careers Wales and CITB where we have been able to introduce future prospects to pupils, and offer a more rounded understanding of construction career opportunities.”

Find out what construction career you’re best suited to at Go Construct.

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