While Conservative Party Conference took hold in Birmingham, elsewhere in the city, UK Construction Week (UKCW) 2022 kicked off at the NEC. The UK’s largest build environment event, UKCW connects the whole industry supply chain, with stands and a packed schedule across all stages.
This year’s Birmingham show was opened by Channel 4 presenter and architect, George Clarke, and expects around 25,000 attendees across the three days (4-6 October).
Day one saw the unveiling of a commissioned poem, ‘Bricks and More Than’ by renowned poet and storyteller, Casey Bailey, to raise awareness of the issues currently faced by the construction industry. The poem also creatively covers the vision for the industry and encourages young people to consider a career in construction. You can read the full poem here.
These themes were threaded throughout the day, with many of the main stage discussions focusing on the skills gap, how to attract young people into the industry and retaining a diverse workforce. In a panel session, ‘Culture change in construction: skills, data and diversity’ panellists, including Rebecca Lovelace, Dr Janet Young, Christina Riley, Rosanna Lawn and John Welch, discussed how to meet the skills shortage, ensuring a diverse range of people join the construction industry, stay in the sector and how employers can support their teams to make the workforce inclusive and safe.
Elsewhere, there was a heavy focus on social value, with discussions centred around social value becoming a significant part of business cases, rather than simply being “nice to have”, what does good look like for contractors and delivery partners, and bringing about behaviour change and unlocking social value through changes in the construction process.
Other highlights from the day included dozens of presentations and CPD sessions covering net zero and carbon reduction, retrofit, digitalisation, public procurement, stamping out modern slavery, and improving diversity, health and wellbeing across the industry.