Supporting Local Talent
At an uncertain time for the UK’s economy, we need to ensure a resilient and stable workforce. The construction industry is facing a skills shortage and is underrepresented by young people, particularly women; it is vital that we change this to ensure a strong future skilled workforce. We are committed to raising the awareness and aspirations of young people into these underrepresented sectors by showing them the opportunities that are available and providing them with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.
It is important to showcase opportunities first-hand, so we invite schools, colleges and community groups to visit our developments. In 2019, we hosted 40 visits for students, NEET young people and guests interested in construction and the built environment. These visits, which include tours of the Estate and visits to construction sites, allow people to ask questions and understand more about Canary Wharf Group and the wider built environment sector.
Work experience continues to be a hugely beneficial way for young people to gain practical experience of the workplace and a true insight into an industry and understanding of different roles. For many it is also the first step to building a professional network which is invaluable. In 2019, 117 work experience placements were carried out; this number equates to almost 10% of our own workforce and shows the commitment given by staff across all areas of the business to make this happen. Over 50% of the placements were given to students in the same borough as our developments, forming part of our ongoing work to highlight and promote roles in our business to local people.
As a developer, contractor and property manager, we have an incredibly wide variety of professionals at Canary Wharf Group, all of whom can provide their insight, experience and advice to young people who are just starting out. Our Career Champions programme aims to give local students the benefit of that knowledge as staff volunteer to attend local schools to provide young people with insights into the world of work to help build their confidence and raise their career aspirations. This year, in partnership with the Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership (THEBP), 73 Canary Wharf Career Champions visited local schools to participate in workshops, mock interviews, financial skills and career awareness.
In October 2019 we once again supported the Construction Youth Trust’s ‘Budding Brunels’ programme at our Southbank Place development. The three-day course gives young people of diverse backgrounds an opportunity to experience first-hand what it’s like to work in the built environment sector, and to get valuable career advice from industry professionals. 27 staff members participated in the programme, sharing their experience through workshops, tours and presentations. Of the 18 participants in the 2019 programme, 89% were female and 82% were from BAME backgrounds. All of the participants said the programme helped to increase their knowledge of the different career options in construction and the built environment.
Addressing Gender Imbalance in Tech
The tech sector in the UK is growing rapidly, and our new development Wood Wharf is expected to become one of London’s largest hubs of technology and innovation over the coming years. We want to ensure a diverse workforce is ready to enter the industry by supporting young women into careers in tech. For International Women’s Day 2019, we invited students from local schools to our Level39 space to learn about the industry and gain hands-on experience with some ground-breaking technology. The event was supported by Dragon Hall Trust, who provided students with an opportunity to try out 3D printing, virtual reality, music production and podcasting equipment. Following the event, 97% of students felt they had a better understanding of the tech industry, and 78% said they would consider a career in the sector.
local people attended community insight events at our sites and offices in 2019
jobs fairs to promote careers in the built environment
CWG staff members visited schools as part of the Career Champions programme
Architecture in Schools
Designing and building places is a long-term commitment and a huge responsibility. We have supported the Architecture in Schools programme delivered by Open City for a number of years as it allows us to capture the imagination of children local to our developments, inviting them to consider issues that are important to us and the built environment and that will also affect their lives in the future. It allows the children to think about the type of place they want to see and understand how they can be part of the process, hopefully also inspiring the next generation of architects into the industry. The theme in 2019 was ‘Smarter Cities’ and it asked children to think about architectural design with new ways of using technology to enhance all of our lives. 36 schools across London took part in the programme, including 15 schools from the same boroughs as our developments, and all were invited an awards ceremony at the East Wintergarden, where 400 students and teachers came together to celebrate.