Christine Townley

The importance of celebrating construction's young talent

It’s really vital that we encourage and recognise young talent coming into the industry, especially those who have struggled to get where they have. It is this talent which is the future of construction and we have a responsibility to ensure that they are mentored and developed – as the success of the industry depends on it.

The construction industry’s charity, Construction Youth Trust, has launched its 5th annual awards this month. The Duke of Gloucester's Young Achievers Scheme 2016 celebrates this young talent and offers the winners mentoring from industry leaders to enable them to make an even greater impact in the years to come.

We look for exceptional young professionals under 30 working in construction and the built environment whose achievements should be celebrated. But we particularly look for those who have overcome barriers of race, gender, social and educational disadvantage and reward their determination to succeed.

"These inspiring young people are the best ambassadors we have and will do more to encourage other new talent into the industry than the traditional careers services can."

We’ve had some incredibly inspiring past winners including young people who have lifted their way out of gangs and environments where there was low expectations to achieve. We’ve seen women who have battled against discrimination in the industry and those who have suffered from many health or family setbacks in their young lives. But the one thing they have in common is resilience and a clear vision of where they want to be in life. It is this which drives them forward and enables them to make great career progress, which we celebrate through our awards.

The judges and I are always so impressed every year with what these young people have achieved. Many have spent time already giving back to the industry and community by encouraging other young people to consider a career in construction. These inspiring young people are the best ambassadors we have and will do more to encourage other new talent into the industry than the traditional careers services can. 

This year we are encouraging colleagues in the industry to nominate young people in their companies and teams who would be great entrants. We know that managers and senior leaders are the best people to recognise talent and those who have made exceptional progress despite personal circumstances. So I would encourage you all to look around your teams and see who you can celebrate from your company. 

There are five categories to enter: 

  • Construction Delivery
  • Design, Planning and Architecture
  • Engineering
  • Project Management 
  • Surveying.

Those interested in applying or nominating someone for The Duke of Gloucester's Young Achievers Scheme have until the 6th November 2015 to apply for these prestigious awards.

Christine Townlwy is chief executive of the Construction Youth Trust

For further information on the awards and how to apply please visit The winners will be presented at an awards dinner in Spring 2016. The awards are being sponsored this year by CITB, Arcadis, CIOB, KPMG and AECOM. To find out how you can sponsor the awards please contact John Graham at