Balfour Beatty aim to inspire young people to get involved in the construction industry

Lots of people ask me about the schools programme that my team deliver on behalf of Balfour Beatty and although I have great pride on our outcomes I also feel that we have only been able to improve and finesse our offer by working very closely with the Developing Young Workforce teams throughout Scotland.

I was part of the group that was used to engage industry as the very first DYW teams started to appear. This was all part of the work of local authority or the Chambers of Commerce and to be honest it all sounded a wee bit too good to be true. However I really have not been let down and in all honesty all of the DYW groups have delivered on their promises. The knowledge and administrative support they have given us has made our schools engagement run smoothly as well as providing us with a platform for quality assurance and continuity across the industry.

Working in schools is something that I feel passionately about. If we want to address the skills gap facing our industry as well as improve diversity then I truly believe making an impact with school pupils is the way to do it. In this area I feel that all the big contractors need to work together and put aside our competitive differences.

In this vain Balfour Beatty has been working as part of a consortium of contractors to inspire young people to get involved in the construction industry and I truly believe that the work of this group would not have been possible without the support of the DYW teams.

Some highlights of my experience of working with DYW include;

  • Perth – John Robertson at DYW has enabled us to collaborate with various schools and organisations including the Institute of Civil Engineers: Bridges to Schools at Kinross Primary, Perth Academy, Blairgowrie Academy. We worked very closely with John and Fiona over the past year and were recently shortlisted for the Developing the Young Workforce Perth and Kinross Partnership Award with Perth Academy. In previous years we have had joint promotion of Scottish Apprenticeship Week where our Bethany Welsh took part in a promotional video.
  • We have been actively involved in the Moray skills pathways group for construction in partnership with DYW Moray/Moray Council and range of local contractors. We've also been able to support a number of DYW events in the past 6 months including 3 day input into RAF STEM event for 1200 primary pupils, QS input into Maths Week at New Elgin primary, careers information input into Keith Grammar event, Lossiemouth High School teachers CPD session and scheduled input into Lossiemouth High School senior phase event.
  • In the North East – DYW Coordinator Hannah Duthie kindly supported us for a day at our ICE Bridges to School week at Lochside Academy and we have supported requests for inputs at Kemnay Academy, Fraserburgh Academy and Northfield Academy careers events.
  • Dundee & Angus – We recently participated in the regional DYW careers event in Carnoustie which engaged over 400 pupils from secondary schools in the Angus region.
  • Forth Valley – input into DYW STEM at Helix event.

Working as closely as I do with schools, I think that one of the most significant benefits that DYW has brought is through reducing teachers' workloads. DYW really is becoming the “go to place” for employers who are interested in engaging and participating with schools. I really can’t recommend DYW highly enough and I would urge all employers to do what Balfour Beatty has done and utilise your local DYW team.