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Van Elle deputy MD Vic Handley: construction is full of emotion

Vic Handley tells us that construction has the power to give you the best or worst days of your life - but that you will always have a sense of achievement.

How did you get into the industry?  

I qualified as a psychiatric nurse in the early 1970s. 

I had some friends in the construction industry who always had more money than me, and so, much to the disgust of my parents, I went to work as a labourer for GF Tomlinson in Derby. 

It was the best move I ever made. They’re a great company with great people that taught me how to do things right. 

I immediately fell in love with construction, but my psychiatric training has always stood me in good stead for dealing with some of the people I come across!

What is the best thing about construction? 

It is exciting and no two days are the same in construction. It’s full of emotion that can give you the best or worst days of your life – but it will always leave you with evidence of what you have achieved.

If you could change one thing what would it be?

The compensation and blame culture. It causes a resistance to change and risk, stifles innovation and increases costs through over-engineered solutions.   

How should we encourage young people to join the industry?

By somehow creating a more stable future protected against the ravages of cyclical recessions. 

We need to reinforce to young people that this is a great industry to be in, that it can teach you skills that are in demand worldwide and that it’s an industry where you can see the fruits of your labour for decades and say ‘I helped build that’.

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