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‘You can’t be what you can’t see’: Havering schoolchildren introduced to world of construction

PUBLISHED: 15:00 12 October 2020

Some of the pupils from Rainham's La Salette Primary School - pictured with Havering's Cllr Robert Benham (R) - received free copies of 'What Do… Construction Workers Do?', a book which promotes careers in the industry. Picture: Wates Residential

Some of the pupils from Rainham's La Salette Primary School - pictured with Havering's Cllr Robert Benham (R) - received free copies of 'What Do… Construction Workers Do?', a book which promotes careers in the industry. Picture: Wates Residential

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Pupils from three primary schools have received free copies of a new children’s book designed to inspire them to work in construction.

Lewis Thurston from Wates Residential at Towers Junior School in Hornchurch, where students also got a free copy of Emma Juhasz's book. Picture: Wates ResidentialLewis Thurston from Wates Residential at Towers Junior School in Hornchurch, where students also got a free copy of Emma Juhasz's book. Picture: Wates Residential

Editions of Emma Juhasz’s What Do Construction Workers Do? were given to pupils at La Salette Primary School in Rainham, Towers Infant and Towers Junior Schools in Hornchuch and Crowlands Primary School in Romford.

The costs were funded by the council’s joint venture partner Wates Residential, with the premise driven by research which shows that, by age seven, children already perceive that certain jobs are off limits to them.

It is hoped that children at all three schools will benefit from learning about an industry that they would not ordinarily be exposed to at an early age.

It’s certainly gone down well so far; Towers pupil Leo said he was really happy to learn about “how we can build things in the future”, while Crowlands pupil Paulius believes the book is useful because it shows the different jobs in the industry.

Wates Residential's Dan Harrison, pictured at Crowlands Primary School where he was once a student. Picture: Wates ResidentialWates Residential's Dan Harrison, pictured at Crowlands Primary School where he was once a student. Picture: Wates Residential

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La Salette headteacher Adam Scott Wilson said his pupils were also enjoying the book and he thanked Wates for taking an interest in “creating enthusiasm for engineering and construction, particularly among girls, who are not always represented”.

Wates — scheduled to complete London’s biggest social housing regeneration project over the next 12-15 years in Havering — is keen to impart the message that a career in construction is viable for everyone.

Development director Kate Ives said: “Children’s potentials are being limited from a young age because they can’t be what they can’t see in society, and the job roles that they are exposed to on an everyday basis.

“At Wates Residential, we are passionate about inspiring children from all backgrounds and showing that the sector is open to all.”

With the latest figures from The Chartered Institute of Building identifying that the industry needs 160,000 new recruits by 2023 to avoid a shortage, encouraging the younger generation has never mattered more.

This initiative is one example of how this partnership “delivers so much more than just housing”, added Cllr Robert Benham, cabinet member for education, children and families.


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