With so much talk of rising unemployment levels and the imminent end of the UK government’s already-extended furlough scheme, where does that leave graduates and students trying to get a foot in the door of a somewhat cautious construction industry in the age of Covid-19?

In previous years, discussion has focussed on the need to attract new talent to the industry, encouraging school-aged children to take up STEM subjects and follow a related career. The growing skills deficit is viewed by many as one of the key threats to the sector so how does a company like evolve balance the desire to recruit and develop young engineers with the current precarious state of a pandemic-scarred national economy?

Director Martyn Perkins is keen to emphasise the need to continue investing for the future and looking ahead to ensure the company is in the best possible position for business post-Covid. Putting those words into practice, the evolve team has recently expanded to welcome Graduate Engineer, Will Du Feu and Student Engineer, Anna Kellett.

“We feel that we, as employers, have an obligation to offer opportunities to the next generation of engineers and will continue to run our graduate recruitment, student placement and work experience programmes. This is even more important during the current crisis which is having such a major impact on young people’s career prospects. We are therefore delighted to welcome Anna and Will to our team.”

Will started with evolve in September, following his graduation from the University of Leeds where he earned a MEng in Architectural Engineering (International). As part of his master’s degree course, he spent an international study year at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Anna joins us on a ‘Year in Industry’ placement, also from the University of Leeds, where she has already completed three years of her four-year Architectural Engineering degree.

With the seemingly ever-present threat of further local and national lockdowns hanging over the UK, the after-effects of the initial pandemic peak have understandably left many employers nervous about committing to recruitment plans.

Data from online recruitment site CV-Library revealed that graduate jobs in construction fell by 78.1% from January to July 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

With economists declaring the job market to be in arguably its worst state for decades, BBC Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Sarah Corker, announced in August that graduate jobs had dried up three times faster than normal in 2020, leading to increased competition for roles.

It is stats such as these that drive Martyn and his fellow directors Ian and Neil to continue to provide opportunities for young people. Only by actively investing in the development of new talent, by sharing knowledge and skills, and helping to build confidence will we secure the future growth and prosperity of our industry; something we all need to commit to.