President's Page December 2018

President's Page December 2018 Image


Dear Members,

It’s been an extremely busy month since my last presidential page, and it’s good to see that many of our members are also very busy. Autumn has definitely arrived, and as I am writing this report I am on a return flight to the UK after joining with both Gavin Dunn and Tony Ginda in representing the CABE at the 2nd annual CABE Conference in San Francisco, and my report on this will form a separate page in the Journal. 

In leaving San Francisco we had some serious concern over our return flight and its departure, as the spread of fires in California were advancing quite fast and the smoke and smog on approach to the airport was so thick we obviously assumed we would be grounded until this could be clearer, but luckily we managed to depart safely and on time. At this time, the news reports were indicating 22 lives lost, but we all now know this has sadly increased.

Awareness of mental health issues in the construction industry 

I noted with interest our Vice-President Jayne Hall’s page in the last month’s journal and the issues surrounding mental health and the wellbeing in our industry. Jayne was correct in acknowledging the response to Kevin Fear’s powerful presentation at our national conference, and I believe that Kevin has since been in demand to highlight this concern at other industry events. In echoing Jayne’s comments, the awareness of mental health issues in the construction industry is increasing daily and recent research commissioned by Public Health England in 2017 revealed that there were more suicides in construction than in any other profession in the five years prior to the end of 2015, and the figures which cover people in England aged between 20 and 64 showed there were 1,419 suicides in construction and building trades from 2011 to 2015 – 1,409 were men and ten were women.

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has now set aside £500,000 to train 156 construction workers as mental health first aid instructors in a bid to improve mental health in the British construction industry, and the MHFA England’s Workplace Wellbeing toolkit contains useful resources to help us all in understanding that wellbeing is taken seriously, and by sharing our experiences, attitudes and resources we can all help in managing better our mental health initiatives, wellbeing strategies and education for all to recognise the signs. CABE is now developing associated presentations to encourage individuals to embed healthy habits as part of their daily routines and to recognise the signs that a colleague or family member might be struggling with their mental health. We should all feel confident in offering reassurance or signposting to further support, and it’s important that all members in senior positions are mindful of their own wellbeing and that they champion healthy behaviours in their working environments. Well done, Jayne, for highlighting this and I fully support the CABE directive in addressing this issue.

Collaborating and promoting CABE 

PP Dec 18I’ve mentioned many times throughout my presidency that Collaboration reinforces and promotes the highest professional standards, and how this can work to achieve shared goals. This participation and engagement has taken me on numerous travels over the past few weeks, starting with the 100% Hackitt Building a safer future at the Palace of Westminster, and a variety of speakers gave interesting presentations following Dame Judith Hackett’s key note address. This address was very much the same as at our conference but in a reduced format, but I was particularly interested in the following presentations from other key professionals and MPs on the same agenda. It’s clear that the messages coming out were first discussed at our conference and it’s pleasing to hear the plaudits being directed to the growth and direction of our Association from industry colleagues.PP Dec 18

My next visit was to CABE HQ to attend the Panel Training day where many members had come forward to train as interviewers. Ken Ewing and I supported the membership team and delivered key presentations during the day and also provided role play scenarios on the interview process. It provided an opportunity to discuss the existing competency framework, and the revised framework to meet with the engineering council’s requirements, and by providing this training event it enables a consistency across all future interview processes.

My next visit was to the Eastern Region designeng conference which was well attended with over 60 members present and a variety of industry speakers and exhibitors. As always, it’s great to attend my own regional events and it was a pleasure to deliver the keynote presentation on Safer Together, a presentation which addresses our industry core values and the framework controls from conception through to completion, which was one of my objectives to address during my presidency.

Unfortunately, feeling under the weather with flu symptoms and a burning throat, I had to leave earlier than anticipated but I am informed that it was a good event and the feedback was well received and encouragingly positive for the next event in 2019 

My next venture was with Gavin Dunn and Tony Ginda to our USA Chapter in San Francisco. Their 2nd annual conference was being held and as our chapter and membership continues to grow Tony Ginda and I provided some panel training to members, with Gavin providing an oversight of CABE’s strategic five-year plan, and clearly the progress in the USA is expanding.

In closing I am now preparing for the inaugural CABE – APS Conference in London on 14 November and I am confident that this, like similar events, will become an industry recognised event that will grow, allowing our members to hear from a wide range of industry professionals year after year. This will form part of my report for the December journal but until next month stay busy and healthy and remember to be mindful of your own stress levels and personal wellbeing.

Until next month,

Best regards






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