I have been with Contract Scotland since 2013, and in October 2016, I transferred from the permanent team into the freelance Site Engineering division (alongside Karin Campbell). One of the busiest projects we've been recruiting for has to be the new Forth Crossing. My personal remit is to source freelance Site Engineers, although I was asked to also recruit Cover Meter Technician’s (Engineers to carry out Cover Meter Surveys) for the project .
The Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) consortium were looking to offer Civil Engineering Graduates the chance to gain valuable site experience and work on the largest civil engineering project in Scotland. Given the volume of recruitment we have carried out throughout the lifecycle of the project, one of the hiring manager’s approached us to select candidates who would benefit from receiving this site experience as well as assist the site team with completing some important work on the job.
I was pleased to have successfully place several candidates on the project through our search and selection methods. I approached some candidates who were still at university finishing off their degrees on day release and some who had fully graduated; for some of them it would their first site based role within the Scottish market. This sort of recruitment is great to get involved in as we all experience the disadvantages of a skills shortage and an employer engaging in new talent coming through will help the construction industry in the long term.
The candidates who I considered were all met in person to talk them through the project, work involved, working freelance and the finer details of their contract. I felt this was crucial to help in the transition from education to freelance employment. This meant that all workers felt comfortable going into a new job on a contract basis. It also assured the site team that I was carrying out due diligence prior to starting people on site.
When I went out to visit the bridge and our workers last week I was over the moon to hear that one of the Cover Meter Technician’s I had placed was recently promoted to the role of Site Engineer. It's great to see a freelance candidate be recognised for their ability and given the opportunity to progress and develop his experience. Some people have misconceptions about freelance work and think that when you work freelance you won’t be able to get the same progression opportunities you might otherwise have working in a permanent position; this has shown that this is not necessarily the case.
There’s also no denying that there is an ever-growing skills shortage within the Scottish construction industry and Contract Scotland has been trying to address this by encouraging more employers to get involved in graduate recruitment or work shadow placements (see our social enterprise scheme Constructing Futures for more information on work shadow placements). We also help promote overseas talent given our knowledge of the transferable skills people have from other countries. The candidates that we successfully placed in this scenario have a mixture of Scottish and Spanish backgrounds which is great given this project is a Joint Venture being delivered by contractors from different countries.
All in all recruitment for the Forth Crossing has been exciting and challenging but the outcome of this process will hopefully see some new talent emerge for projects beyond the Forth Crossing.
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