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"More funding and focus on the importance of connecting with schools would help the industry do so much more"

Michelle Hammerton, learning and development manager of Lakesmere Group, tells us why she loves construction.

How did you get into construction?

I just fell into it by accident!

I came to Lakemere to help out as a training coordinator seven years ago and although I had no intentions of staying, I enjoyed the work so much I never the left. The rest, as they say, is history.

What is the best thing about construction?

It is so multifaceted. I find it fascinating learning about the many different roles within the industry and how they integrate throughout the project.

I never realised how much planning and resource is required until you become part of that process.

I’m still amazed to see a building from the start and watch how quickly it takes shape.

If you could change one thing about construction what would that be?

I would change the apprenticeship programmes to allow frameworks to be bespoke to companies as I think this flexibility would tailor learning outcomes to the organisational skill set needs.

More funding is also required to help companies develop their own training programmes, particularly those that can be tailored to develop offsite solutions and improve health and safety on site.

External training providers are too expensive, especially if you are a complete novice, yet training is essential to take the pressure off the project/site managers and supervisors who already have difficult jobs.

Another issue is that there aren’t any design courses that are specific to the specialist contractor sector and which therefore help develop new talent with the right skill set.

To overcome this Lakesmere has created our own diplomas to bridge this skills gap and funding for these initiatives would be more beneficial than ‘off-the-shelf’ courses.

How should we encourage young people into the industry?

We should get out into schools more, taking part in assemblies and open days to raise awareness of the different professions within the industry.

I think construction has a bad image and we could change that by the way we communicate.

Lakesmere’s School to Work programmes is a great example of this working in practice and more funding and focus on the importance of connecting with schools would help the industry do so much more.

Michelle Hammerton is learning and development manager at the Lakesmere Group

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