As we sit here today the industry has a decision to make. Does it embrace the digital revolution available to us through BIM, 3d printing, sensors, VR and everything else you hear about every day or do we continue to move forward in the same way we’ve always done?
Do we start to think of ourselves as a service industry and concentrate on outcomes and the needs of our end users? Or continue to be slightly insular and short termed in our thinking?
There are plenty of questions and plenty of concerns about making this happen, a key one being are we ready for it?
We see a lot in today’s press about the skills shortage that our industry is suffering from and how with current trends it’s possibly going to get worse.
What we see much less of is the consideration that the shortage is in skills that may not be needed and a worse shortage is in the skills we’ll need in 5-10+ years and really as an industry we haven’t started thinking about this in any great detail.
A clear move away from a number of traditional skills and trades will be needed as the industry embraces technology in its fullest, the use and evaluation of open and big data will lead to smart cities and embracing offsite and 3d printing will change the way we build.
Traditional professions such as procurement, quantity surveying, cost control, architects, planners all need to be taught how to integrate their information with BIM models as we move towards digital built Britain.
On site we will still need carpenters and bricklayers, plumbers and electricians but more and more they will be assembling and bringing together large panels built offsite. My inner child hopes it’ll be very much like Lego on a much larger complex scale! Maybe not so many bright colours though!
If you consider that the graduates in 5-10 years are already in the midst of GCSEs, and as current trends show us have possibly decided against construction how are we going to cope with these new and ever increasing requirements?
Worse still many of those currently in or considering construction related further education could be learning a skill set that will be slightly redundant upon arrival in the industry!
The digital revolution will create new roles such as
- Data scientists
- Information Managers
- Programmers and coders
- Social media experts
- Virtual reality technicians
- 3D printing operatives
- BIM technicians
- Drone and robot operatives
But who will we have to fill these roles?
Is our education and training provision going to change and adapt quick enough to allow us to fully exploit the opportunity in front of us?
What we need to understand is that if we do not begin to roll out and update our current education provisions we will miss the boat on the skills we require, our burning platform to embrace a new and better way of doing things will pass us by and we’ll continue to dip our toe rather than jumping in to increased productivity and a more sustainable, value adding way of building.
We need a step change in our approach to education and need to appreciate and embrace the requirements of these new roles.
I have the pleasure of joining A Class of Your Own, CITB, BIM2050 and Laing O’Rourke at next week’s Digital Construction Week (http://digitalconstructionweek.com) to discuss the changing face of construction in the light of this continued digital evolution.
What role can the digital revolution of our industry play in gaining a more varied and diverse construction professional?
Beyond new talent how do we leverage and develop the expertise of our workforce?
Join us and hear our answer to these questions and I’m sure many more!
I highly recommend if you are interested in seeing some of the cutting edge technology and innovations out there, how it can help take construction forward and help our industry prosper, do come along and enjoy the line-up of excellent speakers and exhibitions lined up over the two days.
If you are concerned about your ability to embrace the digital revolution, and want to make sure your organisation is at the cutting edge of what this industry can do please get in touch.
We at Invennt can help you build a sustainable strategy for growth that ensures the right skills and technology is being used and embraced within your organisation. For further information contact Ben Pritchard at Ben.Pritchard@invennt.com or on 07961071166