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BESA Future Leaders get set for 2018

BESA’s burgeoning Future Leaders group is set to hit the ground running in 2018. Group member and ACR News assistant editor, Charlotte Westwood, is following its progress.

BESA Future Leaders chair, Nathan Lett, addressing the BESA Council.

Launched in September of last year at the annual BESA President’s Lunch, the BESA Future Leaders initiative brings together those who are in the early stages of their building and engineering services careers, to learn more about the industry and the new technologies emerging within it.

With a current total of 17 members, the group has grown steadily since its inception. Its agenda is determined by the members themselves, with a strong emphasis placed on open communication and group decision-making. To facilitate this, members maintain regular contact with one another through a central online hub.

BESA Future Leaders represents a range of professions, and includes building services engineers and technical trainees, as well as electrical engineers and gas supervisors among its membership. Equally varied are the companies for which the group’s members work.

While some hail from multinational construction giants such as Balfour Beatty and Skanska, others have started their careers with national UK firms like ACS, Briggs & Forrester and NG Bailey.

Clearly, an inclusive culture is at the core of the programme, and this is reinforced through the first of the group’s key objectives. BESA Future Leaders has collectively agreed to tackle an increasingly pressing concern for the industry – the impending skills gap. The group will explore ways to enhance the appeal of the industry, engaging with school children and drawing on their own positive experiences to attract young talent, while upholding the values of equality and diversity.

With a focus on achieving progress through collaboration, the Future Leaders’ second objective is to proactively identify and harness emergent technologies which will help to drive the future of the building services sectors.

Forging lasting connections with companies that prioritise innovation will be vital, and the group has already made progress here. In September, members took a tour of E.ON’s Citigen power plant in London, developing their knowledge of district heating and the benefits it can provide.

Site visits such as this will be a regular occurrence for the group, which has begun to make its presence known to the industry. On 30 November 2017, Future Leaders chair and technical trainee at Briggs & Forrester, Nathan Lett, addressed the BESA Council to formally introduce the new group and discuss its plans for the future. Meanwhile, earlier in the year, group members attended the BESA National Conference and met with president Tim Hopkinson, questioning him on a range of topical industry issues.

The New Year brings new plans, as the group hopes to welcome more members and build new relationships, continuing to raise its profile through the attendance of industry events. The Future Leaders are also keen to develop their knowledge and skills, both for the benefit of their own careers and the industry as a whole. To this end, members will be upping their involvement in technical committees, seeking coaching opportunities and shadowing fellow industry professionals. 

Confident in the group’s potential, Mr Lett said: “I think we have a lot to contribute. From the beginning of the group forming at our first meeting, we didn’t really know what to expect, although we were coming up with fresh ideas and new perspectives.

“There is so much room in our industry for evolution; it just takes someone to give it a nudge in the right direction. Now that we have our aims set, it’s time to work on these and see our progression as a team and where Future Leaders can take us.”

Open to young graduates, engineers, apprentices, and technicians, BESA Future Leaders provides a unique forum for those involved to engage with their industry and ensure their voices are heard.

To find out more or to join the Future Leaders, visit: www.thebesa.com/future-leaders/

8 January 2018 - Charlotte Westwood

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