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Collectively cultivating a brighter future

Richard recounts his experience at a mock interview event and renews his call for more STEM ambassadors.

WHEN we speak to members one of the main things that they continue to tell us about are the headaches around finding labour and the ‘grow your own’ route therefore has to be one to explore.

As part of my ongoing commitment to the CFA’s plan to help find more floorlayers, I recently participated in a mock interview event at Bosworth High School in Warwickshire.

As well as sharing the experience, this article is unashamedly a reminder and call to industry to create more Go Construct STEM Ambassadors as a way to engage young people from within our education system.

As has consistently been my experience, the Bosworth High School event was really enjoyable and highly rewarding.

There are various forms of school-based events including traditional careers evenings when you showcase your sector, and speed networking events (10 mins sessions), where you speak to small groups of young people who ask you about your job and industry. They also arrange demos from industry to give students a more hands on understanding of a sector and a number of CFA members in Scotland have participated in these.

Then, as with this event, the programme offers mock interviews where students pretend to be applying for a range of jobs and pre-prepared roles including construction.

Engaging with young minds during the mock interview event allowed me to inspire and mentor the next generation of flooring recruits. By sharing my experiences and insights, I could guide students in helping them to understand what an employer is looking for at an interview and where possible within the realms of contract flooring.

Such interactions serve as a catalyst for igniting their passion, unlocking their potential, and showcasing the diverse opportunities available to them. Engaging with students from various backgrounds and skill levels challenged me a little to convey concepts in a simple and relatable manner but the support materials were excellent and just the opportunity to practice an interview was all that many wanted.

Events like the mock interviews at Bosworth High School offer a chance to establish connections with educators, professionals, and potential future employees and I naturally took the opportunity to speak to the careers lead and reenforce these opportunities in flooring.

Both in terms of the need for new talent in our sector, but also what we can offer in terms of careers. I provided details of our website database, so that the school and students could contact local business and make those vital connections.

By actively engaging with schools and being a visible presence in the community, we can foster positive relationships and shape the future workforce. Collaborations with educational institutions provide insights into evolving industry needs and help cultivate a pool of skilled talent. As a result, the Contract Flooring industry can benefit from improved recruitment, increased awareness, and enhanced industry collaboration.

As I mentioned above, the shortage of skilled workers is still probably one of the major concerns in these current times. By actively participating in mock interview events and similar initiatives, we can contribute to bridging this gap. Encouraging students to pursue a career in contract flooring, highlighting the relevance and potential within our field, we can become catalysts for change. The engagement of more STEM ambassadors, including industry leaders, can inspire students to explore these disciplines, fostering a skilled workforce and driving innovation and growth.

My recent experience at Bosworth High School reminded me of the immense benefits of engaging with students and advocating for the Go Construct STEM Ambassador programme. By participating in such events and promoting our sector, we can collectively cultivate a brighter future, empowering the next generation to succeed in our rapidly evolving world.

Including as a floorlayer, where you can enter our industry as an apprentice without a strong academic background and eventually own your business. We all know of those success stories and how many industries can offer that?!

If you are a business leader in our sector, please consider offering some of your time or from within your business to become a Go Construct STEM Ambassador. The CFA has published our simple guide to all aspects of how we believe our sector can increase the number of fitters available. This includes information about the Go Construct STEM Ambassador programme all contained in our Future Fitters Guidance Booklet. See the download section of the CFA website at www.cfa.org.uk./download. CFA members get a monthly update on relevant industry news and can access free support and guidance from our dedicated Training Manager, Shaun Wadsworth. CFA can help you to be proactive in solving your skills and labour gap.

The CFA is a leading trade association representing the flooring Industry. If you would like further information or an application pack outlining all the benefits of membership, please contact the CFA offices
0115 9411126

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