Students enjoy a month’s summer internship with VGC Group

Year 12 students Ryan and Omar enjoyed four weeks’ work experience at VGC this summer. The paid internships were part of VGC’s partnership with UK-wide charity Career Ready.

Omar Miah from Westminster Kingsway College and Ryan Waite from Queens’ School, Bushey, were introduced to several departments in VGC’s London head office, including personnel, marketing, procurement and finance. They learned about the many skills needed to run a successful business, and the roles open to school-leavers and graduates.

The students also gained an insight into hands-on civil engineering careers, when they visited the site in Reading where VGC is constructing the Thames Valley Park and Ride site on behalf of client Balfour Beatty.

Omar Miah said his time at VGC had been an “amazing experience. I have developed my skills for the future… and I enjoyed it every day!”

VGC’s partnership with Career Ready is inspiring young people to explore the construction industry.

In September 2018 three VGC senior managers – managing director Laurence Mckidd, group services director Ciara Pryce and HR manager Laura Perry – joined the charity’s local advisory boards, supporting schools in the London boroughs of Brent, Camden and Westminster.

The partnership complements VGC’s wider schools engagement programme. Skills and employment adviser Kimberley McGinty, a Team London enterprise adviser, delivers bespoke construction-related employability workshops to encourage students to explore the many rewarding career paths within the industry.

Laurence Mckidd, VGC managing director, said: “The construction industry is facing a skills shortage. Not enough young people are taking up careers in the sector.

“Our involvement with Career Ready’s local advisory boards provides an excellent opportunity to expose the next generation to the industry’s vast array of career choices.”

Increasing the appeal of our industry

Recent research has highlighted low levels of appeal of the construction industry as a career option for young people. There is a perception that it is ‘male oriented, muddy and manual.’

Ciara Pryce, group services director, believes the partnership is helping to change attitudes among the younger generation. She said: “We know that one of the best ways to communicate with young people is by engaging with school careers advisers and teachers. Our schools engagement programme and work with pivotal partners like Career Ready enables us to promote the opportunities and earning potential that careers in construction and engineering can provide.”

Anne Spackman, CEO at Career Ready, adds: “Regular contact with employers can open a young person’s eyes to the range of careers available and the skills and attitude needed to get started.”