‘Change Makers’ to outline vision for future of Scotland’s construction sector

Clockwise from top left: Mila Duncheva, Rory Doak, Aisling O’Reilly, and Emily Carr

A dozen young professionals from the built environment and construction sector have formed an alliance to help shape the industry’s future.

The Built Environment Change Makers are supported by Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) and comprise a mix of specialisms from architecture and design to project management, digital systems and research and development.

Launching at an online event on 28 October, the group will share their vision and set out the required actions to achieve it. They will be joined by the Scottish Government’s business minister Ivan McKee MSP.

The aim is to develop opportunities and build ‘resilience’ in the workforce, so that the sector can transform in a way that is ‘sustainable, inclusive and fair’. There will be a strong focus on collaboration.

Four priority areas have been identified: skills and career development; equality, diversity and inclusion; sustainability; and digitalisation. Initial actions proposed by the group include developing an online tool to raise awareness of career opportunities, greater support for work experience and internships, and a toolkit to boost collaboration between remote teams.

Mila Duncheva, lecturer in architectural technology at Edinburgh Napier University and chair of the Built Environment Change Makers, said, “Young people are typically an under-represented group at leadership level, yet there are fresh perspectives and ideas that could play an important role in shaping the future of the construction sector. We’re hoping to help change perceptions, improve diversity and help to tackle some of the skills gaps the sector faces in areas such as sustainability and digitalisation. Inter-generational collaboration across the industry could be a crucial tool in helping to address these challenges.

“At our launch event, and in the weeks that follow, we are aiming to open the door to collaboration and build relationships with other professionals to help accelerate the transformation needed to attract talent into the sector and create a welcoming working environment.”

Mila Duncheva will lead a facilitation team of four. The team also includes Rory Doak (project manager at Stora Enso Building Solutions), Aisling O’Reilly (from the Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability at the University of Edinburgh), and Emily Carr (architect and design manager at Kier).

Lisa Deane, head of programme performance at CSIC, added, “The construction sector is transforming and innovating at a rapid pace, both following the Covid-19 pandemic and in response to the climate emergency. We’re now looking to young people with drive, ambition and determination to help shape the industry’s future, ensuring insights from the next generation are brought to the table at such a pivotal time.

“The group has already connected with the Scottish Construction Leadership Forum and Construction Industry Training Board, and we’d encourage the rest of the sector to engage with them as far as possible to bring a valuable, fresh perspective to different areas of the industry.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the group is invited to join the launch event: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3561273500726647310