The CIOB’s activities in Wales have been quietly gathering momentum this year, with lots of support for industry initiatives and many policy and public affairs successes. This is an overview of what the Welsh team has achieved this year - from Laura Clarke ICIOB, Development Manager for Cymru/Wales.

The CIOB’s Wales team has been busy this year and a recent visit from our CEO, Caroline Gumble, has made me reflect on how much we’ve achieved. Caroline’s visit [on 13 November] was also a great opportunity to bring together many CIOB Hub members and contacts from across the sector to discuss the issues that are important in the industry.

Collaboration is an integral part of everything we have achieved and want to achieve in Wales.  We are a devolved nation and our approach needs to be from the top down – we work hard to build and maintain relationships with employers and members across Wales. We engage with key stakeholders and other industry bodies in the principality and work with the Welsh government. This ensures we have the interests of the industry at the heart of what we do.

A good example of our collaborative approach is our relationship with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and our work on a number of CITB-funded projects. The projects focus on:

• Developing sustainable engagement between employers and education, producing a teacher’s toolkit to enhance engagement between employers and education

• Promoting construction and the wide opportunities that exist within the sector with experiential and immersive learning.

These are really important areas to support the sector and bring on the next generation.

In introducing Caroline, our CEO, to many of the Hub members, there was talk about how our Hub is organised and what makes it work. CIOB in Wales has clearly defined roles for all Hub members which helps us work effectively, with contact points for Education, Policy, Young Professionals and CPD activities. We also chatted to representatives from local Chartered Building Companies (CBCs) and Training Partnerships and some of our Novus (new professionals) network.

There was a discussion about the reality of being a CBC. It was put to us by a company we’ve worked with, which is just about to get CBC status, that they welcome the opportunities to celebrate success and give back to the sector. They also see their relationship with the CIOB as a way to input on important issues, such as retention payments. They added that they’d noticed and appreciated our recent work with the Welsh Government Finance Committee on Retention Payments in the Construction Industry and want opportunities to help develop our future recommendations to government.

We also shared with Caroline our support for education for those looking to start a career in construction. We discussed Higher Apprenticeships - we developed and successfully launched the first ever Higher Apprenticeship in Wales in 2015 and since then have developed the Level 5 Higher Apprenticeship in Construction Management and Quantity Surveying. These apprenticeships are unique as we worked with a consortium of employers to develop the content and ensure that these qualifications were developed by the sector for the sector. I was proud to lead and represent CIOB in this initiative.

Site visit 

The afternoon saw us getting out and about. WRW Construction hosted us on a tour round their restoration work at the National Museum Wales / Amgueddfa Cymru. We heard how they’ve worked closely with Cadw (the Welsh Government's historic environment service), navigating around priceless artifacts. It’s a fascinating project with 63 miles of scaffolding on site - and I did get to go up on to the roof to view some of the works and into the museum to say hello to Dippy!

It was a great day, with a lot of positivity for the future of the sector in Wales. It was also good to strengthen some of our collaborative work with our sister bodies, introduce Caroline to many of our Members and flag up the issues of the day with her. With a fully engaged Hub committee, a clear member engagement strategy and a team approach to all aspects of work as a region, plus the prospect of additional CIOB team resources, we are looking forward to what we can achieve as a region.

Our focus for 2020 is ensuring we engage with our membership across Wales, through a series of roadshows. In our discussions on the day, we talked about ensuring that members are heard and at the heart of what we do.  We need to continue our inclusive work between Hub members and we want our members to help us move forward and grow as an institute.