Building Standards Ambassador – Positive Pathways
A guest post by Daniel Last, sharing his experience as a Building Standards Ambassador, and his activities highlighting the profession to young people.
I volunteered to become a Building Standards Ambassador earlier last year and since then I’ve been working with our local Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) representatives to find opportunities to speak about the profession with young people who are beginning to consider their careers. Joining the Ambassadors’ Network has enabled me to publicise building standards as a rewarding and interesting career which is accessible to all.
It has been a challenging year, in the wake of the pandemic, to have started down this path with fewer events being held by schools and a number of events being delayed. However some opportunities have borne fruit. The first was a request to produce a short pre-recorded video for one of our local high school’s Positive Pathways event; talking a little about the role we play in the building standards profession and about my pathway into this career and other routes into the construction industry.
I made a 12 minute long video which received a good response. I spoke about my journey through school and university, including setbacks along the way, and how I discovered building standards as a career by chance while looking at placements after my 3rd year of Architecture at university.
Everyone who is interested in construction through school knows what an architect or a structural engineer is and even the planning system is well known. I have found building standards is often under the radar and, even while studying Architecture at university, I noticed that the technical guidance on compliance with building regulations was often overlooked in design discussions. This is a big part of why I have felt the Ambassadors Network is crucial to the growth of the profession and why I was keen to be involved when the opportunity presented itself.
In the video, I emphasised the variety of routes people have taken into a building standards job. I reflected on my own team in Moray Council which includes members who joined as apprentices from school, those who had a history in site management or architecture, some university graduates such as myself and individuals who had progressed from administrative roles to become Building Standards Officers.
The video is available to view on the careers section of the Local Authority Building Standards Scotland (LABSS) website.
The second opportunity that presented itself to me as an Ambassador was to offer some mock interviews with students looking at a career in construction. I gave the school a job specification for the students to look over beforehand and then carried out short virtual interviews with them individually.
This was an opportunity for me to explain to the participants what the building standards profession is all about at a point in their lives where they are beginning to think about the direction that they wish to take. While those I interviewed may not actively seek a career in building standards I still feel it is valuable to introduce the profession to anyone going into the construction trade because we all have to work together in order for the industry to thrive.
LABSS is currently working with the Ambassadors’ Network to develop a Delivery Plan to ensure the network has a clear way ahead that is supported for the long term. In the meantime, I have further opportunities on the horizon to help with more mock interviews and I am in regular contact with our local DYW representatives to ensure I am able to participate in future in-person events as they begin to take place more regularly in schools or colleges.