Investing in young people through sponsorship schemes or apprenticeships is extremely beneficial for employers for many reasons. Firstly, it recruits talent for the future and supports the succession plans for the business, whilst also retaining the skills needed within the business and industry. Secondly, students have a greater flexibility and willingness to learn, so they really focus on future business goals. Finally, it encourages and supports the transfer of knowledge from older or long-serving employees and keeps the skills, knowledge and values within the business.
The opportunities for students to get into work and on sponsorship schemes are available for the students that plan ahead and have passion for their career. The difference between what employers are looking for, in terms of skills and attributes, compared to what the candidates say they have is increasingly noticeable and is proving challenging. The lack of drive and passion to plan for their future is also an increasing concern. We try to address this through steps such as local careers fairs, local mentoring and by encouraging young people to find work experience with us or within the industry, giving them the opportunity to try different roles.
Within Simons, the students have many opportunities to learn, experience and further their career. They are given access to regular placements, personal development plans, undergraduate and graduate programmes, and mentoring; all of which are available for the students that want to “get on at work”.
Businesses have a legal requirement to raise living standards through work for example ensuring pay meets the minimum wage and that all employees have a right to employer contributions to their pensions. As a responsible business Simons is a company that goes beyond the bare minimum and provides extra such as Private Health Care, above NMW wages, and employee legal and personal confidential free helplines. By providing job and sponsorship opportunities, we see our people grow as teams, bouncing off each other’s skills and expertise.
We wave the flag for our industry, and our people, by collaborating with local organisations, universities, colleges and schools. Careers days create opportunities for students to consider industries that they may have dismissed, or never even considered before. Taking part in local school Construction demonstrations and “have a go events” inspire what we hope could be future leaders. Working with local job centres to advise their teams on the opportunities available to all within Construction helps us to further highlight the great opportunities construction provides.
But don’t just take my word for it.
Sophie Nolan, one of our Sponsored Graduates at Simons:
“The Undergraduate Programme was exactly what I wanted; I wanted to progress and learn as much as I could by working in different sectors of construction from healthcare to retail, to broaden my knowledge and experience whilst still gaining training and qualifications.
“By having placements it enables you to gain the experience and knowledge and gain from other people’s experiences in the industry. It also is beneficial when doing coursework and exams as you have some hands on experience and evidence that you can use.
“I would suggest to those about to start on an undergraduate programme; learn as much as you can from those within the business and get involved in the mentoring schemes that are available to you — everyone has useful experiences and people are so keen to help guide you in the direction that is right for you.”