Pave Aways joins with school to tackle construction skills gap

One of Shropshire’s leading construction businesses has formed a new alliance with a county school in a bid to tackle the industry’s skills gap.

Pave Aways Building Contractors will be providing practical training and advice to students who are studying on the BTEC construction programme at The Mary Webb School in Pontesbury.

The building firm will be organising site visits, work experience and hosting workshops and talks from its in-house experts to give students an insight into a career in construction. Pave Aways will also be encouraging sub contractors in its supply chain to get involved.

As part of its partnership with the school, apprentice carpenter Dan Davies attended the school’s recent careers fair to talk about his journey into construction.

Dan, a former Mary Webb pupil, completed his BTEC in construction at the school before going on to the Shrewsbury Colleges Group to complete his Level 1 Diploma in carpentry and joinery and subsequently securing his apprenticeship at Pave Aways.

Training Manager Michelle Benjamin said: “It is widely acknowledged nationally that there is a skills gap in construction, and we want to address that in our community, which is why we’ve committed to working with The Mary Webb School to take some practical action.

“Engaging with young people at an early stage in their career decisions in such a hands-on way will give them a better understanding of the available options available, the working environment and the route they can take as well as giving them valuable real-life skills to give them the edge going forward.”

Andy Walker, Subject Leader for Design & Technology at The Mary Webb School, said: “We are delighted to be able to call upon the expertise that Pave Aways and partners offer. We are always looking to better prepare our learners for careers in the construction industry and through this partnership they will be exposed to some of the latest developments in materials, techniques and working practice.

“Every year at our STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Maths) awards evening we invite ‘inspirational sparks’, ex-students who return to Mary Webb to give our students an insight into the exciting things they have been doing since leaving our school. We look forward to future students telling us about the cutting edge construction they have been involved in as a result of the increased opportunities this will provide.”

Pave Aways’ sub contractor, Lowfield Timber Frames, will be hosting the first session at the school in January to explain more about the method of building using structural insulated panels (SIPs).