With over 130 Build UK member sites opening their gates for Open Doors 2016 on Monday 13 June, Suzannah Nichol tells Construction News why it’s the perfect opportunity to demonstrate to the next generation of workers just what construction can do.

Almost everyone I know in the industry loves working in construction. For some reason we have never quite managed to collectively present that message to either the next generation or colleagues in other sectors looking for a career change. But now we can and we will.

As Build UK we can bring that love of construction together and show the outside world just what goes into the building of the new academies that will educate our kids, the fantastic hospitals that will revolutionise cancer treatment, and the local theatre entertaining us – as well as the less glamorous but oh-so-essential projects like the cutting-edge sewage works, that much-needed bypass or the footbridge that saves travelling time.

Being part of a project for just a couple of hours can have a huge effect. And the more people that we can inspire to take a look at construction and explore the fantastic and rewarding careers the industry has to offer, makes it all worthwhile. Feedback from previous Open Doors events showed just how inspiring it can be to see construction in action. In fact, following a site visit during a week’s work experience is exactly how I got into construction. The buzz onsite is infectious and nothing beats being able to say: “I built that”.

We all like to see what’s going on behind site hoardings on our daily commute. With over 130 sites from Inverness in Scotland to Bodmin in Cornwall it is clear that Build UK members are keen to welcome visitors, and enthusiastic project teams can’t wait to open up their gates.

There is a war for talent on and construction is determined to inspire and recruit the brightest, the best and the most hard-working of the next generation. In order to do that we have to work together to clearly show off the opportunities and the rewards on offer; and we have to do that in a way that appeals to the millennium generation. Recent studies show that the workplace location and conditions of employment are much more important than ever before. Casual contracts, dirty conditions and a lack of career path just won’t be tolerated and we can, and must, do better.

The opportunity to show first-hand the range of skills required to take a project from a drawing on a piece of paper to a fully functional building is just too good to miss. For those proud of the projects they are working on, it’s the chance to explain how they work hard to reduce disruption and contribute to the local community. For those that are making a career choice, or are just not sure what they want to do when they grow up, it’s a great chance to see the huge range of careers on offer in construction. Whether you are designing the next Shard or pouring its foundations, both the pay and job satisfaction are above average – so what’s not to like?

The people in this great big industry of ours are passionate about people and places and really want to do their very best to create a better and brighter built environment for all of us.

Open Doors, which is a joint initiative with CITB and Go Construct, is a fantastic platform for us to draw the next generation of workers into our industry; let’s make the most of this opportunity and demonstrate what construction can offer.

Open Doors takes place from Monday 13 – Saturday 18 June 2016. To book your local construction site visit, please go to the Open Doors website. For more information about the opportunities that are available in construction visit the Go Construct website and take a look at the Build UK ‘Get Into Construction’ film.

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