At the end of what must be the most disappointing week personally I’ve had in recent years, it was a joy and a delight to be involved in the judging of the Construction News Rising Star awards 2018 in London.
I was a late substitute for her majesty Alison Watson MBE who had gone to the Palace to seal the deal.
We listened to 12 young-ish people present and answer questions on “How to make construction more appealing to future generations.” At least they were all younger than me anyway!!! :o)
I think I was in awe.
I have rarely seen such selfless passion, and enthusiasm in a group of people all collected together. These young women and men were all truly amazing. And picking a winner was very very hard. It would be unfair to mention anyone by name they were all magnificent.
No spoilers here. But a few things resonated with me.
Whilst we talk about generational labels and stereotypes, there is some reality. The attitudes these young people have are very different, much more about having a bigger purpose, having value and making a difference.
We can argue and discuss about industry transformation as much as we like. We can consider the skills shortage, ageing demographics, left field tech entrants to the industry and much more.
And the timescale? 5 years? 10 years? A generation? Who cares really. It struck me with young people like this at the helm of organisations and businesses within a few years the future of the industry will be in safe hands. In fact if it was left to me I’d accelerate the process!
Timescale is perhaps irrelevant.
However the certainty of the inevitable end result is. As Gen Y and Gen Z come through into positions of leadership, they will be the change, they will push for the change and they will not accept anything less than full across the board transformation – the lot, technology, work life balance, diversity and inclusion, safety, sustainability, working practises and environments.
So I guess really we all have a choice. Head for the hills and find a bunker in the vain hope it will pass you by and blow over?
Me? I’m waiting with open arms and a broad smile because they will finish the job that lots of people like me have started. We can continue to help it along but there will soon be a passing of the baton to a generation with even more energy, enthusiasm, commitment, passion and sheer bloody mindedness.
Watch out! They’re coming!