The CITB has asked outspoken designer Wayne Hemingway to front a new campaign to change the image of construction.
The Go Construct campaign will be funded through the CITB levy, with the training body hoping it will help recruit some of the 220,000 new people it is estimated the sector will need over the next five years.
Mr Hemingway, founder of fashion brand Red or Dead, said he wanted to debunk the idea that “construction is for people who aren’t brilliant at education” and urged contractors to be “proud of their contribution to society”.
Speaking about his new role, the fashion icon told Construction News: “My job is to help them get the message out.”
“There’s nothing thick about wanting to be in construction. There’s something noble about building and the process of doing things”
Mr Hemingway, who was also formerly chair of Building for Life, a housing design partnership featuring Design Council Cabe, the Home Builders Federation and Design for Homes, was approached by the CITB to become an ambassador, having previously worked with the organisation on apprenticeships.
He added: “There’s nothing thick about wanting to be in construction. There’s something noble about building and the process of doing things with your hands.”
The campaign, which launches next week, comes amid a growing uncertainty over the CITB’s future, with the government’s proposed apprenticeship levy threatening the training body’s future beyond 2018.
The levy currently makes up more than 60 per cent of the CITB’s income and has been used to fund the Go Construct campaign.
Go Construct will launch with an online web portal allowing people to access more information about construction careers, along with an advertising and PR campaign.
It will feature adverts on buses, phone boxes, road and rail billboards, in schools and colleges, on radio, as well as a social media campaign.
“I’ll argue until I’m blue in the face that giving back to society by building [the future] is better than being in a boy band”
Mr Hemingway said the industry needed to work together and think of itself as one brand, doing “all of the things a good brand does” to win talent.
“[Contractors] have to be bullish and proud about their contribution to society,” he said.
“You can’t sit back, as the competition to attract the bright young minds and hard workers is considerable.”
He also criticised the media, saying that they treated careers in a “facile” way.
“The media spends its time talking about celebrity culture, to the detriment of more important aspects of work,” he said.
“I know I brought up kids who’d choose a job in construction any day over the idea of going on The X Factor. And I know that’s right.
“I’ll argue until I’m blue in the face that giving back to society by building [the future] is better than being in a boy band.”