Construction leadership and a vision for the future – how can the next generation help shape the industry we need to create the future we want?Tuesday 2 January
At times the issues that face the construction industry can seem daunting: the skills gaps, staff retention, housing costs, a lack of collaboration, and attitudes to housing quality, sustainability and building performance. Numerous reviews have highlighted these problems over the years, and some of these issues have been put into even sharper focus following the Grenfell Tower tragedy. What is increasingly clear is that, if we want to achieve a shared, positive vision for the future, we need to take action now.
Fortunately, there seems to be a real shift in focus on the construction industry currently. One only needs look at the recent announcement of £170 million in the Transforming Construction programme through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, and the release of the sector deal. Moreover, many young people in the industry want to help generate positive change. However, at a stage when they are starting out in their careers and concentrating on progressing in their companies, it can be difficult for young professionals to see how they can have an influence on wider scale issues.
Yet there are many questions for our industry that need a fresh perspective and new leadership. These include:
- Can we create an industry that is more collaborative and which understands the long term value of the assets that we are delivering?
- How can we embrace technology and use it to influence our processes and outputs to improve productivity and quality?
- How do we drive demand for more sustainable projects and, if that demand is lacking, how much responsibility do we take ourselves as professionals?
It is clear that we need to encourage and involve the next generation in these discussions now, if we are to meet the challenges of the future head on.
But it is all our responsibility to ensure that the next generation is inspired by and sees construction as an industry of choice – one which is better-performing and more attractive to someone driven by quality, innovation, and sustainability.
At ecobuild we will be putting this into focus by hosting a debate led by young professionals to engage them with the future of the industry and to champion their views. Figures from ‘the establishment’ will also be on hand to listen to their opinions and suggestions, while offering responses and pledges to act.
After all, it is clear that we need to act now to start delivering a sustainable future – one which achieves more than we have achieved in the last few decades.