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Young south Londoners with big ambitions encouraged to choose a career in construction

2 March 2023

With over 4,000 new vacancies a year in London, the construction industry is one of the capital’s best employers for young people looking to start a career where they can get paid, while learning, growing and moving-up the ladder.

The South London Partnership, including Richmond Council, is working alongside South London colleges and construction businesses to give young people an insight into all the opportunities available to them if they choose a construction apprenticeship.

A survey of 1,000 people conducted by UK Construction Week last year, found there are several reasons young people are put off pursuing a career in the construction. This included it being seen as a ‘dirty job’ (23 per cent), a lack of careers advice (19 per cent), and the sector being seen as male-dominated (15 per cent).

Shakir Kikomeko, 21-years-old, is an apprentice site manager working on one of South London’s biggest projects, while studying one day a week at college.

“Most of my friends have gone to university, but I felt it wasn’t for me as I was keen to earn money and get started in a career. Sometimes you can feel unsure about asking questions, but you soon learn that there’s no such thing as a stupid question. When doing an apprenticeship you are surrounded by people that have been in the construction business for 20 or 30 years and there isn’t anything they don’t know.

“I would say to anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship – keep your options open. I didn’t realise how great a career in construction was going to be and there are so many opportunities in this industry, so don’t limit yourself, just go for it.”

The South London Partnership is a sub-regional collaboration of five London boroughs: Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Richmond upon Thames and Sutton.

Councillor Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council and Chair of the South London Partnership said:

“South London is a great place to live, but like other parts of London, provision of good quality, affordable and sustainable homes is a priority. Whether this is building new homes or retrofitting existing housing stock, we are predicting an even greater demand on the construction workforce.

“There is a wide range of apprenticeships on offer locally, which give young people a pathway to good quality careers in the industry. There are construction roles all over London, but for many it will give them the chance to work locally and contribute to building a great future for their local community.

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Up to: March 2023

Updated: 2 March 2023

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