Nurturing Young Talent
As we have emerged from the economic downturn, the construction and property market has become particularly buoyant. It is clear that businesses across the construction industry are adjusting to this change in market conditions. Consultants, contractors, sub-contractors, suppliers and manufacturers all reduced their workforce and associated training programmes during the downturn and the industry is beginning to feel the effects of those decisions.
From a consultant’s perspective, very few graduates were recruited and trained between 2008 and 2012; and as a consequence, a large group of graduates who should by now have achieved (or be close to achieving) chartered status, didn’t enter the profession. This story is replicated across contractors and sub-contractors. Likewise, the story is the same in the supplier and manufacturer market.
As a result, a skills vacuum has been created. And over the last three years, it’s something we’ve been working really hard to rectify. We founded the Curtins Academy, which aims to recruit and train 20 graduates per year, all of whom will work towards chartered status on the Academy Programme. The first cohort of Curtins Academy graduates will be achieving Chartered status in 2017.
But there is more to it than simply setting up a Graduate Training programme. We can start engaging with students during their studies, helping to ensure that graduates are as prepared as they can be for the world of work.
Over the last few years we have been providing internships and summer placements to Civil Engineering students. They work alongside our engineers across all disciplines and gain a more rounded experience of our profession. Some of these students have now graduated and started working for Curtins; and it is easy to see the benefit of their internships. They’re quickly up and running, applying their studies to practical applications.
We are part of the Industrial Mentors Scheme for both Leeds and Sheffield University, in which we offer students the opportunity to visit sites throughout their studies, helping them understand the project life cycle.
We’re also supporting 2nd year students at Leeds University by providing individual project reviews, reviewing their work and giving advice and guidance.
We’ve already recruited two Leeds University graduates in the Leeds office for the September 2016 intake; and we’ll be actively supporting them during their final year. And we’re already starting to talk about our 2017 Graduate Recruitment drive.
And the fact that they are likely to be involved in some of the exciting developments at Leeds University over the next few years, provides a great symmetry. We’re nurturing talented graduates from our local university; who in turn are developing their skills by working on large scale University projects, which will further strengthen the University’s ability to attract, nurture and develop the most talented youngsters in the country. And we hope that in time, they too become part of the Curtins Academy, continuing the cycle of training and development of young talent.