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DEF: Employability

Employability is about being capable of getting and keeping fulfilling work (Hillage and Pollard).

– I identified a problem :
Low Self Esteem amongst BTEC Construction Students

(click here to find out more about how I identified this problem)

– How I plan to solve the Problem: Encouraging realistic self evaluation through the use of a familiar idea


Here are some of the things students said:

“I’m not as well qualified as A-level students.”

“I can’t imagine who would want to employ me.”

“I don’t have anything to offer this university.”

“Applying to university is a waste of time.”


Building off a firm foundation

In BTEC Construction students learn how to draw a foundation detail. A foundation detail is generally made up of the same basic parts, bricks, concrete and cement.

Instead of filling in the details of each component students filled in their qualifications and modules achieved. These are called Hard Skills.

Plan from a place of Knowledge

Once your foundation has been put in place it is important to design a plan that works. It has to be functional and fulfil the needs of the client.

When sketching a plan students were encouraged to fill each room with information to inform their future career choices. This could include potential job titles, university courses and requires the student to identify their strengths and things they want from their future career. This is vital knowledge which can be used to plan the students future career path.

Create a visually pleasing elevation

An elevation needs to be accurately drawn in order to show how the house will look once it is built. There are lots of things that a designer can add to an elevation to make it look more attractive, and visually pleasing. Designers can add decorative features such as plaster bands, quoins, bespoke window units and a bespoke front door. When combined together this creates the final product.

Students sketched their ideal elevation of a house and instead of adding decorative features they were encouraged to list their qualities, achievements and experiences that will make them attractive to any potential employer. These are called soft skills. These softs skills will be different for everyone and that’s why all the elevations you see are completely unique.

Here is what the students had to say after the exercise –

“I am better prepared than some A-level students to enter the world of Construction because I have 2 years of specialist, focussed knowledge.”

“I really love measuring and drawing up buildings and I was surprised to find that this is actually a job. I could eventually be employed as Building Surveyor. I already have experience of going out on to sites and am pretty excited to see what other jobs I could do.”

“While being at college I worked in an office answering phones and making tea. At school I was told not to have a job incase it affected my grades but now I can list all of the transferrable skills that I have learnt from working every weekend.”

“I didn’t realise that universities would be interested in my trip to Africa where I helped to build a school for children but now I see that it is a really unique experience that taught me how to cope with the unexpected.”

“I love sports but was never good enough to be profession so thought it was a waste of time to talk about it. Now I know that being captain of my football team has developed leadership and time keeping skills in me that an employer wants. I’m happier now that I know if I go to an interview for a construction job I can talk about the soft skills I have learnt as well as my college qualifications.”

© Cherith Simpson 2017 | site by