Get involved if you want to improve construction’s curriculum

Steve Turner urges his peers to take action in helping shape the next generation of construction professionals.

As someone who has now clocked up in excess of 40 years in construction, passed my practical (medal winner of CMYA 1996) and theory (medal winner of the CMX exams 2006), I am of a mind that I want to give back to the next generation and am really proud to be heading up learning and development in the company that I am a director of.

As an SME in Kent we punch above our weight, but it is challenging with limited resources to make connections and know where to start to help others.

Connecting with schools

We are lucky that Kent County Council has put resources into Guild groups to enable industry to engage with schools and colleges. But it is down to us as industry players to make those connections, to let them know what a varied and exciting world construction can offer young people.

“It was interesting reading the first year’s course modules, which sounded so out of touch with what we in industry find significant.”

Steve Turner, Baxall Construction

We are up against a perception that construction is only open to those that are good with their hands, and it is disappointing to hear both parents and teachers steer the ‘underperformers’ towards construction rather than the bright high-performing achievers.

Putting BIM on the curriculum

Two years ago I was offered the opportunity to assist a leading London university as an external examiner. I was unsure of what was required of me and how I could help out – especially working remotely during the pandemic.

But the head of department made it all sound straightforward when he said: “We are trying to make sure that the students leave university ‘oven ready’, Steve.”

So it was interesting reading the first year’s course modules, which sounded so out of touch with what we in industry find significant. There was no mention of today’s issues: BIM, biophilic design, modern methods of construction.

I shared my views and the year two syllabus is much more aligned with industry issues. It felt very rewarding to have made a difference.

So, if you too are feeling you want to give something back to our industry, don’t do it sitting down – you have to get involved at a personal level. Well, what’s stopping you?

Steve Turner is contracts director at Baxall Construction.

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