The construction industry is booming in Scotland, but the skills shortage continues to present a serious challenge. Last year the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors reported that almost two-thirds of surveyors consider the lack of skilled workers as a key factor limiting building activity.
Robertson Group is tackling this issue head on by actively encouraging work experience placements at the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC). They currently have more than 20 trainees and apprentices both on site and in the office.
Four HNC students from North East Scotland College (NESCOL) recently completed a ‘construction taster’ work experience placement at the AECC and Aloft Hotel. The taster week gave the students exposure to a variety of different professions within the industry: construction management, quantity surveying, planning, design, Health and Safety, and the Environment. The students spent time with different members of the team each day, shadowing their work and attending meetings as well as spending regular time out on site.
Pat Cromar, Faculty Manager for Automotive and Construction at North East Scotland College, said: “We are hugely grateful to Robertson for giving our students such a wonderful opportunity to expand their experience and knowledge. They thoroughly enjoyed their week on placement and are delighted to have been given an insight into such a prestigious large-scale project. All four are planning to progress to Robert Gordon University after the summer to study Quantity Surveying or Architectural Technology.”
The £333million new AECC has been commissioned by Aberdeen City Council in partnership with Henry Boot Developments and is due to be completed in 2019.
Joe McMenamin, Project Director, Robertson Major Projects, said: “We’ve been hugely impressed by the quality work produced by the young people who took part in our taster placement, and it’s great to hear they’ve been inspired to pursue careers in the construction industry. Partnerships with local colleges are essential for securing the next generation of construction workers in order to close the skills gap.”
In addition to NESCOL Robertson is working with local employability providers, the Department of Work & Pensions and Skills Development Scotland, to offer work experience placements for those actively seeking employment.