Attracting Younger People into the Construction Supply Chain

As a key part of the construction supply chain, Robinson Manufacturing (RML) – like so many UK businesses on both construction and manufacturing – has been looking at the challenges presented by an ageing workforce.

Of course our older workers are highly valued for their skills, experience and knowledge of systems and processes. But companies also face potential future difficulties when these long-serving employees retire and there aren’t enough younger people coming through to follow in their footsteps.

Neither construction nor manufacturing are glamourous occupations, and both have struggled to attract that fresh young talent to learn from experienced older staff.

RML has chosen to take a very proactive approach to the issue, engaging with the Government’s Kickstart programme from a very early stage. This has allowed the business to take on a large number of young people who have found it difficult to find their place in the workforce through the pandemic – through no fault of their own – into six-month, part-time placements.

This injection of young talent, evident in every department across the business from marketing to production, has been incredibly refreshing. Many who started out as Kickstarters have quickly moved into full time, permanent roles.

In turn, this has had a transformative effect on the age distribution among staff. At a time where the business has been growing, without losing older staff, RML is proud to be able to say that over 20% of its staff are under 25, bucking trends in both construction and manufacturing.

CEO Simon Kidney is delighted with the impact the programme is having: “The Kickstart programme was initially, for us, a way to both attract new talent and continue the legacy of the company’s founder Tim Robinson, who was a firm believer in giving young people a chance,” he explained. “It has turned into a real transformation, with teams of all ages working together, whilst future proofing RML’s potential growth.”

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