CITB-ConstructionSkills is taking a novel approach to the skills gap in the construction industry by targeting 11- to 14-year-old pupils with a new building and design competition called Creative Spaces. The competition, launched by Wayne Hemingway as part of National Construction Week (October 8-15, 2003), asks pupils to re-design part of their school and has a GBP50,000 top prize, allowing the winning school to actually build their competition submission. Regional winners will also receive GBP3,000.
The idea behind the competition is to tackle the skills gap in the construction industry by challenging any negative perceptions of construction in the classroom. Top designer and Creative Spaces judge Wayne Hemingway is delighted to be involved: "I believe we are becoming a nation obsessed by celebrity and so-called glamorous professions," he said, "but we are in danger of losing skills that are vital to the nation. Creative Spaces offers pupils a great opportunity to get involved in construction and find out how creative working in the construction industry is."
At present 380,000 new recruits are needed in the construction industry by December 2006. That is 76,000 each year just to meet current growth targets. CITB-ConstructionSkills hopes the competition will attract the next generation of highflying architects, construction managers, carpenters and bricklayers. Peter Lobban, chief executive of CITB-ConstructionSkills, said: "Since achieving Sector Skills Council status CITB-ConstructionSkills has been tasked with taking a U.K.-wide view of the industry to reduce skills gaps and shortages. We are taking a more integrated approach to recruitment and training that includes both the professional and craft sides of the industry and will influence the whole construction process--design, build, production and maintenance. Creative Spaces is a perfect fit with this new approach because it will interest pupils in the wide variety of career options available in construction, right from trade occupations through to graduate careers, and it takes in the whole scope of the construction industry from design to build."
Creative Spaces has been designed to enable schools to enter as part of the Key Stage 3 Design and Technology curriculum. The curriculum support materials that accompany the competition include modules on research, analysis and computer-aided design to bring construction to life in the classroom. To enter, call 01536 399 009 or visit www.ncw.org.uk/creativespaces and download a curriculum pack. To date, over 250 schools have already registered for the competition and the closing date is 2nd April 2004.