Students vote virtual work experience week a success

Students vote virtual work experience week a success

The 40 students who took part in our virtual work experience week during February half-term described it as ‘really inspiring’.

The programme gave the students, aged 14 – 17, inside information on the wide range of careers in construction.

While all students had their cameras off throughout, for safeguarding, the sessions were fully interactive, with discussions, surveys and plenty of time for questions and answers. They enjoyed a virtual site tour, and met labour managers, civil engineers, resourcers, health and safety and HR staff. Presentations and Q&A sessions covered:

  • How a construction project is run, and how different roles contribute to its completion
  • The importance of health and safety
  • What social responsibility means in practice
  • Tips for CVs, job applications and interviews
  • The different education and career paths in the industry, including VGC’s ICE-approved graduate programme

The students also learned from client Murphy Group how they run their projects to meet government targets, and what they need from their supply chain.

Rebecca Parfitt and Bobbie Smith-Ball employability session
Recruitment consultants Rebecca Parfitt and Bobbie Smith-Ball presented the employability session.

Student feedback included:

  • “The variety of roles – you don’t even realise the different jobs and roles – and how everybody supports each other”
  • “Introduced me to the plethora of job roles for a range of people within the construction industry”
  • “”Most of the careers within the construction industry do not have a specific single route.”

I really enjoyed the entire week; it completely changed my perception and understanding of construction.

  • “I gained knowledge and even more of a reason to pursue this profession.”
  • “We learned that the construction industry isn’t just about doing manual labour and erecting infrastructure, but helping out within the community and working towards a more sustainable future.”
  • “I am more excited about going into the construction industry.”

I want a career in civil engineering because of this experience.

  • “We saw how construction projects can work on meeting our needs now without compromising the needs of future generations.”
  • “How much they enforce health and safety shows how much a company cares for its employees.”
  • “I learned about how VGC performs diversity, hiring lots of different people from different backgrounds”
Megan Prigmore
Megan Prigmore described what one of the students called: “her inspiring work with local communities”

The course was managed by CSR manager Kimberley McGinty. She said: “This was VGC’s third work experience week, and each is better than the last. I have been so impressed by the young people who want to spend their school holidays gaining important insights into what working in construction involves.

“Thank you to all my colleagues who gave their time to the programme, and to Megan Prigmore of Murphy Group.”

Main photograph: top row – CSR manager Kimberley McGinty, chief operating officer Ciara Pryce, delivery manager James Burke; middle row – site agent Bobby Hayre, head of HR Laura Perry, head of HSQE Richard Wheeler; bottom row – labour managers Kayleigh Boxley and James Andrews

Chief operating officer Ciara Pryce said: “The students were fantastically engaged and articulate. It was a pleasure to talk to them, and to answer their excellent questions. I was really amazed by the amount they achieved during the week.”

Our online programme supports students from across the UK

Our schools programme has continued despite COVID-19. Since lockdown, we have worked with over 200 students, using digital platforms like Zoom, WhatsApp and MS Teams. Students take part from across the UK, including Birmingham, Manchester, Hertfordshire, Newcastle, Middlesex, Kent, and Surrey, and key boroughs along the HS2 route.

Kimberley said: “Adapting to online learning has given a huge boost to our schools programme. Virtual sessions allow students from across the country to take part, and far more students can join in than was possible when our sessions were face-to-face.”

Our next virtual work experience week will be 12 – 16 April.

Students from across the UK are invited to take part in a series of interesting and engaging sessions. If you know someone aged 14 – 17 who might enjoy the experience, please ask them to talk to their school for help to apply to Speakers for Schools. The deadline is 12 March. If they have questions, please email

Read more about VGC’s work with schools and young people.