SCAPEing Out a World of Work


Hundreds of young people from across Scotland were recently given the opportunity to attend a work taster event organised by SCAPE Scotland aimed at showcasing the construction industry and encouraging them to consider a career in the built environment.

Introducing young people to construction

SCAPEing out a World of Work was developed by the SCAPE Scotland Community Legacy Group in response to the DYW (Developing the Young Workforce) aim to introduce young people to the full breadth of job roles and careers within construction.

More than 200 young people from across Scotland attended the event in Stirling in October. The work tasters focused on four key areas including traditional roles, professional roles, digital roles and green roles. The two-day event was aimed at young people aged between 16 and 25 and held at The Engine Shed in Stirling, which has been restored by Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

SCAPE Scotland hopes to be able to hold similar work tasters in the future but these type of events wouldn’t be possible without the continued support and input of framework partners Morgan Sindall, Balfour Beatty, Kier, McLaughlin & Harvey, Triskelion, AtkinsRéalis and Arup.

We set out to inform and inspire the young people who came along so that they might consider a career in the built environment. By giving them a taster and some hands-on experience of a wide variety of roles within the industry we hope that they left the event more knowledgeable about construction and some of the amazing career opportunities it holds."

Gary Meechan
SCAPE Scotland’s Head of Frameworks

Work Taster event outcomes:

  • 213 young people attended the event over the two days
  • 97% would recommend the event to others
  • 68% felt they increased their knowledge of roles in construction
  • 98% rated the event good or excellent
  • 73% students ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to consider a career in construction after the event

The feedback from the work tasters was phenomenal. Collaboration with the SCAPE partners, HES and supporters enabled us to create something special for young people from across Scotland. Highlights included attendance from hard-to-reach young people and underrepresented groups. The young people, teachers, college staff, support staff and even HES volunteers were all blown away with the opportunities available within construction."

Elizabeth Halliday
Head of Responsible Business at Morgan Sindall Construction, is SCAPE Scotland’s Community Legacy Board Chair and one of the event’s organisers

An interactive learning experience

From the original steel frame and brick walls of the engine shed to the reclaimed sports flooring cladding the walls within the newer extension, even the toilet doors continue the learning environment theme before the young people wandered round the exhibitions, conservation training rigs and the digital technologies available within the space.

The team from HES also embedded themselves within the SCAPE Community Legacy team, planning and offering support to tailor the event to the needs of the young people attending.

HES Stone Masons led the ‘One Build at a Time’ work taster in partnership with Tigers Construction Academy providing the opportunity to try stone masonry techniques carving letters into stone cubes and learning the brickwork trade.

Also showcased was Kenoteq’s k-briq which highlights the low carbon direction the construction industry is taking with the k-briq being made of 90% recycled construction waste and unfired manufacture resulting in an extremely low embodied carbon.

HES led the ‘Let’s go Retro’ work taster introducing the young people to the need for refurbishment of the existing building stock and traditional job roles.

The SCAPE partners provided access to digital careers within construction viewing BIM models on the large screen and within The Howff, The Engine Shed’s 270-degree immersive Virtual Reality cave. They also experienced further VR technology which is increasing in use throughout the industry and clearly captured the gaming interest of the young people.

‘Site life’ highlighted the use of surveying equipment, cat and genny equipment to locate below ground cables and some larger equipment including an electric excavator and electric telehandler which also taught young people about sustainability in construction.

At ‘Count on us’ the young people experienced an interactive quantity surveying exercise, costing and constructing a structure while monitoring the time (programme) and budget and making sure to avoid defects during the build.

‘A Greener Future’ introduced the young people to the biodiversity emergency most of which were unaware of the risks and the positive impact the construction industry can have on biodiversity.