Mike Nelson of Bison Manufacturing talks about projects, standardisation and increasing opportunities for school and college leavers.
How did you get into the industry?
On leaving school I was keen on a career in surveying. I entered college and undertook a BTEC Diploma in Building Studies followed by an honours degree in Quantity Surveying and Construction Economics at the University of Salford.
My degree course included a year in industry – I joined Tarmac Construction in the Midlands and was site based, re-joining them following my graduation.
I joined Bison in 1997 and have never considered any other industry.
What is the best thing about construction?
Being involved with iconic projects that you can be proud of that are in the built environment for years to come.
Here at Bison, for example, we’ve been involved in everything from Heathrow Airport to Wembley and a range of other projects across several sectors – and it’s great to see the finished result and know you’ve been involved in the creation process.
If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be?
I’d like to see increased standardisation right across the sector in terms of design, production, construction methods, and contractual arrangements to eliminate waste, improve productivity and provide a better service to the UK as a whole.
How should we encourage young people to join the industry?
The industry must provide increased opportunities for school and college leavers, and graduates.
To encourage more youngsters in I think that influential people in the industry should engage more with these organisations and hold face-to-face discussions with young people to make them more aware of the opportunities that exist.
We have apprentices at our sites that benefit greatly from working with our more experienced members of staff – some of whom have been with the business for 45 years.
Our apprentices undertake day release at local colleges and are undertaking NVQ qualifications whilst gaining valuable experience – something which we’re keen to grow in the coming years.
Mike Nelson is sales and commercial manager at Bison Manufacturing