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March 2007

ConstructionSkills announces 50% increase in the number of Inspire scholars

ConstructionSkills has announced that it will increase the number of Inspire Scholarship places for 2007 by 50%, bring this year’s total to 300. During the scheme’s first awards ceremony, in which a £4,000 prize was awarded to the top scholar, ConstructionSkills unveiled the plans to boost the scheme after industry gave the thumbs up following two extremely successful years.

At the awards ceremony, which showcased some of the new talent to prospective employers and congratulated scholars currently matched on the scheme, Sir Michael Latham, Chairman, ConstructionSkills, presented the £4000 cheque to Jonathan Fletcher, employed by Allerdale Borough Council, for his winning entry in an essay writing competition.

Sir Michael stated: “There is fierce competition for talented young people, so construction has to make itself an attractive proposition. In this age of tuition fees, top-up fees, and student loans, which are increasing the financial burden of going to university, money worries are creating a barrier between some of our brightest students and higher education. This in turn may put some of those students off even applying to university in the first place. Inspire Scholarships are one of very few ways in which undergraduates can obtain extra funding as an incentive to choose construction and to help break down this barrier. And crucially, Inspire offers funding which does not need to be paid back. We want construction to be an industry in which students see employers invest in them from day one.”

The Inspire Scholarship scheme provides funding of up to £9,000 to support students through university. In addition, sponsoring employers offer the student a 10-week summer placement at the end of their first year and the possibility of placement opportunities during a sandwich year, as well as potential employment upon graduation. The employers benefit by gaining access to the best available young talent without the hassle of undertaking an extensive graduate recruitment drive. In addition, the latest forecasts from the Construction Skills Network suggest that 32% of the new recruits required to join the industry between 2007-2011 will be professional roles such as construction managers, architects and technical staff. So it’s even more important than ever that there is an adequate supply of high quality graduates into the construction industry.

The scheme is match-funded by ConstructionSkills, which also administers the process and sources candidate students on the employer’s behalf. Each participating employer interviews the prospective scholar and is then responsible for making the final decision on whether their assigned student is offered a Scholarship. In addition, ConstructionSkills provides marketing support by publicising the scheme and its participants.

Following its successful launch in 2005, the Inspire Scholarships scheme has more than doubled in size, with over 150 employers from across the industry now involved, and over 1,000 applications currently in thee pipeline from young people preparing to study construction-related degree courses. Leading employers already supporting the scheme include Lovell Partnership, Balfour Beatty plc, GJ Seddon and the Happold Trust.

Karen Patrick, Project Manager for Inspire added: “Despite our successes, we still need more employers to meet the demand from the young people applying for the scheme - I can’t emphasise this point enough; without the employers willing to demonstrate a commitment to our scholars, then we don’t have a scheme. We have huge interest from young people, but we now need to match that enthusiasm amongst the employers. We hope that those of you already committed to the scheme will continue to support it so that we are able – again, with your help - to address the recruitment issues faced by the industry and increase the quality and capabilities of those graduates entering it.”

From left to right: Sir Michael Latham, Chairman of ConstructionSkills, presents Jonathan Fletcher with his prize alongside his employer, Paul Graham, of Allerdale Borough Council.

From left to right: Sir Michael Latham, Chairman of ConstructionSkills, presents Jonathan Fletcher with his prize alongside his employer, Paul Graham, of Allerdale Borough Council.

Employers interested in finding out more about the scheme, or wishing to sign up as a sponsor should visit before the application 30 April 2007, or contact Karen Patrick at ConstructionSkills on 01509 282 885.

For further information, read the full press release.

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