COVID-19 has had a significant impact on virtually every sector, including those considered essential, such as construction. These effects have disproportionately affected young people, with major delays to their education and a dip in the availability of in-person extracurricular activities, such as traditional career-related research.
Work experience is crucial in providing young people with the required exposure to careers. Students in high school and college have always been under pressure to follow a career path, and work experience is essential for providing young people with the necessary exposure to their potential line of work. One way of achieving this despite COVID restrictions has been with online work experience.
Speakers for Schools looked at emerging developments related to this issue and found out that the construction industry was more than adapting to the changing times in this regard but in fact, virtual work placements were on the rise.
Rise in Virtual Work Experience in the Construction Industry
At the beginning of the first lockdown, two-thirds of UK internships and summer programs were cancelled. Online work experience is currently thriving in the construction industry due to changes facilitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as students and graduates in similar fields search for new ways to boost their employability.
With several businesses being forced to lay off workers between April 2020 and March 2021, some industries were better placed than others to shift to automated outreach and pave the way for others to follow. Even in the construction industry where relatively normal operations continued, there were still significant alterations that necessitated alterations.
The construction industry embraced virtual work experience due to its potential to increase the availability of career-related opportunities for young people. During the height of the pandemic, the construction industry saw 1,834 placements provided by the likes of Morgan Sindall Construction, BAM Construction and Align JV.
The State of Virtual Work Experience Across the UK
From April 2020 to March 2021, the number of total work experience placements in the UK rose by 5,890. This suggests a healthy increase in the number of job experience opportunities available for young people, even in areas that had faced location disadvantages, thus encouraging UK companies to extend their catchment area independent of their geographical location.
Additionally, virtual placements accounted for 71% of new employees. Also, approximately 3,000 additional placements were provided directly in London, with nearly half of these positions delivered through online means.
Several renowned corporations have taken advantage of this chance to collaborate with the best fresh talents. Spotify’s London division increased work placements by 4,168%, and more young people have accessed this than ever before thanks to online job experience. Openings rose by 525% and 39%, respectively, at Cisco Systems and Severn Trent Water, as well as Spotify. The majority of these positions were only available online.
How are Virtual Internships Possible?
In online internships, key performance indicators (KPIs) necessitate any self-sufficiency to obtain expertise. This is unlike many other physical settings. Interns have a combination of mandatory company sessions and hours that they can complete at their leisure as part of the necessary hours.
Rather than observing physical traits, the KPIs are dependent on observable deliverables of an intern’s results (for example, looking busy). This is possible because automated, or cloud worlds, are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in all time zones and according to the interns’ work schedules.
Another tool that has made these internships possible is cloud-native technology. Cloud infrastructure consists of on-demand storage services that enable users to access computing resources remotely instead of downloading software or storing data on a server. Online learners who would otherwise be unable to experience or afford these technologies benefit greatly from cloud environments.
Benefits of Virtual Work Experience
One of the most appealing aspects of doing an internship from home is the versatility it provides. You will work your own hours and schedule your internship with your other obligations. Such benefits include:
Accessibility: Immersive job experience is available to everyone, regardless of venue. Many young job seekers would benefit from the growth of virtual work experience and internships, as high-quality opportunities that were formerly only available to anyone who could live rent-free in London or other big cities will now be available to us.
Cost: since you’ll be working at home, you won’t have to pay for travel, which means you’ll save money on the commute, as well as coffees and lunches.
More opportunities: since you’re not limited by expense or location, you can apply for internships all around the world, expanding your options significantly.
Enhanced soft skills: the self-discipline needed to work at home can hone a variety of soft skills such as organization and time control. Participating also shows managers that you have initiative and inspiration. Both of these are valuable skills to have on your resume.
Improved technical skills: Remote working is a vital skill for the new workplace, and learning how to be useful and efficient from afar is a beneficial skill.
The updates the construction industry has had to make to cope with the public health crisis has turned out to have positive aspects for school leavers and students. Considering the uncertainty that early pandemic caused young people. With virtual work experience on the rise in the industry, talents can be cultivated and careers pursued.