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September 2015

Issue 38



Driving through roadworks on the

M3 this summer, I noticed a new

breed of road sign. One has a photo

of two little boys in PPE and reads

‘My daddy works here. Take care

within the roadworks’; another

shows a photo of a worker with the

words ‘This is our work zone’.

Maybe I’m just a sucker for kids in

hard hats, but I thought the signs

worked. They remind motorists

that the operatives working on our

roads are real people, working in

potentially dangerous conditions,

earning money for their families –

rather than just an annoyance to

delayed travellers.

Not everyone agrees however.

Guardian journalist Emine Saner

says the signs are part of a

’wackaging’ trend: “the infuriatingly

infantilising and chummy way that

twee smoothie makers and their

imitators speak to consumers”.

Outspoken Daily Mail and Express

columnist Leo McKinstry had a

characteristic rant about them too:

“adults are no longer regarded

by the authorities as mature

citizens but as irresponsible child-

like creatures who have to be

addressed in the language of the

primary school classroom.”

Thought-provoking... or infantile?

teaching is practical, it’s very

engaging for young people who

respond to that type of learning.”

Going into around 30 schools

in Surrey, Berkshire and South

London, SATROs’s five mobile

classrooms – white vans equipped

with enough tools and materials to

teach 10 pupils at a time – provide

two to three hours of teaching each

week for a whole school year. Pupils

achieve a level 1 BTEC. “We have a

pass rate of just under 85 percent

and huge progression rate either

on to college or to apprenticeships.”

What you can do?

It’s encouraging to see that this

year’s Construction Industry

Summit, to be held on 8 and 9

September, has made Class of Your

Own its education partner. Some

companies are already involved

with these two organisations, but

with more support so much more

could be done.

Class of Your Own has an ‘Adopt a

School’ scheme, where companies

commit, either individually or as

part of a consortium, to funding

a two-year programme of study.

And individuals can get involved

through participating in workshops

so that students get direct contact

with people from the industry.

SATRO works with volunteers

from the industry who come

in and run mock job interviews,

and firms who talk about

apprenticeships, and bring

in apprentices to share their

experiences. Some companies have

provided sponsorship to SATRO for

particular programmes.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if such

schemes could find their way

into every secondary school and

college? Then those ‘looming skill

shortages’ headlines could be

confined to the archives.

The ‘emotionally intelligent’ signs

are part of a trial, which involved

other new measures too, and

currently you can see them on four

stretches of roadworks on the M1,

A21, A40 and M3. A spokesman for

Highways England said: “We’ll be

looking to analyse the responses

we get from them.”

You can read more about it

here .

Industry eye articles have

been written for




Kristina Smith


Freelance construction

writer and editor.