‘Generation Z’ holds key to Liverpool city region growth

Young people across Liverpool city region recieved their A Level results on Tuesday and the choices they make could have a huge impact on our future growth and prosperity. Tony McDonough reports

Hugh Baird
A Level students at Hugh Baird College, Raymond Dean, Natalie Grant and Charlie Doyle, celebrate their results


A few days ago Everton FC broke ground on its new £500m stadium project at Bramley-Moore Dock in Liverpool’s northern docklands.

During the course of the three-year project around 12,000 construction workers will be needed. It isn’t the only major project in the city. Buildings are rapidly coming out of the ground in the Knowledge Quarter and, looking forward, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram is looking to make his multi-billion pound tidal energy scheme a reality.

Liverpool city region leaders are keen to create new infrastructure and critical to all such projects is a skilled workforce. However, the construction and property industry, similar to other sectors, is grappling with a skills gap.

Last Tuesday, teenagers across the country received their A-level results and many will already be thinking about their future careers. There were many impressive results. Students at Hugh Baird College in Bootle achieved a pass rate of 99.7% with 54.7% of students achieving A to B grades.

Through their hard work they have given themselves a solid foundation to build a rewarding career. But how many of them will consider a career in the property industry, or in engineering?

Not nearly enough, according to a new survey carried out on behalf of construction firm Morgan Sindall, developer HBD, and professional services consultancy Gleeds. It has found that few than one-third of so-called ‘Generation Z’ (young people up to the age of 24) would consider a career in the built environment.

In the report – Are We Gen Z Ready – it is revealed that 57% of women and girls in the age category still put off the industry because of perceptions it is male-dominated.

Further reasons for rejecting construction as a career path include beliefs that it is dangerous (28%) and dirty (26%), suggesting that the industry still has work to do to convey both its unerring focus on safety, and the variety of highly-skilled technical and non-site-based roles available.

There was also a lack of awareness around the scope to use and develop digital skills, with less than one in three respondents aware that the industry is undergoing a digital transformation, and facing the same demand for coders and data scientists as many other sectors.

Liverpool city region’s £4bn maritime sector also faces a similar perception problem. Maritime is sometimes viewed as traditional and old-fashioned. Organisations such as Mersey Maritime and Maritime UK are working hard to counter this highlighting how the sector is leading the way on both digital innovation and decarbonisation.

Morgan Sindall is very active on Merseyside. Two of its most recent projects include The Spine, a £35m office building in the Knowledge Quarter and a £64m development for Liverpool John Moores University at Copperas Hill.

Karina Connolly, who led the latest research for the company, said: “Our research suggests many Gen Z-ers are simply rejecting property and construction outright due to negative perceptions of the industry.

“That may be difficult reading for those of us who are passionate about the sector’s evolution, consider ‘dirty’ and ‘dangerous’ to be dated stereotypes, and who are actively engaged in initiatives to address diversity.

“An equally pressing concern is the lack of awareness among Generation Z about the ongoing digital transformation happening within the industry, and the initiatives progressive businesses are leading as they embrace a shared responsibility to tackle the climate emergency.

Construction, building, skills, housebuilding, trade, industry
Construction and the built environment is not attracting enough young people
Cammell Laird
Apprentices at Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead have chosen a career in maritime


“Both of these areas are critical for construction to make real progress in. They’re also highly dependent on specific green and digital skills which almost every industry is competing for.”

Liverpool city region’s hospitality sector is also facing a post-pandemic skills shortage. It was estimated bars, hotels and restaurants across Merseyside lost 31,000 staff during the pandemic with many migrating to other careers due to the disruption.

Last week, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Growth Platform, Marketing Liverpool and Liverpool Hospitality teamed up with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to attract people back into the sector.

One of the initiatives being developed with the DWP, is a bespoke hospitality pre-employment package, where job seekers can attend and gain specific industry skills and be guaranteed a job interview.

And Growth Platform is also offering help for employers looking to hire people, or upskill their current teams, via its free-to-use Liverpool City Region Skills Brokerage Service. It comprises an expert team of Skills Brokers who provide impartial advice to businesses of all sizes.

They help employers access funding and support them to find the right provider to help recruit and train new staff, or to upskill existing workforces, saving them valuable time and money.

In February, public relations entrepreneur and founder of Moore Media, Jayne Moore, set up a new venture called I Am Moore (IAM) aimed at up-skilling young adults across the Liverpool city region.

It says it is offering an alternative to those not wanting, being able to or not feeling ready for further or higher education – with hundreds of paid job roles waiting to be snapped up as part of the Government’s Kickstarter scheme. Kickstarter offers six months of fully-paid work and training for adults up to the age of 24.

Called a ‘Kickstarter-thon’, the IAM team of Kickstarters are ready to take calls from those eager to get into paid employment.

New vacancies range from a junior engineering technician, childcare practitioner and social media assistant, to trainee management accountant, music tutor and laboratory technician, as well as hundreds more across construction, hospitality, HR, law and science.

Lynn Lock, chief executive of I Am Moore, wants young people to know that there are other routes available to them outside of education where they can gain valuable, paid work experience.

She said: “Many of us know the feeling of exam results days and, whether you are expecting good or bad news, it can be a nerve-wracking and daunting experience. The future is so uncertain, especially after what we’ve all had to go through during COVID-19,

“But I Am Moore is providing a stable and valuable next step for young people who want to grab onto the career ladder with both hands.”

Since its launch in February 2021, I Am Moore has sourced 408 jobs and is well on track to exceed its target of creating 500 vacancies in its first year – 95 of those have already been filled. Call 0151 236 2879 to speak to the team or email kickstart@jaynemooremedia.com.

Young people who have just received their A Level results and are unsure of what to do next can also get help and advice via the National Careers Service. Every year during the exam season it runs the Exam Results Helpline

Its website provides free and impartial information and advice, with professional career advisers also available to speak to via the webchat. Young people can also call 0800 100 900 on weekdays 8am-8pm or Saturdays 10am-5pm. It can offer:

  • Professional careers advisers from the Exam Results Helpline – who can share advice and top tips content and host Q&As for those receiving their results this year
  • Young people in technical education and work-based training and those on the Kickstart Scheme who can talk about their own experience of results day and why they chose their qualification and what they hope to achieve
  • Advice and support for students and parents – on the different routes on offer to young people.

You might also like More from author

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Username field is empty.