As I reflect on 2021, I remember an article published that looked at the release of new futureproofing industry qualifications launched by Pagabo and ProQual. I’m pleased to say that I was part of the group that influenced what these qualifications should include.

During the early stages of last year, Pagabo looked for industry professionals interested in joining its The Future of Construction initiative. As someone who is very passionate about getting more people into the construction industry, I jumped at the opportunity to be involved.  

I entered the construction industry around five years ago after working within marketing teams for several other industries. I can honestly say that due to the lack of industry representation at the time, while at university it was the last industry I considered I would find myself working in. My thoughts, like many others, were that it’s for men and only involves ‘dirty’ site work.

Around four years after graduating, I started looking for a new challenge and a way in which I could diversify my marketing skills. I was approached by a building services consultancy that offered a significant opportunity for me to progress my career, so I thought I would give it a go. I haven’t looked back since! Without this consultancy, I doubt I would have been able to focus my career on business development as this was not my background. However, my potential was recognised and I was offered training and opportunities to ensure I was doing what I really enjoyed. I don’t believe that every industry out there will give you this chance.

My biggest frustration is that from school to university - and even at home - I was never shown what opportunities lie within construction and that almost all career paths can be developed within this industry. I feel embarrassed that I didn’t know what building services was and never spared a thought that there are consulting engineers, project managers, quantitative surveyors and so on whose jobs are mostly office-based and do not involve wearing a hard hat all day long. If I was exposed to this environment sooner, I may have gone down a different career path.

This is why I always jump at the opportunity to promote the industry to schools, colleges and students. I really want to inspire young people and showcase what the industry has to offer. I have served on boards with Derby University and Nottingham College and expressed my opinion on how they should promote the industry to students, so when I saw Pagabo launching its initiative, I knew it was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss.

Around March 2021, I was accepted into Pagabo’s The Future of Construction working group. I met other professionals from companies such as Faithful+Gould, ISG, Skanska, BakerHicks, Turner and Townsend, WSP, Morgan Sindall Construction, Graham and Sypro. We started with a discussion about how to change the narrative surrounding construction so that it’s seen as a life of careers and not a career for life. We collectively identified a number of key issues when it comes to construction skills. This included the lack of soft skills training within the industry, a lack of preparation of future skills, a lack of qualifications that are suitable for all levels, and a lack of training that can be delivered digitally.

The result was a new set of qualifications for the construction industry, focused on futureproofing and preparing for the changes that digital transformation will bring to the sector.

We assisted Pagabo in creating brand-new qualifications and training programmes that support new workers and ensure that the existing workforce is able to upskill and reskill where appropriate.

The qualifications are aimed at all levels, from trainee through to senior management, and are accredited by Ofqual. The study process encompasses a variety of assessment methods and supporting evidence requirements, which can include observation, witness testimonies, activity logs, written questions and professional discussions.

I’m so proud of what we have been able to achieve in such a short amount of time. Creating official qualifications that have been through testing with more than 20 volunteers is no mean feat. 100 per cent of those involved reported that the skills learnt through the qualifications will feed into their current job roles and will also ensure they feel equipped for future positions too.

I’m looking forward to continuing to work with the industry group this year and developing more qualifications that will be available for schools and colleges. With this approach, we will be able to showcase the huge variety of career options the construction industry holds, capture engaged and enthused students during their studies and bring them into the industry of the future.

Further reading - New futureproofing industry qualifications launched by Pagabo and Proqual | TheBusinessDesk.com