This week, I attended Scotland Build Expo at the SEC, and sat as a panellist on one of the discussion slots in the Future of Construction Summit. For those who might be unfamiliar with the event, Scotland Build is a 2 day exhibition tailored to the building and construction industry, and part of wider global network of events run by Oliver Kinross.
There were well over 100 exhibitors in attendance, but my own interest lay in the potential networking and professional development opportunities (sorry exhibitors!). I have to say I wasn’t disappointed – the discussion panels and presentations I attended were all excellent, and a couple were absolutely outstanding (more on them shortly).
I had first heard about the event through a colleague and as the tickets were free, went ahead and registered online (who can say no to free tickets and a day out of the office, right?) – before I knew it, I was a Women in Construction Ambassador and a panellist for the Equality & Diversity in the Built Environment discussion session. Having never been involved in anything like this before, I have to say I was particularly nervous! However, my best friend has a favourite saying which was very appropriate for me at this moment – “life begins at the edge of your comfort zone” – and so I decided to take the opportunity and make the very best of it.
So, how did it go? Honestly, I thought it went pretty well. The Women in Construction Networking Event was truly fantastic and it was such a good chance to meet like-minded professional women. The panel discussion was really engaging and showed the range of issues (both positive and negative) that women in construction face.
My discussion panel took place on Thursday afternoon, and was actually a fairly lively exchange, despite the reduced audience turnout (I suspect by post-lunchtime on day 2, exhibition-fatigue had well and truly set in). Several attendees had really insightful points and questions to raise about how we make a career in the industry appealing to young people of all backgrounds, genders, ethnicities and level of physical or mental ability. It was a real eye-opener for me to hear others’ stories, but also to hear about the outreach programmes and initiatives that already exist – we just don’t know about them.
I’d genuinely encourage everyone to research this issue online, or even within their own organisation – is there anything we can as individuals to move the industry towards where it needs to be in terms of equality and diversity?
I would also like to mention some of the other presentations and panels I attended – David Broom was a standout for me with his presentations on Building Your Personal Brand and Work/Life Balance. I also really enjoyed David Gray’s Bid to Win presentation, Joanna Glenfield’s presentation on creating a gender diverse workforce, and Julie Moulsdale’s Tips for Linked In – but a huge well done to all the presenters and panel members for sharing their expertise and insights!
If you were there and didn’t get to say hi, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hopefully see you there next year!