The Construction Minister met students yesterday (Thursday 3 March) to explore the future of the built environment and how workforce skills and supply challenges can be tackled, at an event in Northamptonshire.
The Construction Future Skills event, at Moulton College, saw innovators and contractors demonstrate to the next generation how AI, automation, robotics, and other technologies are changing the way we construct.
Supported by Constructing Excellence (CE) Midlands and the National Federation of Builders (NFB), the exhibition saw Stepnell, Kier Group, Flannery Plant, Talentview Construction, Ridge and Oculo, among others, showcase some of the latest construction technology on the market.
Speaking after his visit to the Construction Future Skills event, Construction Minister Lee Rowley, said: “Delivering a skilled, vibrant workforce for the construction sector is absolutely essential, so it was fantastic to see the enthusiasm of the students to learn about careers in construction and test the latest innovations at Moulton College.
Their talent and creativity will enable the sector to continue to drive economic growth and sustainability. This is why through the Construction Leadership Council we are implementing a Skills Plan with the aim of improving access to construction careers and showcasing their benefits.”
During the event, industry decision makers and educators also met to establish how the sector would bring about real change to evolve the industry and shape tomorrow’s skillsets, while looking at how they can help prepare young people with the skills to enter construction.
Moulton College Principal & CEO Corrie Harris said: “Our construction industry is always adapting and improving and is embracing innovation faster than ever. At Moulton College, we are in a privileged position to help nurture and grow the sector’s talent coming through, while also speaking to employers regularly about what their current and future skills needs are – so today has been a unique way to bring those two groups together.
“We have had inspiring discussion, topical debate, learning and networking, with high energy from guests and exhibitors who came together to share experiences and learning around how the sector is evolving and the workforce it needs to drive that change.”
The event consisted of two parts, an exhibition to showcase new technologies and a workshop focused on establishing the hard and soft skills construction needs for the future – while exploring how best to deliver them.
Exhibitors at the event included 360safeVR with their immersive film and behavioural change programmes, Software-as-a-Service platform for Building Information Modelling 3D Repo; KOREC Construction and their mixed reality headset and augmented reality solution, Flannery Plant’s plant simulator, digital construction solution Oculo; geo-spatial technology specialists Ridge & Partners; leading regional construction business Stepnell; free-to-use platform for apprenticeships, traineeships and work experience in construction, Talentview Construction (TVC); Tenstar and their machinery and training tools simulator, and Winvic and their virtual reality health and safety training.
James Gregory, Strategic Business Manager at 3D Repo sharing his experience of the event said: “It’s been great to engage with like-minded people and the next generation in construction.
They’re coming into a different construction industry – one that’s pushing the boundaries in efficiency and sustainability, and I look forward to seeing the changes they bring when I’m considered the ‘older generation’.”
Emma Alderman, CSR Manager at Winvic commented: “We have really enjoyed attending Moulton College’s Future Construction Skills event today, showcasing how technology is used in construction, demonstrating Winvic’s BIM and our VR Health and Safety programme based on gaming technology. Winvic’s head office is based at Moulton Park in Northampton, so it’s been great to talk to students from across the region to showcase what a vibrant, exciting industry construction is with a huge range of opportunities and great earning potential.
We recognise that having a diverse workforce is important to the future of the industry and so Winvic is dedicated to helping tackle future skills shortages by inspiring the next generation, proactively promoting the sector, and encouraging diversity. Through our blog on our website, we feature insights into the different roles available.”