Skip to content

The Durkan Waged Work Placement Programme

Best Practice Case Studies

Durkan develops novel 'waged work placement' to provide practical experience and support to young construction recruits

Who is Durkan?

Durkan is an established construction company specialising in design, build and refurbishment projects across the country. As a larger company, Durkan has a sizable workforce of trades, technical and professional people.

In light of this, Durkan wanted to find a way to not only ensure young people are being trained in construction, but also to ensure that young people with technical and professional qualifications are able to find a career job in the industry.     

Creating Opportunities

Ensuring that there’s a pipeline of the right talent available to the sector, Durkan has setup a 12 – 26-week work placement programme with the aim of offering young people a pathway to employment in the construction industry, particularly for technical and professionally qualified young graduates who are finding it difficult to secure a job in their field of study.   

A major challenge to young, qualified people getting on the first rung of the career ladder is the perceived lack of practical experience. The result is a chicken-and-egg situation whereby young people with technical and professional construction qualifications can’t find a job because they have no experience, and can’t gain experience because they can’t find a job.  

This vicious cycle is something that Durkan wanted to break, enabling young, qualified people to begin their career journeys, which is why they created the new work placement programmes.

The Programme

The Durkan work placement programme offers candidates real on-the-job experience with ‘waged work placement’. The programme is unique in that it’s not a traditional work experience or training scheme. It’s paid employment. This is important as when it comes to applying for jobs, having had paid employment counts as real, on-the-job work experience.

As well as helping to find permanent employment via the programme, Durkan provides preparation for the construction industry recruitment process, such as CV creation and interview advice.

The programme creates a two-way sustainable skills base, benefiting both young, qualified people by opening up a pathway to employment, and the industry by maintaining a flow of skilled people into the sector. Through the programme Durkan also seeks to champion diversity within construction by attracting more women and people from underrepresented backgrounds.

James’ Story

James has a first-class degree in building surveying. After graduating he found it difficult to secure a professional position with a construction company. He was held back by a lack of practical experience that can only be gained from previous employment.

After two years of applying for jobs, James had still not found a role related to his field of study. He was becoming despondent and losing hope of ever finding a career job in construction. As is so often the case, he simply didn’t have the connections or network within the industry to get his foot in the door with a construction company.

The 26-week programme gave James renewed confidence and a sense of direction as he took the knowledge he’d gained on his degree course and decided to move into project management, where he excelled.     

During the programme, as his confidence began to build, James took the initiative, creating and developing a quality and inspection system for work carried out on site. James’ new system helps ensure that each job within the system is completed at the right time and to the correct specifications.   

James’ dedication to learning and his willingness to take on responsibility by the end of the programme enabled him to secure a permanent role as an Assistant Project Manager with Durkan.   

Making Positive Changes

James’ future is looking very bright after going through the Durkan Programme and having the opportunity to demonstrate his skills, initiative and work ethic on-site. The lift that the programme gave James was what he needed to flourish as a construction professional and begin his career. 

By identifying a recurring issue faced by technical and professional construction graduates, and by devising a solution to it, Durkan is effecting positive change within the industry as it enables young people who have gained a higher qualification in construction to acquire the experience necessary to find their career job in the industry.     

Find out more about the Durkan Programme

Related insights

Interested in supporting Youthbuild UK?

Discover more about supporting Youthbuild UK and how you can help disadvantaged young people succeed.

Contact us