A leading Cornish construction company recently joined forces with Bodmin College as part of an initiative to encourage young people into the building industry.

St Austell-based Gilbert & Goode welcomed a group of college students to its site in St Tudy, where it’s building 21 new homes on behalf of Coastline Housing.

The students, aged between 13 and 18, were given a tour of the building site and the chance to try their hand at bricklaying. They also took part in a virtual reality workshop on architectural design, giving them an insight into how modern technological advances are helping to revolutionise the construction industry.

“Attracting talented young people into construction is one of the biggest challenges the industry is currently facing,” said Gilbert & Goode’s safety advisor, John Hutchens.

“Initiatives like this are a great example of how industry professionals can come together, challenge misconceptions, and raise awareness of the many and varied career opportunities available in construction.”

The construction industry in the UK is worth around £110 billion and employs more than a million people. But it’s facing a major skills shortage, with demand for both trade and professional roles – from bricklayers, plasterers and electricians to quantity surveyors and architectural technicians – far outstripping supply.

“It’s imperative all students are given an insight into the wealth of careers within the construction industry, to allow them to see first-hand the wider picture of a construction site from inception to completion,” said Paula Hutchens, who organised the event on behalf of Cornwall Construction Training Group.

“We’re grateful to Gilbert & Goode for allowing us to use the site at St Tudy, and we are already planning future activities with them.”

Gilbert & Goode, which employs 85 people, is one of the largest Cornish construction businesses in the region. Established in 1972, its portfolio includes major building and refurbishment projects, and building new homes.