‘Born to build’ campaign targets 14-19 year-olds

A slick new social media campaign and website aimed at maximising the reach of the industry’s message on career opportunities has been launched by the UK Contractors’ Group with the support of the CITB and the CIOB.

It’s hoped the “born to build” campaign will soon be taken up by other industry trade federations and professional institutions, making it a focal point of the industry’s efforts to engage with young people.

The campaign has been conceived as a complement to the UKCG’s "Open Doors" site visits for school students, recognising that the 3,000-4,000 individuals who attended the events in 2012 and 2013 represent just a small slice of the audience the industry needs to reach.

Borntobuild – comprising a website with careers information, a cute YouTube video (see below), case histories of 17 young video blogging construction entrants and a “teaching pack” for any industry professional visiting schools – was launched to build momentum ahead of the next Open Doors weekend, scheduled for 6-7 March 2015.

Stephen Ratcliffe, chief executive of the UKCG, told CM: “That date is in National Careers Week, when teachers will be focused on arranging activities. But it’s a long way away, so we thought, why not have a social media campaign in the meantime?

“We also did a poll of around 100 youngsters, who actually said they didn’t think there was good careers information [on construction] on the internet, or at least not collected in one place.”

Ratcliffe said the UKCG would coordinate HR staff of its members’ companies to answer Tweets and queries submitted to the site, guaranteeing that all questions would be answered within 24 hours.

Every school and FE college in the country will also receive a letter in September, alerting them to the new website, and construction “ambassadors”, coordinated by STEMnet, the CITB, CIOB and others, would also be made aware of its resources.

Ratcliffe said that these would include a “school box” of resources and props for school visits, but was unable to say exactly what these would be.

“During Open Doors, we found that if there was a construction site near a school, or the schools had construction work going on, then you had a good rapport with the school and staff, but ‘cold-calling’ schools was pretty nigh impossible. So we’re trying to give people a toolkit to entice the interest of schools.”

The campaign is seen as part of the Construction 2025 target to improve the image of the industry. “Construction just needs to be out there shouting louder,” said Ratcliffe. Born to build will face competition from similar campaigns run by other employment sectors, including “Taste Success”, an initiative from the food and drink industry. 

The Civil Engineering Contractors’ Association and National Federation of Builders have already indicated that they will adopt the campaign, said Ratcliffe, and he hoped that other industry bodies would follow suit. 

The campaign was officially launched last night at the Construction News Awards.

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  1. Excellent news; another worthy addition to compliment the CITB led Fairness, Inclusion and Respect agenda; successfully launched last month. Engagement and retention of the next generation is extremely important in seeking to sustain and diversify the UK construction industry for the foreseeable future; well done to UKCG.

  2. Sad to see that all the emphasis is on careers as professionals!

  3. My daughter has picked Construction as an option in her year 10/11 studies .Her school is a science academy in Doncaster.
    I am a CIOB Member. I would like to introduce your scheme to her School if possible.

    What do I have to do?

  4. Think that this is a good idea. It happenned to me back in the late 1940’s and led to a three year course in a technical college from which I did not look back.
    I am a CIOB member.

  5. Born to Build is a campaign to get young people inspired about the industry. If you would like a scheme to help inspire learning you may wish to take a look at and become involved in the Construction Sustainability CREST Challenge accredited by the British Science Associaton at or contact Lorraine Gregory at [email protected] for further information.

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