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Campaign to boost recruits to building

Construction industry TV ad aims to break down stereotypes, writes Rob Ludgate

Army recruitment style television advertising has been launched by the construction industry to attract the best and brightest to fill the Olympic games manpower gap.

The new advert is the key weapon in the Positive Image campaign arsenal, coinciding with the publication of A-level and GCSE exam results, when young people consider their career choices.

Peter Lobban, chief executive officer of CITB-ConstructionSkill, said:

"With the pound;400 million Olympic bid (for 2012), the pound;10 billion Crossrail Link and pound;76 billion ring-fenced by the Government for investment in public projects over the next five years, sustainability is dependent on long-term commitment to quality training and starter jobs.

"We intend to squeeze out the lowest standard, the cowboy builder, by getting the right people in."

The advert will be broadcast on channels deemed popular with the target audience, like MTV and Sky, and at appropriate times. The first airing on Monday was during an advert break in The Simpsons. It also intends to speak to the young in their own language and in a way that has become familiar.

Opening on an image of a brick, the voice of a no-nonsense North Easterner challenges the stereotype that construction is just about bricklaying: "If a brick is all you see, go and put the kettle on. If you see more than a brick, we see more in you."

Music then accompanies footage of assorted architectural triumphs and a list of the impressive range of careers available, before issuing the young viewer with a challenge: "make something of yourself".

The campaign is intended to attract quality rather than quantity, as the construction industry recruits the 83,000 new people needed every year, for the next five years, if the industry order books are to be completed and if it is to continue to be at the heart of UK plc's future growth.

The campaign also intends to recruit more women and ethnic minorities to the industry. Mr Lobban said: "There are stereotypes but we need to break these down. We fully intend to change the face of the construction industry so that it accurately resembles the face of Britain."

The industry's previous print campaigns have been extremely successful.

ConstructionSkills recorded a 19 per cent annual increase in applications for college construction courses from 16 to 18-year-olds and a 25 per cent increase from 19-year-olds.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) revealed that graduate applications were also improving with applications to building courses increasing by 16 per cent from last year up until the middle of January 2004.

The TV advert will be accompanied by adverts on buses, youth websites, through media relations and a programme of UK-wide events and visits to schools and colleges.

Further information can be found on www.bconstructive.co.uk.

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