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SJCC chair Darren Webb's Welcome for the 2019 Awards

“Every year the SJCC hosts the ‘Oscars’ of Suffolk’s construction industry.

Although the SJCC plays an invaluable role in bringing together the county’s experts, we have become best known for our annual supper and awards, which took place this year at Trinity Park on Thursday 9th May and was attended by over 400 guests.

The night highlights some of the projects that we have achieved together. Testament to the local construction industry, they show that we most certainly have the skills set to build anything we choose. Suffolk definitely has talent!

Awards were also presented to the apprentices and the rising stars of our businesses. One of the main aims of the SJCC is to encourage students to explore the opportunities available to them in the construction industry. From a very early age, most know that to build houses you need a bricklayer, carpenter etc, but they’re probably unaware of all the other professions that make up this vibrant and exciting sector. 

Set the bar high

As businesses, I believe we need to encourage schools and colleges to promote our industry. The different avenues and opportunities are endless and as this year’s Chair of the SJCC, high on my agenda will be encouraging young people to take up a career in construction.

There is a job for everyone in this sector and I am a good example of how you can have a successful career which brings you immense job satisfaction, despite not being an A-star student.  I started my career as an apprentice bricklayer and have worked up the ladder to become a managing director; something you’re unlikely to be able to do in other sectors today. So, my advice to apprentices and young people is to set the bar high and go for it!

Changing Perceptions

I have some ideas on how we might go about attracting young talent. Firstly, I would like to encourage larger local construction companies to support the smaller sub-contractors, so they can offer more apprenticeships to school leavers.

Secondly, I would like to work on setting up more opportunities for professionals working in construction businesses, to visit local schools when kids are deciding on their GSCE options, to get them thinking about construction as a career option.

Finally, I want to put some emphasis into working with teachers and parents, to try and change perceptions of construction and get them to see the sector as not just second best, but as a first choice for a future career.

This industry is for young people who want to learn valuable crafts and academic skills. I sincerely hope after looking through our website, you will encourage those looking for a rewarding career, which is full of variety and opportunities, to consider the construction industry on their doorstep.”

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