Showcasing digital careers in construction
The UK is facing one of its biggest skills shortages for decades. Demand for professionals with digital skills is growing at pace and this shortfall may be compounded by Brexit. This concern has led to the UK Government setting aside a £500 million funding pot to help plug the skills gap post Brexit.
The 2017 UK Digital Strategy states: if we want to prosper, and provide more opportunities for young people to get involved in a digitally-driven economy, we must ensure everyone has the skills they need to flourish, with nobody left behind.
Technology is evolving rapidly and influencing almost every major industry. Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and the true beginning of ‘The Internet of Everything’ are just some of the trends shaping our future. As a marketer, I see the emergence of new technology as an exciting opportunity to reach more customers across an abundance of channels.
In the construction industry, we’re constantly evolving. Looking at new ways to automate and innovate in the way we use digital technology and skills to improve our projects.
Digital Construction is embedded within the very fabric of what we do. From using Building Information Modelling (BIM) to design and manage buildings, harnessing virtual and augmented reality to help customers visualise developments, to using drones for site surveys and buildings, and implementing 360-degree technology to produce construction mission rooms.
With this vast need for digitally skilled professionals who can implement these technologies, how can businesses win the talent battle? For me, it has to start with education.
Darren Carter, Marketing Manager, Morgan Sindall
We’ve seen the rise of millennials raised on digital technology, but we now look to Generation Z, who will expect to immerse themselves in new technologies that continually improve and automate their working experience.
But a native aptitude is not enough. We need to ensure that from the earliest age, pupils know what digital careers are available, and how these link to their curriculum.
That’s where organisations like Futures are important: a careers advice, employment training and apprenticeships service, based in Nottingham.
As a delivery partner on SCAPE’s Regional Construction framework, we were invited to Future’s Digital Skills Show – an event enabling Morgan Sindall to reach out to students, showcasing the very best of digital careers in our industry.
The day kicked off with an overview on the array of digital careers available. Using the Richard III Visitor Centre – a scheme delivered by Morgan Sindall through the empa framework, where historians were brought in to scan the King’s bones, and digitally rebuild his face for display in the centre.
More than 180 pupils from four schools across Nottingham came together to experience and engage in activities including 3D printing and virtual reality games.
Representing the construction sector, our BIM Implementation Manager for the Midlands, Sean Bloomfield connected his career pathway with the subject choices students are making right now; helping to open their eyes to the possibilities of apprenticeships and graduate programmes in digital construction.
Using our partners’ Mission Room, we were able to provide students with an immersive showcase of digital skills needed in construction. Surrounded by Mission Room’s 360-degree media and display walls, the students were plunged into real life construction projects. They experienced how safety and technical analyses can be made using 360-degree cameras, and how BIM models allow design decisions to be developed. The experience also demonstrated how virtual and augmented reality can be used to assist with planning decisions and logistics strategies.
The UK Commission for Employment and Skills Report identified that 1.2 million digital and creative skilled workers will be needed by 2022. While ostensibly a skills gap, the optimist in me sees the opportunity. There will be a plethora of well-paid, rewarding digital careers available to those with the skills to flourish in them. The challenge for the UK is to ensure we have the curriculum, modern school facilities and strong industry-academic links to ensure no one is left behind.
Darren CarterMarketing Manager
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