FROM THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
Life continues to be extremely busy, both in my office and visiting a number of planned events, all continuing with the theme of raising the Association’s profile, and it’s been interesting meeting with many members; discussing the progress of the CABE, their compliments or plaudits for the CEng progress and our significant growth both in the UK and internationally.
I recently had the opportunity, along with our CEO Gavin Dunn and David Ing of Fabrick (our marketing consultants), to visit our members in Malaysia and Singapore, where some great progress is being made; as there is also in Hong Kong – another area we are due to visit in March, and following this visit I will be able to provide our members a full update and report in the April journal of both events.
Firstly, I would like to add my congratulations to Stewart McArthur who from May this year will take up the Vice-Presidency reins. I am sure Stewart will be a success and carry out his role with warmth, direction and passion with the same enthusiasm he has provided over the past few years as a valuable Board member, and I wish him all the very best along with my full support for the four years ahead of his presidential journey. I am also pleased to congratulate Richard Flynn and Jake Simpson who have both been successfully elected as Board members for the next three years, and I‘m sure they will all provide invaluable member feedback to the continued growth of the CABE.
Growth: it’s such an important word, and it was one of my objectives to build upon during my presidential period. Throughout the past two years I have had the opportunity to visit and meet with many organisations, colleges, universities and professional bodies, and both growth and industry collaboration throughout that time has been proficient on all levels. However, whilst we continue to collaborate on a great platform, growth at student level and schools remains a challenge, as many do not see our industry as now being sexy enough to be a part of.
It was recently quoted that from 2010 to 2020, 430,000 in our industry will retire¹, and with one in eight members now over 60 and our impending exit from the EU, we have a serious issue ensuring and maintaining a skill base for the years ahead. Retaining, motivating and improving the skills of those already in our industry, and attracting and developing the skills and growth for the future will remain a challenge, an investment and a journey that we all need to recognise, encourage and develop so as to see more young people becoming industry professionals, and industry has to step in to make up the classroom shortfall by offering some inspiring opportunities, investing more and engaging more; taking the many attractive and varied opportunities to the younger generation for them to contemplate and evaluate a building engineer career. The kids of today are the Building Engineers of tomorrow and we should all help to encourage the younger generations to become involved.
There are 167 different career options in construction; and the built environment is the second biggest employer in the country after the NHS, but the younger generations and students still perceive our industry as ‘challenging and unexciting’. It’s imperative if we’re to solve our industry image and housing crisis that we need our young people to help, but first we need to increase interest and awareness of the diverse opportunities that our industry has to offer; and we all have a serious amount of work to do in promoting ourselves if we’re ever going to fill the substantial gaps in our skills base and make the industry more appealing to the younger generations.
Collaborating and Promoting CABE
I’ve continued to meet with many industry bodies and develop some collaborative ventures, but a small number of certain professional bodies still consider open collaboration to be a closed door and regard it as some kind of threat or plan to access their inner secrets of industry progression, but as they promote the importance of collaboration I question their actual belief in its intent. However, our Association has a positive ethos, clear goals and strong ambitions and was founded with the principal objectives to share our knowledge and encourage and facilitate co-operation between our members and the professions, and this we continue to do on a great scale.
Many of you have heard me say on numerous occasions that we are a member Association, run by members for the benefit of members, and we are certainly instilling a positive contribution in collaborating with many professions and society. Our members are doing a fantastic job in developing these close relationships and I hope this continues over the many years to follow.
In visiting Singapore this prevented me from visiting many regions for their AGMs, and I appreciate this has been a busy time for our regional members. Congratulations to members who continue to serve our regional committees, and congratulations to those members who have become newly involved with your regional colleagues. A big thank you also to those members who have now decided to step down from regional activity; your support and efforts are always greatly appreciated.
My fist visit was to the Southern region AGM where our CEO Gavin Dunn and I were able to provide an update on CABE’s progress, and the five-year strategy which the Board have put in place for Gavin to develop. Michael Wadood, the Southern Regional Chairman, delivered a very interesting presentation on What have we learnt from past fires and I’m sure you can imagine this raised much debate. It was also a pleasure to welcome along Anthony Oloyede LABC VP who is a valued supporter of the CABE and provides numerous CPD opportunities through his office at Hillingdon Council in London.
My next visit was to the Eastern Region AGM where over 40 members were in attendance. A great evening commenced with a tour of the Greene King Brewery and whilst members were still sober in thought? FAKRO UK then delivered a very interesting presentation on contemporary rooflight glazing. The evening finished with some excellent food and great ‘sober’ networking, and obviously the clear message to the other regions is ‘Alcohol is a fantastic attraction for enticing member growth at regional events’. This was a fantastic evening and certainly one for the region to try and better for next year.
My final visit was to the Board meeting in February. This was my final meeting as chairman and after a two year period I am happily now ready to support our new chairman come the next meeting in June! Over to you, Mr Burd!
On that note it’s time for me switch off and I look forward to seeing many of you very shortly.
Until next month (two more to go.. !!)
¹All Party Parliamentary Group report Building on Brexit: How leaving the EU must drive modernisation and training in the built environment July 2017