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Future construction leaders team up to accelerate industry change

by Sion Geschwindt
Future construction leaders team up to accelerate industry change

A group of 12 young built environment professionals have joined forces to help shape a more sustainable, inclusive, and fair industry.

The Built Environment Change Makers are supported by Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC), and represent a collective of professionals from across the full building life cycle – from architecture and design to project management, digital systems and research and development.

At an online event on 28 October, the consortium will share their vision for the future of the sector and set out the required actions to achieve it.

They will be joined by Ivan McKee MSP, Scotland’s Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise.

Collaboration is at the top of the group’s agenda, with plans to connect with the industry and work with leaders to share the perspectives of young people coming into the sector.

Four priority areas have been identified – skills and career development; equality, diversity and inclusion; sustainability and digitalisation.

Initial actions proposed by the Built Environment Change Makers include developing an online tool to raise awareness of career opportunities, greater support for work experience and internships, and a toolkit for better collaboration between remote teams.

The group’s chair, Mila Duncheva, is one of four core members who will oversee future plans and coordinate upcoming activities.

This leadership core also includes Rory Doak, a project manager at Stora Enso Building Solutions Aisling O’Reilly, from the department for social responsibility and sustainability at the University of Edinburgh and Emily Carr, architect and design manager at Kier.

‘Change perceptions, improve diversity and tackle skills gaps’

Mila Duncheva, lecturer in architectural technology at Edinburgh Napier University and chair of the Built Environment Change Makers, said: “Young people are typically an under-represented group at leadership level, yet there are fresh perspectives and ideas that could play an important role in shaping the future of the construction sector.

“We’re hoping to help change perceptions, improve diversity and help to tackle some of the skills gaps the sector faces in areas such as sustainability and digitalisation.

“Inter-generational collaboration across the industry could be a crucial tool in helping to address these challenges.

“At our launch event, and in the weeks that follow, we are aiming to open the door to collaboration and build relationships with other professionals to help accelerate the transformation needed to attract talent into the sector and create a welcoming working environment.”

Lisa Deane, head of programme performance at CSIC, added: “The construction sector is transforming and innovating at a rapid pace, both following the Covid-19 pandemic and in response to the climate emergency.

“We’re now looking to young people with drive, ambition and determination to help shape the industry’s future, ensuring insights from the next generation are brought to the table at such a pivotal time.

“The group has already connected with the Scottish Construction Leadership Forum and Construction Industry Training Board, and we’d encourage the rest of the sector to engage with them as far as possible to bring a valuable, fresh perspective to different areas of the industry.”

Image Credit: Construction Scotland Innovation Centre

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