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"We should remember that working in construction is a good thing"

Pellings chairman Richard Claxton talks about how the exciting times are returning to construction and that the industry should be proud of its achievements.

Q. How did you get into the industry?

A. By accident. I was good with figures but didn’t want to be an accountant as I thought it would be far too boring.

The careers people I met had vaguely heard of a job they described as “somebody that counts bricks - it’s called a quantity surveyor”. That sounded good to me. 

Then out of nowhere, my Dad told me that he knew somebody, who knew somebody down the pub, who could help me find a job – or something of the sort! This led to my first interview in Covent Garden.

Q. What is the best thing about construction?

A. The people. I have met so many great people who always do their best to achieve a finished product, often with limited resources.

At my age the past always seems rosier, and this was especially true until recently, certainly as far as the construction industry is concerned.

But the exciting times are returning now. We should remember that working in construction is a good thing.

Q. If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be?

Cross party consensus is wishful thinking in many cases. But longer-term political certainty and policy direction for the industry really would be a blessing for us all.

It would provide confidence, enhance investment and enable us to train future generations. It would help the industry become less cyclical, and help stop things like skills shortages. 

Q. How should we encourage young people to join the industry?

Be proud of what we contribute. Find a way to invest in young people’s futures - this will give them confidence that the industry can provide them with a job for their entire working life. 

Richard Claxton is chairman of Pellings

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