How did you develop into your current role?
Construction frequently faces a shortage of skills, a lack of good people – why? There are usually new graduates from colleges and university who cannot find a job. There also seems to be an unlimited number of jobless unskilled people. It’s not that there is a lack of people available, they just don’t have much, if any, experience, skills or both.
Nevertheless, the construction industry expects to find skilled and experienced people whenever their projects require them. Construction companies are poor at mentoring and training people. Many apprenticeship programs have been dismantled, and those that are still available are poorly utilized, and recently qualified people from them don’t always find a job.
Those of us that have reached management positions in construction usually did so through hard work, and sometimes a little luck. But none of us would have got to where we are if we hadn’t been employed when we had no experience and few skills. None of us would have been there if we hadn’t been offered opportunities to grow and develop – yes, we frequently had to grab those opportunities with both hands and work our way through them with hard work. But, none of us would have reached our management positions if we weren’t aided, mentored and trained by our managers and those that worked with us. I didn’t magically get my knowledge from nowhere, and there was certainly no internet in my day. Books can only give you so much – for the rest I relied on good supervisors and project managers. I am sure my questions exhausted them and I’m sure my mistakes irritated them – but their training, patience, and perseverance paid off and I became a valuable asset to them and the company.
So why is there a lack of skilled people in construction?Centuries ago people used to aspire to become good craftsmen – whether it was a stone mason or a carpenter. These days craftspeople and tradespeople are sometimes looked down upon – and yet, where would we be without a good plumber or competent electrician? Why should society denigrate any trade or occupation?
Construction is a cyclical industry and often there isn’t job security. People in the industry frequently lose their job – not because they weren’t capable, but only because of the work dried-up. Companies become bankrupt and people are left without a job – sometimes owed for several weeks’ work.
There is a lack of commitment by construction companies to provide training and experience to new recruits. Newly qualified construction graduates are left jobless because they don’t have practical experience. Who wants to work in an industry that is crying out for experienced people and yet doesn’t want to provide the experience.
Construction usually demands arduous work, long hours, sometimes in difficult weather conditions, and workers are frequently expected to work far from home. The pay and rewards often don’t warrant working these hours and conditions.
The industry does a poor job at promoting itself, or the career paths and opportunities that may exist in the industry. Often people get into the construction industry as a last resort because they couldn’t find anything else to do.
Why don’t construction companies train and mentor people?
Construction companies are notoriously poor at training people. Companies are reluctant to employ and train new graduates, preferring to search for skilled experienced people, who often aren’t available, are expensive, or aren’t always the quality person the company thought they were employing. In desperation, many construction companies resort to employing mediocre people that can’t really do the job properly and who often tarnish the company’s reputation and cost the company money.
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'Successful Construction Project Management: The Practical Guide'
'Building a Successful Construction Company: The Practical Guide'
'Construction Claims: A Short Guide for Contractors'
'Construction Project Management: Tips and Insights'
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