The BEST Conference: How do we grow sustainable talent for Wales

  on Wednesday, 22nd July, 2015 - 12:35 pm

The BEST Conference: How do we grow sustainable talent for Wales

The BEST conference ‘Growing the BEST Sustainable Talent for Wales’ was held at the Wales Millennium Centre on the morning of 2nd July 2015. Chaired by Chris Tweed, Head of School, Welsh School of Architecture and aimed at people with an interest or involvement in the built environment sector, sustainability, training or education more widely; over 40 people attended this lively event that took place towards the conclusion of the 3-year BEST programme.

The conference was formed through 2 plenary sessions. The first session considered ‘How can we enable/empower young people to achieve our future built environment sustainability goals’? Carolyn Hayles, Senior Lecturer at UWTSD opened with a talk on the INSPIRE programme and embedding sustainable development through learning, teaching, curricula, campus, community and culture within the University. Rhodri Thomas, Training & Development Manager, Cynnal Cymru Sustain Wales, looked at the challenges of educators in sustainable development; how to make it relevant to the learner and encourage people to break out of their silos. Richard Bayliss, Environment and Sustainability Programme Manager, CITB talked about skills gaps in construction and current and future programmes to inspire and attract young talent into the sector. Mhairi McVicker, Director of Engagement, Welsh School of Architecture and Mohammed Awadalla, Intern and 2nd year BSc Architecture student looked at curricula engagement by the Welsh School of Architecture, presenting an ongoing project to develop learning resources for integration into the Welsh Baccalaureate.

The second plenary session was titled, ‘Can good Equality and Diversity practice benefit companies in the Welsh built environment sector’? Suckvindar Singh, Equality and Diversity Officer, BEST began this session with an overview of Equality & Diversity business support offered to SME’s in Wales’ convergence areas by the BEST programme. Matt O’Grady, Equality and Diversity Officer, Tai Pawb led us through Equality policy, the work of Tai Pawb within the housing sector and why built environment companies should do more within this area. The final presentation was by Mary Wrenn, Director, RSAW, whose presentation included the first UK registered female architect and an overview of the RIBA Role Models project that seeks to promote inclusion within architecture.

Finally, and just prior to a lovely lunch, Lara Hopkinson, ESDGC Manager, BEST launched the programme’s Strategy ‘A Strategy for Growth, Adaptation and Progression’. Available on the BEST website, this document covers the progress of the Programme to date and makes recommendations that aim to address the requirements of industry growth and workforce adaptation and progression.

Audio from the sessions will be available from the BEST website at the end of July.

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