Last night I attended an interesting and informative “The future green skill needs of the construction industry” Round Table discussion, hosted by The Guardian.
The panelists Mark Farrar, CITB, Brian Berry, FMB, David Bownass, WSP and Gareth Jones Carbon Zero UK, were chaired by Jane Dudman from the Guardian.
A full report of the round table will appear in the Guardian on 16th Nov, but here are my thoughts on construction green skills future needs
Understandably the attention and focus was on trade green skills and the green deal which Mark Farrar from CITB referred to as a ‘targeted hot spot’ for the industry.
And yet the need for green skills in construction will permeate to all levels and roles and is far wider than the Green Deal although this may well be the catalyst, even a trojan horse.
Leaders and directors will need the skills to be able to act as role models, embedding green thinking across the organisational value chain, to be able to look at all aspects of construction and the organisation, including the organisations future direction through a sustainability lens.
Unless construction board rooms have a green agenda, commitment to addressing organisational skill needs could be transient. (See A Low Carbon Diet for Construction Boards)
Those involved with procurement, finance and quantity surveying will need skills to balance costs and value with sustainability, appropriate sourcing and social localism issues, and, be able to make informed decisions
Site managers, planners and supervisors require skills to balance sustainable construction, lean construction, reduced waste, reduced carbon, understand closed loop resources with the time old juggle of bringing the project in to quality cost and time. All this along side understanding increasingly complex constructions and green installations.
At trade green skills level the panelists agreed on the need for multi-skilled, multi competent persons and approaches, all needing a new approach to supervision and planning.
Getting it right first time, a systems thinking approach to quality along with closed loop resource concepts remain alien to the bulk of construction practice, training and education.
The re-skilling of the industry looks like a mammoth task when one considers the training implications, again not only of trades but of under graduates, management courses and CPD from the institutions
The environment skills map drawn up by IEMA represents a useful approach to environmental management skills that in the main can be read across to construction management.
But green skills are not the only future skills required, as we move to BIM, IPM, Collaborative and Lean construction … We need to ask why has our training investment, training organisations, education systems and institutes not delivered the needed skills on the correct scale.
Sustainability has been on the agenda for at least a generation since Brundtlands Sustainability Development definition in 1987.
Its nothing new.
Back in 2007 Rob Hopkins in the Transition Handbook forecast –
In 2011, the Government initiated the concept of the Great Reskilling in the training of construction industry workers.
Are we nearly there?