David Fenton, marketing director at Jewson, tells us why he loves construction.
How did you get into the industry?
My first job after graduating was on the road selling power tools, so I have always had an interest in the construction industry.
Subsequently I did a variety of sales and marketing roles with that company for over 15 years which gave me a broad exposure to the industry from D.I.Y to trade. I’ve also had a lot of fun in the process.
What is the best thing about construction?
One thing - that’s a tough question. I would say people. From an industry perspective it is satisfying for us to be able to add value to customers who are constructing or reconstructing buildings and communities where people spend most of their time.
We have hundreds of thousands of customers talking to us or in our branches or to our sales teams on a regular basis and we have thousands of colleagues helping to service those customers.
No two working days are ever the same and the chance to engage with such a diverse range of people with different backgrounds and experiences is extremely stimulating.
If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be?
I think it’s the profile. The aim of the industry should be to provide appropriate environments for people to flourish - whether it’s a self-build project, a renovation, a new school or a whole new community.
We are there to help support those who build and create - but actually the real benefits come afterwards.
When people relax in their new home or when children can learn more effectively in a school as a result of the advanced materials and holistic construction then we truly see the fruits of our labour and this is what should be better promoted.
People often aren’t aware of all the work that goes into creating a sustainable building or a refurbishment, and the new innovations that are available.
How should we encourage young people to join the industry?
I think we need to get better as an industry at embracing new technology to enable us to communicate effectively with younger people. We have recently expanded the graduate, management trainee and apprentice programmes here at Jewson and the talent is exciting.
They bring energy, ideas and creativity and we can help them through training, coaching and development. Its win-win and companies need to realise this and give younger people a chance.
The industry provides fantastic career opportunities where people can enter at any level and rise to the top (based on skills and experience). For me it’s similar to a successful football team - you need a blend of youth and experience; you need some strikers and defenders - and you need the ability to replace team members who leave or retire with fresh and appropriately skilled talent.
David Fenton is marketing director at Jewson