Why is learning and development important in construction?
Since 2019, the construction industry has had a recruitment and training deficiency. This is due to a difficulty in attracting and training young UK-born workers.
This is a problem, as CPD is incredibly important in construction. It is a career path that is intertwined with ever-evolving technology and regulations. The supply chain is also highly complex in the first place. Due to such changes and complexities, it is insufficient for construction professionals to simply become chartered professionals and then stop learning. For construction workers to progress sufficiently in their careers, they need CPD.
Now we know why learning and development is so important in this industry. This article aims to help learning and development professionals in this industry to curate sufficient and effective CPD programmes.
What CPD Doesn’t Include:
Firstly, let’s define what isn’t included in CPD, so that we can omit those from your CPD strategy.
Events that have an emphasis on social aspects or networking can and should be held for your organisation, but attendance doesn’t lead to CPD.
Informal team building and planning events are also great activities for your people, but do not typically count as CPD.
Other events that, while being productive, do not have much or any relevance to the construction professionals’ actual roles, also cannot count towards CPD. These might include involvements in construction boards or committees.
Now we’ve looked at what activities should not be a part of your CPD strategy, let’s see the most effective ways to train construction professionals.
1. Effectively Structure
As already mentioned, construction professionals cannot just gain qualifications and stop learning. They need regular learning. This should be structured sufficiently so that they don’t go long durations without any learning or get burnt out catching up on learning in one go.
Structured CPD includes any educational event, or programme, that is run by an educational or accredited institution. You must have some sort of framework in place for this CPD to be recorded, as well-documented CPD is essential for structured programmes. Do you require attendees to record their attendance during your training courses? Or do you record their completion via certificates only after they have successfully completed the course? This is something that you should consider to ensure that your learning and development programme is regimented sufficiently.
Therefore, regular seminars and training courses ran by a professional training partner, which focus on practical and vocational learning, are fruitful ways to keep the practical skills of constructional professionals fresh and well-practiced. One example of this could be shadowing another professional. This could kill two birds with one stone, as one person could learn from shadowing another professional, while the latter professional can learn from doing the training, as carrying out training can be another method of CPD. This is especially true for a practical vocation like construction, whereby the best way to prove that you are skilled at a certain activity could be to train someone else in this activity. Therefore, learning and development is extremely important in construction.
Do you gather professionals in the construction industry on a larger scale, for conferences? These should be taking place on a regular basis every year (e.g. every few months), so ensure that your event calendar is consistent. If you cannot gather everyone in one place due to safety or travel restrictions, your event should still be held in an online capacity. This should preferably be during the same time of year. It doesn’t have to be entirely in-person, as you can simply livestream it and turn it into a high quality online or hybrid event.
Another regulated form of learning could be in the form of part-time courses or short courses, which are carried out by an external provider that you may partner with. This could get you discounts on these courses if a certain quota of your people attend the course.
2. Figure Out The Content
Unsure about the potential content for your conference or lecture? We recommend using LinkedIn to crowdsource potential topics from professionals in your industry. You can also use LinkedIn to see what other events your target audience have attended. Use an advanced search for professionals with a certain role in the construction industry. Then, check their attended events on the Activity section of their profile.
The purpose of such events is to allow attendees to hear opinions about what should be done about changing issues in your industry, so the speakers should be influential leaders in the industry that are prepared to guide how attendees work in future. The event needs to be a forum for ideas-sharing, so make sure that it allows for active engagement. A later article will be all about producing engaging corporate events, so stay tuned for that.
3. Unstructured Learning Strategies
In terms of learning and development techniques that are unstructured, these are unplanned and can therefore be completed at the learner’s discretion at any time and place. However, they still need some sort of post-learning reflection to record the fact that CPD points have been achieved.
Unstructured CPD that is important to construction could include:
• A personal study of a worker’s development that is completed in their own time
• Ideas-sharing about best practice via a peer review
• Any other activities that are not a part of their course requirements but still require recording some relevant progress.
Another example of unstructured but important construction CPD is to read industry literature. In construction, there are many technical reports, up-to-date journals, and new professional methods detailed in newspapers and magazines, that you can provide for professionals. This can facilitate a lot of ideas-sharing, if professionals are given opportunities to discuss the techniques raised in the literature.
Did you know that structured learning strategies can be utilised in an unstructured way? If your next regularly scheduled learning and development event is recorded, the recording (or multiple recordings of different segments of the event) can be used as a resource in a knowledge library that you provide. That way, construction professionals can access these training videos on-demand, and use them as distance learning resources.
Now that you’ve read our guide, do you have a more complete view of why learning and development is important in construction?
Most importantly, how will you develop the construction workers that you manage? Will you use structured, or unstructured, methods? Comment below to let us know.