Balfour Beatty launches “Construction Academy” to entice pupils in North Carolina

Construction has struggled to make itself an aspirational career choice for young people for years, but now UK-headquartered Balfour Beatty is opening a new front in that battle with a construction-themed afterschool programme designed for pupils aged 11-14 in Wilson County, North Carolina.

The 18-month curriculum, to be delivered by Balfour Beatty in joint venture with construction firm Holt Brothers, and called the Construction Academy, will explore iconic structures and how the industry works, while teaching students about the different careers available in construction and helping them with resumé writing and interview skills.

Children will get the chance to appreciate innovation and technology, build their own model construction projects, fly drones, play engineering games, conduct virtual and in-person job walks, and more, Balfour Beatty said.

The Academy will be housed in a new multi-level, 72,000-square-foot building Balfour Beatty and Holt Brothers will construct for the Wilson Family YMCA on Pine Street in the county seat of Wilson.

This has been made possible thanks to a $22m grant to the Wilson Family YMCA given by the philanthropic Healthcare Foundation of Wilson.

Denise O’Hara, the foundation’s executive director, said: "We are funding the creation of this program and building specifically to meet the afterschool needs of Wilson’s middle school students, and we are grateful to the design and build team for engaging youth at this stage."

Chad Humphrey, Balfour Beatty market lead in North Carolina said "we look forward to providing an influential and educational programme for our community’s youth to jumpstart their interest in a career in construction".

"The Construction Academy program is an incredible opportunity to begin hands-on programming at our new YMCA facility," said Kathie Davis, executive director of the Wilson Family YMCA. "Balfour Beatty and Holt Brothers have structured an interactive framework that will be informative, educational and fun, and we’re are extremely excited and grateful to be part of the team."

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