As Constructing Futures enters its fifth year helping recent Graduates into employment through part-time unpaid job shadow placements, we took the time to catch up with one of the organisations we’ve dealt with over that time for their thoughts on how the service has worked for them. Charlie Griffiths, pictured with Jenna Watters (the latest candidate that they’ve taken on through Constructing Futures), kindly gave us some time to outline his views on the service and why he’s been a firm supporter of the initiative.
‘As an organisation, we take on quite a few candidates across the business at entry-level and recruiting for these candidates can sometimes be quite onerous & time-consuming. Using the service provided by Constructing Futures allows us to try before we buy; an extended interview if you like. Contract Scotland vet the individuals to make sure they fully understand the placement process. We want to give them the time and opportunity to show us what they can do, and if they impress us, then we’re happy to make a job offer. Sometimes we have a vacancy at the start of the process; sometimes workload can change during a placement. Cultural fit is vital to us, especially in a close, tight-knit team. Having the right approach to their work, which the placement period offers us through roughly 12-14 working days, and personal qualities are as essential to us as previous work experience.
We recognise candidates are committing to a placement. We want to give them the time to express themselves fully. I don’t think you can do this if you are offering someone a few days’ work here and there; if you’re doing that you’re not committed to helping the next generation start their careers in our Industry. We recognise that candidates need to earn money elsewhere during the placement and keep their options open. With any placement, there’s no guarantee at the end of the process that both parties will want to take things forward, but if you’re honest and transparent with the individual, any minor issues can be overcome. It seems to work for us. We’ve taken four candidates on through this route in the last seven years, and the previous three have been through Constructing Futures.’ We’re also aware that our involvement with Constructing Futures allows us to satisfy Community Benefits clauses in public sector contracts and the case studies they provide helps us with the existing and potential future workload.’
Ironside Farrar has helped candidates through Constructing Futures more than any other Consulting Engineer, which is a surprise given the size of their organisation compared to some of their competitors. The lack of engagement from larger Consulting Engineers in the sector has been very disappointing, especially given the high volume of vacancies they register for candidates with work experience through the core business at Contract Scotland. Ironside Farrer has shown that you can combine altruistic tendencies with an approach that makes sound commercial sense and provides positive outcomes for everyone concerned.