FM MagazineLatest UpdatesPerspectivesUnited Kingdom
Most Popular

Making the Building Controls Sector More Appealing to Young Professionals 

Listen to this article

Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) president Stacey Lucas says organisations operating in the sector must do more to attract the best talent earlier.

I have written elsewhere about the importance of increasing the level of knowledge and understanding about the building controls sector to attract young professionals in to our fast-growing industry. And, with teenagers currently preparing to sit their GCSE’s and A-levels and university graduates eagerly anticipating their degree results in the coming months, now is the time for the industry to really focus on what it can do to make the profession more visible to young professionals.

In 2023, the Building Controls Industry Association undertook a survey of its members and estimated that the sector will create over 8,000 new jobs by 2030. 

We have to show young people just how exciting, diverse and rewarding a Building Controls career can be.

As I had no idea of the myriad of career choices and opportunities available to me when I took my first steps into the construction industry. I have no doubt there will be plenty of teenagers and young graduates in the same boat. This industry has so many exciting opportunities and some amazing companies but the awareness about the profession as a technology-led ‘green’ job is perhaps little known.

Advertisement

We have to show young people just how exciting, diverse and rewarding a Building Controls career can be. So, how can we do that?

Educate and generate interest early

With so many potential recruits currently sitting their GCSE’s, A-Levels and undergraduate degrees, now is the time to educate young people on the opportunities and benefits of working within the building controls sector. However, if you asked most of them what they want to do for a career, I’m willing to bet that the majority of them wouldn’t even consider building controls – after all, they’re not likely to know what that is.

That needs to change and it’s down to organisations like the Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) and its member companies to enable those young students who are passionate about sustainability, engineering or software to truly understand the opportunities this fascinating sector can present, so they can make an informed decision about their future.

With that in mind, there is plenty that can be done to increase visibility of our sector even further. For instance, having industry professionals able to speak to local school and college pupils and really get the word out about the importance of building controls in the fight against climate change could make a huge difference.

Promote diversity and inclusivity

While salary is still a key motivator for anyone looking for a job in any industry, career development, job satisfaction and happiness, and inclusivity are becoming almost as important.

As owners of companies in the built environment, it’s important to ensure that your staff feel like their voices are being heard and make your workplace environment one where everyone feels comfortable and able to add value. Additionally, you could consider providing diversity training for employees to raise awareness of different cultures and backgrounds or develop company initiatives, such as women leaders’ programmes.

It’s also important that the building controls sector highlights the important positions that women are taking in the industry – no longer is the construction industry a male-dominated world. While it’s important not to promote this important step just for the sake of it, it’s worth showing budding industry professionals that the construction industry is a welcoming and rewarding sector, no matter what race, religion or gender.

Provide more opportunities

Apprenticeships and T-levels are incredibly useful initiatives already available to help employers recruit and train young talent, however T-Levels are still in their infancy and are not widely known about.

The BEMS Controls Engineer Level 4 apprenticeship has been hugely successful with almost 200 apprentices on programme undertaking a 3-year structured training route that works exceptionally well both for employer and the apprentice. T-Levels, whilst still emerging, present an opportunity to really show what your company is about as the students seek a 45-day industry placement, usually broken down as 1 day per week. This enables the company to also really get to know the student.

It’s a win-win and the industry is already seeing some early success with T-level students going on to apply for apprenticeship vacancies in the sector.  

To ensure that people entering the industry can become qualified engineers, training programmes and qualifications will need to continue to adapt to meet the evolving needs of the building controls sector.  

Earlier, I referenced the importance of the construction and building controls industry becoming more visible in educational facilities. Furthermore, manufacturers and systems integrators may want to consider approaching schools and colleges to offer week-long work experience placements to increase accessibility and allow young people to see what a career in building controls and automation could be like.

Schools are often looking for work experience placements and by offering our support, we are opening up that conversation with both the education sector and young people who could potentially be future talent in our sector.

The building controls industry offers a huge range of rewarding and exciting opportunities to young people. It’s down to us all to make sure they understand exactly what those are and why working in the Building Controls should be their career of choice.

Stacey Lucas

Stacey Lucas is President of the Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) - and Commercial and Marketing director at BCIA member organisation, Sontay. Her career at Sontay started in 2001 when Stacey joined the company as a Customer Service Advisor in an industry that she had no idea existed! Since then she has caught the ‘Building Controls Bug’ and is ever more excited about the new technologies embraced by the industry and the future that lies ahead. By working her way up through Customer Service and Sales, she has built long lasting relationships with many of their customers and she is able to use the knowledge and insight learned in these years to effectively market the excellent Sontay range. It has also given her a fantastic knowledge base and high level of technical understanding of the Sontay product range and how it fits within the industry.

Author

  • Stacey Lucas

    Stacey Lucas is President of the Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) - and Commercial and Marketing director at BCIA member organisation, Sontay. Her career at Sontay started in 2001 when Stacey joined the company as a Customer Service Advisor in an industry that she had no idea existed! Since then she has caught the ‘Building Controls Bug’ and is ever more excited about the new technologies embraced by the industry and the future that lies ahead. By working her way up through Customer Service and Sales, she has built long lasting relationships with many of their customers and she is able to use the knowledge and insight learned in these years to effectively market the excellent Sontay range. It has also given her a fantastic knowledge base and high level of technical understanding of the Sontay product range and how it fits within the industry.

    View all Articles

CAMFIL HVAC Filtration Solutions

You may like

We've noticed you are using an ad blocker

Advertising helps bring you fresh independent content. Please disable the adblock plugin or settings in your web browser to access the content you are trying to reach on www.fmindustry.com.