Kier has pledged to offer 1 per cent of its workforce as school career ambassadors in a bid to tackle the sector’s “image crisis” and attract new talent.
The FTSE-250 contractor said around 200 ambassadors will engage with “at least” 10,000 school pupils across the UK over the next 12 months.
Kier said it was aiming to help attract some of the 400,000 new recruits construction is forecast to require each year through to 2021.
It comes amid Brexit uncertainty and fears that thousands of workers could be lost when the UK leaves the EU.
Kier made the pledge following the launch of a study by the firm around careers advice for schoolchildren.
The study, conducted among 2,000 secondary school teachers, parents and careers advisers, found that 90 per cent are unaware of a recruitment shortfall in construction.
More than half (54 per cent) believe there is a lack of career progression in the sector and associate the industry with being muddy, manual, male-dominated and “lower paid”.
Kier chief executive Hadyn Mursell said: “With an ageing workforce, uncertainty around Brexit and an ambitious pipeline of construction, housing and wider infrastructure projects…it is imperative that we attract new talent into our industry.
“We have invested in comprehensive resource to train and develop new talent, we offer a vast array of roles, great scope and support for diversity and career progression, and we offer the chance to leave a lasting legacy and make a real contribution to local communities, as well as UK GDP.
“But we also have an image crisis, based on out-of-date perceptions and advice.
“We cannot leave this to schools, councils or the government alone to resolve. Business is best placed to explain itself, its employment offering and its skills and training needs.”
Mr Mursell said if other major companies followed its lead, it would create a “powerful network of real world advisers to inform and inspire the next generation”.
In May ahead of the general election, industry leaders called on the next government to prioritise how the UK delivers major infrastructure projects and tackles skills shortages.