One of the most memorable times when I was young was working in a team constructing the M58 motorway near Skelmersdale in the late 1970s. I learned really valuable skills and made lifelong friends (and had a proper laugh) as part of a team of skilled professionals who took pride in their work. Every time I drive along it I say "I helped build this".
Whilst my motorway building work is not as famous as my achievements since, such as establishing Red or Dead, I have been lucky enough to work alongside construction professionals throughout my career.
As part of my current work at Hemmingway Design I have worked with hundreds of professionals and between us we have influenced the skylines of Gateshead, Dartford, Manchester, Bournemouth, King's Lynn, and Whitehaven amongst others.
They have taught me that seeing something built as a result of your endeavours is one of the most satisfying things a human can do.
I have also come to realise that much of the creative industries, a British success story that I am proud to be a part of, would be nothing without people to manifest these creative concepts.
That is why I am so passionate about the Go Construct campaign. Too often working in construction is seen as something negative, a fall back career or what you end up doing if you don’t work hard enough at school.
Those ideas are an insulting caricature to those who shape and craft the world around us. From iconic buildings such as Sage Gateshead, infrastructure projects that help people live better lives such as London’s Crossrail or vital services we all need such as the new Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, construction workers made them with skill, pride and professionalism.
The construction industry is on the precipice of skills armageddon fuelled by these negative stereotypes which put people off considering a career in the industry.
I am also especially pleased that the Go Construct site highlights the fact that working in Construction and the Built Environment doesn’t just mean working on building sites.
There are hundreds of vital roles that need filling including jobs in surveying, project management, cost control, BIM (Building information modelling which is part of design), Design Manager (we need managing!) and less obvious roles such as occupational health doctors and sustainability managers all of which are crucial parts of the construction industry.
Go Construct comes at a crucial time. If we can’t find the thousands of people we need then our economic and cultural growth as a nation will be disastrously curtailed.
We need to help people understand what construction careers are really like in 2015 and how, regardless of your skills, background or qualifications you can be part of a real British industrial success story, as well as helping to shape our nation’s future.
That is why I am proud to support Go Construct.