By Lucy Blasdale
Homes England’s Head of Land in the Midlands
As you cannot really have missed due to the amount of coverage, Regeneration Brainery arrived in Birmingham last week. I was asked to get involved which I did with great relish as I personally believe it is really important for a number of reasons, but that I will come on to. Like everyone else I am exceptionally busy, in my case leading delivery of the Midlands land activity with none of the usual school holiday slow down which is typical of July and August.
I personally believe we can’t as an industry complain about the lack of young people joining the sector and discuss our woes of recruiting good staff, which is a very regular topic of conversation without doing something about it. Hence when the opportunity presented itself to talk to the ‘young brains’ about careers in the sector I snapped up the opportunity. As well as getting the team involved to arrange a visit to the site of the Commonwealth Games which we jointly hosted with Birmingham City Council.
I can’t deny, this did take a bit of mine and the team’s time to organise, which is always a challenge as we are all extremely busy, but I was completely rewarded by enthusiasm, interest and some challenging questions! To be out with the group on both the Monday and the Thursday was exceptionally valuable as I got to see first-hand their confidence and pertinence of their questions grow.
I really want to encourage other colleagues to get involved, you will gain far more from the time you put in probably more than any other activity. We need to take responsibility for the growth of our sector and actively address the skills gap, plus you may find some future new recruits as from the ones I met there were some rich pickings.
My advice for future Brainery attendees? Take every opportunity for work experience and build your network , this is what will make the difference and open doors for you.
My advice for future Mentors? Be generous with your time, be open and engaging and talk with passion about why you do what you do.
I think this is just the beginning of what could be possible through the Regeneration Brainery programme and in time I’d like to see us signposting attendees to our apprenticeship opportunities.