Building our Future Workforce

Having a go!

After the Royal Wedding and FA Cup Final, the third centrepiece event on the nation’s calendar was to be found at Colchester Institute’s STEM Innovation Centre, at their Braintree campus.

The latest Essex Employment and Skills Board and Colchester Institute key sector taster day, this time focusing on Construction and Engineering,  saw over a hundred students from Essex schools attend for a day of industry-led workshops and an employer marketplace session. The event highlighted some of the fantastic companies young people could one day find themselves working for in the county, some of the disciplines and specific careers they may one day pursue and of course the fantastic facilities and courses on offer at the college.

The team at Colchester Institute had done an amazing job, organising the schedule for the event and then securing industry support from across the Construction and Engineering sectors to run activities and talk to students throughout the day about key sector careers. We couldn’t have asked for better weather on the day as we welcomed students and teaching staff from Alec Hunter, Stanway, The Gilberd, Honywood and Ramsey Academy.

After a brief introduction from the Essex Employment and Skills Board talking about key shortages in the sectors and resulting opportunities for young people across Essex, students were split into smaller groups and sent off for the first of their workshops.

As ever, we are indebted to those providing industry support at events like this. For students it’s a real chance to speak to people in the know, to understand how individuals found their own way into the sector and to help formulate ideas about what they actually want to do in the future. Each workshop gave students the opportunity to ‘have a go’ or to speak directly to local employers about their company and what they do. We’d like to offer a huge thank you to MCW Architects (workshop focusing on design), Max Fordham LLP (Fluids and Pressure), Connisbee Engineering (Structural Engineering) and FSE/Maycast Nokes (Foundry in a Box) for running fantastic and energetic workshops for students throughout the day.

The employer marketplace saw representatives from the following companies exhibiting, including a number of the organisations' own Apprentices: FSE, Maycast Nokes, Anderson Group, Tamdown, CITB, AATI, Liberty Engineering, Braintree Precision Components, Knight Group and EBM Papst.

Students roamed around the various exhibits, taking a look at some of the technologies on display, talking to experienced engineers and construction professionals and asking some really good questions of those manning the stands. We would like to thank each and every one of those exhibitors for being part of the day, for giving up their valuable time to speak to young people.

After completing all five workshops, students returned to the conference room to complete their evaluations and then make their way back to school. It’s our hope that pupils found the day rewarding, interesting and enjoyable and we’ll share the feedback we gather from completed evaluation forms in the near future.

On behalf of the Essex Employment and Skills Board we’d once again like to thank the team at Colchester Institute (Encya, Angie, Ed, Kirsty, Adam and Iain) for their extremely hard work pulling the event together, all of the teachers and students who joined us on the day and every single one of the employers that supported the event.

We’re currently working with Colchester Institute and the University of Essex to draw up a calendar of similar events in Colchester and Braintree for 2018/19 that we’ll publish before the end of the summer term. We look forward to seeing more local schools come along next year!