With many UK schools remaining closed due to the lockdown, several Tideway Teams have turned to technology as a creative way to engage young people and get them thinking about their future careers.
Work experience in a virtual world
Over the past month, Tom Lane and Lilia Frunzo from the Skills and Employment team in West have delivered two week-long virtual work experience sessions to students of London area schools.
Working in collaboration with both the Construction Youth Trust and Class of Your Own, an educational organisation which helps link employers to local schools – Tom and Lilia reached out to several their contacts at west London schools as well as further afield as far away as Walthamstow.
Four students were selected to take part in the first session, which took place at the start of May, with another two students taking part in the second session in the first week of June.
During both weeks, each group of students was tasked with a project, for example - putting together a mock design for a proposed new community space at Carnwath Road that would allow local people to enjoy the river.
Students had the opportunity to speak to a number of volunteers from both Tideway and BMB to learn more about the project and were then encouraged to think outside the box for creative ways to present their projects – including 3D drawings and filmed presentations, alongside a written report.
The volunteers included Darren White and Samantha Freelove (who spoke about Tideway’s Legacy and Sustainability goals), Christina Trigle (who spoke about the engineering of the Tideway Project), Sean Costello (who talked about quantity surveying and the commercial aspects of the project), Michael Ghebreselassie (who covered design engineering and temporary and permanent works) and Tom Lane (who spoke about Tideway’s education programme and the apprenticeship scheme).
Feedback from the students was very positive, with one saying: “It was very interactive and informative. I enjoyed the regular meetings and catch-up sessions as it felt as if I was really at work. Sticking to a schedule helped me organise my work and myself and allowed me to plan ahead”.
Lilia Frunzo said: “The work experience sessions have been really well received by the students. Not only are they getting a taste of what a career in construction might be like, it also takes them one step closer to realising their aspirations by giving them a certificate from a recognised awarding body that they can put on their CV”.
Meeting the Professionals
Also in May, Tideway’s Skills and Employment team delivered a work taster session which was attended by 35 students from 26 London schools from across London.
The virtual session gave the students the chance to speak to Tideway staff about their careers, as well as some of the possible job opportunities available on major infrastructure projects, such as Tideway.
The students were then set a challenge which they had to complete in groups before presenting back to a panel of Tideway volunteers.
One student who took part in the session said: “The event has given me an insight into what being involved in such a huge infrastructure project would be like as well as learning about the different roles in the project”.
Commenting on all of the work that the teams have done to engage with young people during lockdown, Monica Lobo, Tideway’s Skills and Employment Manager said: “Young people are particularly vulnerable to the disruptions that the pandemic has caused.
"We have been working hard with our partners and the Main Works Contractors to ensure that we are still providing opportunities for young people to interact first hand with construction professionals in a range of jobs, contributing directly to their future career success through networking and the development of skills and knowledge.”