An Education In BIM - The Head Of Marketing At MK Explains More
- Published: Thursday, 07 December 2017 08:35
The skills gap within the trade is widely publicised, with college leavers and university graduates facing a major step up once they leave education and face the challenges of the ever-evolving industry landscape.
But with BIM becoming a serious focal point, the opportunity exists for the tech-savvy younger generation to add another string to their bow and kick-start their careers. Emma Segelov, head of marketing at MK Electric, explains more.
The ongoing implementation of Level 2 BIM has left some electrical contractors wondering just how they’re going to make the technology work within their company.
BIM undoubtedly holds benefits for all concerned – not least for contractors in helping to mitigate against time lost on site to construction delays. But, understandably, smaller firms are looking to ensure they minimise the costs associated with BIM whilst investing in the relevant kit and the downtime necessary to train staff.
The good news is that BIM doesn’t have to be difficult to adopt. In fact, it can actually be an incredibly effective way of bringing young people through into careers within the electrical industry. Not only does it give aspiring contractors a rewarding, long-term career path, but is also makes full use of the technological skills they have naturally developed throughout their lives.
This is, after all, the generation that grew up with the smartphone - the young adults who consider a CD ‘retro’. They’re taught to work on computers from the earliest stage of education, giving them the practical skills required to navigate packages such as Revit and Autodesk.
There is already a recognisable interest in careers in BIM, which has led to the introduction of BIM-specific degree programmes, teaching the very skills young people will need to forge a career as a BIM advocate. However, there is no reason why college leavers cannot undertake on-the-job training to help them reach the same levels, without the requirement to go to university.
And, by hiring and helping to train these staff up now, firms can benefit substantially over the years to come. BIM’s role in the industry is only set to rise, particularly as it further extends across the industry and the levels of granularity required to satisfy the increasing complexities of BIM continue to grow.
As BIM becomes more widely used and understood, the amount of information available will mean a much greater level of detail can be achieved – eventually it will include every single component of the building, down to chairs, desks and stationery cupboards. It will become truly fundamental to everyone from electricians and architects to facilities managers.
However, the adoption of BIM can seem daunting for long-standing contractors, who may not have the time to sit down and pore over the rudiments of a brand new technology. While the information contained within BIM will ultimately help to make life easier for everyone working on a project, the initial time it takes to learn how to use the software packages necessary to implement BIM can feel overwhelming.
And, as BIM develops on to Level 3 and beyond, we can expect the levels of detail required within each individual model to increase. This will continue to turn BIM into a specialist area – requiring workers specifically trained in BIM to produce the models and data needed.
However, what is likely to emerge - assuming younger workers become firms’ BIM specialists - is a trend for two-way learning.
Established contractors, whilst perhaps not as keyed into the nuances of the latest technology and data-driven computing, hold innumerable core skills stemming from valuable real-life experience, which is vital to helping recent entrants to the industry get to grips with day-to-day working life.
Younger workers, meanwhile, will be able to aid these colleagues in designing and working with BIM. This will become an important bottom-up approach over coming years as BIM, which is already necessary for publicly-funded projects, expands further into the private sector too.
Ultimately, as BIM becomes increasingly central to the industry, electrical contractors need to adapt their businesses to ensure they are compliant, and put themselves in a position to reap the rewards.
By training young people who are already familiar with the technology required to implement BIM, firms can ensure they are geared up to succeed over the coming years, while helping to ensure the next generation of talent thrives.