With the Scottish Construction Industry said to be ‘on the cusp of a genuine change’ in terms of the well needed shedding of its old-fashioned image. Can this mean it will become a more attractive and viable career option for a new and diverse generation of workers, those needing flexible arrangements but also those with a more modern outlook? Perhaps this will be fuelled by the incentive of many main contractors offering a hybrid home and office style of working. In practical terms however – how can this be achieved?
Collaboration, sustainability, digitalisation, modern methods of construction, lean processes, resourcing problems, and supply chain resilience are the current aims and issues in Scottish construction – achieving all of this at a time when the clouds of Grenfell, Brexit, climate change, skills shortages and COVID19 are still looming is a heightened challenge.
The answer is going to be putting people first…then the wider challenges will fall into place more easily. People work with and for people, and human relationships are forged on trust, loyalty, honesty and integrity. Regardless of the attraction of the role and company; a major or specific project attraction, joining a well-known team or the stability of a blue-chip corporate giant or it may be the less predictable, entrepreneurial nature of a local subcontractor. Most importantly, for good people to stay and to attract the right talent, the cultural umbrella created by leaders and employers must be positive, progressive, inclusive and encouraging.
Having the right emphasis and structure for safe construction, the right attitudes and outlook towards supporting a growing workforce, career development, technical advances (MMC, BIM etc) is fundamental. Alongside the right environment to create best practice, knowledge sharing and considerate contracting. Doing the right thing by people, in the right way, is the right foundation to which we can all build change and a cultural shift.
A happier and more contented modern workforce is central to productivity and ultimately – success. This must be the only way to further the attractiveness of the industry – to move forward in a collaborative, sustainable way, to secure the entry of people into the industry and to secure success.