Constructing Excellence SW Leads The Way To Attract Tomorrow’s Talent To The Industry

Constructing Excellence SW Leads The Way To Attract Tomorrow’s Talent To The Industry

Photo by Matt Round

Following the highly successful Climate Summit held last autumn, Constructing Excellence South West (CESW) launched the West Country’s first ‘Leadership in the Built Environment Symposium’ held at Sandy Park.

A prestigious line-up of speakers helped to attract more than 120 delegates to the free full-day event, supported by platinum sponsors Kier Construction and further key sponsors T Clarke Contracting Ltd and Midas Group.

Open to members and non-members of CESW, the leadership symposium was aimed at anyone working with, or within the construction or property sectors across the region; people who may be considering joining the sector; and those seeking to lead the future of the industry as we move into a post-Brexit era. 

The symposium included refreshments and lunch, networking opportunities with fellow professionals, as well as exhibition stands.  Delegates booked on to break-out seminars and workshops and to meet potential employers and leading local construction recruiters, Cathedral Appointments and RGB Recruitment.  

The full-packed agenda included eminent speakers who focused on how to encourage greater diversity, and specifically how to attract and retain the leaders of tomorrow within the construction industry.

David Greensmith CESW Chair of Sustainability said:

“We are very grateful to the support of all our sponsors and exhibitors enabling us to offer this as a free event. An amazing line-up of speakers, all experts in their respective fields, discussed a diverse range of topics all relating to leadership in the built environment as well as breakout sessions which offered one-to-one coaching, insights into recruitment and identifying leadership opportunities available in the industry within the South West.”

Leading the way was Emma Osmundsen, Managing Director of Exeter City Living Ltd., Exeter City Council, and Chair of Constructing Excellence SW.  Emma selected the theme of ‘leadership’ in line with the CESW’s vision to make construction an industry of opportunity for everyone and to champion diversity. Emma said:

“With unprecedented uncertainty and shifting economic conditions, it’s easy to forget that the construction industry is all about people, who are invariably a company’s greatest assets. The Leadership Symposium ‘shined the light’ on what makes effective leaders in our industry, and what we can do to attract and promote the best talent to enter the construction and built environment arena.”

Appointed to the Board as a non-executive director of Kier in September 2014, Kirsty Bashforth gave a dynamic talk on ‘Recruiting for tomorrow’s Leaders’.  Founder and CEO of Quayfive, which advises on organisational culture, she has over 24 years’ experience in a variety of senior commercial roles with BP plc (‘BP’).  

Paul Crawford CEO – LiveWest was introduced as ‘Mr Housing South West’.  He spoke about building a collaborative workforce across the region following the highly successful merger of Devon & Cornwall Housing and Knightstone.

As well as many interesting and inspiring presentations from some of South West’s leading practitioners and academics in leadership, the symposium was interactive, thought-provoking and career defining. 

International management consultant Penny Wood gave a powerful presentation on ‘Communication as a Leader’. She said:

“I’m delighted I was invited to speak at (CESW) which provided a great opportunity to focus on how the construction industry in the South West can attract the leaders of tomorrow.”

Exeter-based Design Director Kirsty Curnow Bayley RIBA – Living Space Architects Ltd concludes:

“It was a fantastic event, and one of the best I’ve been to in ages! Well done and thanks to all the team for all their hard work on making it such a success.”

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