One of the most memorable times when I was young was working in a team constructing the M58 motorway near Skelmersdale in the late 1970s.
I learned valuable skills and made life-long friends as part of a team of skilled professionals who took pride in their work. Every time I drive along it I say, “I helped build this”.
While my motorway building exploits are somewhat different to my work since, such as establishing Red or Dead, I have been lucky enough to work alongside construction professionals throughout my career.
Through my current work at HemmingwayDesign, I have worked with hundreds of professionals and between us we have influenced the skylines of Gateshead,
Dartford, Manchester, Bournemouth, King’s Lynn, and Whitehaven among others.
They have taught me that seeing something built as a result of your endeavours is one of the most satisfying things a human can do.
I have also come to realise that much of the creative industries, a British success story that I am proud to be a part of, would be nothing without people to manifest these creative concepts.
That is why I am so passionate about the Go Construct campaign. Too often working in construction is seen as something negative, a fall-back career or what you end up doing if you don’t work hard enough at school.
Those ideas are an insulting caricature to those who shape and craft the world around us.
From infrastructure projects that improve people’s lives such as London’s Crossrail, or vital services such as the new Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, construction workers made them with skill, pride and professionalism.
“If we can’t find the thousands of people we need then our economic and cultural growth as a nation will be disastrously curtailed”
Construction is on the precipice of skills armageddon fuelled by these negative stereotypes that put people off considering a career in the industry.
I am also especially pleased that the Go Construct site highlights the fact that working in construction doesn’t just mean working on building sites.
There are hundreds of vital roles that need filling including jobs in surveying, project management, cost control, BIM, design, as well as less obvious roles such as occupational health doctors and sustainability managers, all of which are crucial parts of the industry.
Go Construct comes at a crucial time. If we can’t find the thousands of people we need then our economic and cultural growth as a nation will be disastrously curtailed.
We need to help people understand what construction careers are really like in 2015 and how, regardless of your skills, background or qualifications, you can be part of a real British industrial success story, as well as helping shape our nation’s future.
That is why I am proud to support Go Construct.
Wayne Hemingway is co-founder of HemmingwayDesign and an ambassador for the Go Construct campaign launched by the CITB to attract young people into construction careers