I HAVE written before about the current state of the construction industry, particularly in our region, and the lasting impact it will have going forward.
Last week, the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) released figures showing that the number of students applying to study architectural courses at university has dropped significantly compared to this time last year.
As of last month, there had been only 26,821 applications to an architectural course, a drop of 12% from last year. Course numbers for building and planning were also down by 22% and 14% respectively, with only four study subject groups faring worse.
There are a number of reasons behind the drop in figures, increasing student fees and the poor state of the job market being two key factors. Training in fields of our industry, such as architecture, can take up to seven years and requires huge financial and time commitment from students.
This, alongside the poor job outlook forecasted by a number of industry bodies, means students are increasingly deterred from entering our industry.
It seems that students are now forced to be a bit wiser with their choice of degree, with youngsters opting for courses that do not cost as much and have better job prospects at the end.
To encourage growth and to move forward, we, as an industry need to do more to encourage the young people of the future to commit. Our industry should be one at the forefront of change and innovation and to do this, we need the creativity and thinking of the young people of today.
Our Generation for Change (G4C) forum, for example, is all about recognising the newcomers to construction and encouraging them to collaborate, develop and promote best practice to promote much needed growth in the sector.
The annual Construction Skills Network report, conducted by CITB-ConstructionSkills in partnership with a number of construction employers from across the UK, recently calculated a five year forecast for the industry which showed that we should begin to see some growth by 2013.
Forecasts like this should be publicised, showing youngsters that the industry will be in a more established place by the time they graduate.
For more information on Constructing Excellence in the North East, please contact chief executive, CatrionaLingwood, on 0191 374 0233 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Catriona Lingwood, chief executive of Constructing Excellence North East