Training in this Brave New World

Danny Frost, Managing Director

As it does not look like we will return to our offices anytime soon, and with the announcement that the furlough scheme has been extended until October 2020, we need to consider what impact six months out of the office environment will have on our trainees and junior members of staff. When we do return to the office, how will this new world that we live in have affected their development, training and wellbeing? And in this current situation, how are we going to continue their development and training so they can become both competent quantity surveyors and our future leaders?

I’m not talking about virtual CPD (continuing professional development) sessions or weekly catch‑ups, although they have a purpose. What I’m talking about is proper training, the ‘one to one’ interactions we used to have in the office. Do you remember those? I’m thinking about how we showed them our working processes and what good practice is. We made time for them and we invested our time in them, we engaged with them and we inspired them to better themselves.

Despite the possibility of a global pandemic appearing on government risk registers, we in construction had given it virtually no thought. But let’s not dwell on this for too long, let’s look forward. As Whitney Houston advised us back in 1985, ‘I believe the children are our future’; and trainee quantity surveyors are the future of quantity surveying!

If we agree that we have very little in place to train our junior team members in our current working environment, then we need to get moving and start thinking about what exactly we are going to do to ensure that they can continue to build a secure foundation for their careers. That’s the easy part, the commitment. In order to adapt, some factors we will need to consider include:

  • How do we bring trainees back into the working environment after, say, six months of being at home?
  • How are we going to train them when our only contact is via video conferencing?
  • How are we going to mentor them to move on from being trainees and become chartered surveyors?

It is going to be easier for them than us. Why do I say that? The majority of our trainees will have been brought up in the digital age; they will have benefited from the information and training that is available on the web via mediums such as Wikipedia and YouTube!

The problem is that, for the most part, those of us that need to provide the training have not had significant exposure to modern methods of learning. Only through these enforced circumstances have we seen and embraced the benefits of technology.

Good luck to those giving training, you are going to need it. Again, as Whitney told us back in 1985, ‘Teach them well and let them lead the way… Give them a sense of pride it will make it easier’!