Stephen Good: Delivering construction innovation

CSIC's Hamilton facility is due to open its doors in the summer. Picture: Contributed

CSIC's Hamilton facility is due to open its doors in the summer. Picture: Contributed

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It’s not every day an organisation enjoys the privilege of doubling its workforce almost overnight, but over the coming weeks that will be happening at Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) as we prepare to expand our range of services and business support activities.

Since we launched two years ago we have made fantastic progress, helping 42 new projects get off the ground in supporting Scotland’s construction industry to collaborate, transform and grow through identifying and addressing opportunities for innovation.

Construction is an exciting and smart career choice

Stephen Good

In the summer we’ll be opening a new £2 million innovation facility at Hamilton International Innovation Park just outside of Glasgow with 30,000 square feet of workshop space housing state-of-the-art construction and manufacturing equipment.

READ MORE: Building innovation centre expands with Hamilton facility

This will allow construction businesses of all sizes to develop new products, processes, systems and solutions, from early-stage ideas through to full commercialisation. Alongside this, the building and team based here will also offer flexible spaces for training and events, a dedicated collaboration area, and access to expertise which can support project incubation through to delivery. We want everyone in the industry, from a solo entrepreneur to a huge contractor, to feel welcome here.

It’s something we believe will help transform Scotland’s construction sector as more businesses will have easier access to facilities, expertise and funding advice to help them meet the myriad challenges and opportunities the industry faces.

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Our aim is to help them capitalise on these by innovating their business, products and processes to become ever more productive and profitable.

We’ve had great interest from the industry already – especially SMEs – who are keen to use the facility as soon as it opens.

The projects already underway are testament to the demand from industry for this kind of support and we are keen to ramp up our training and collaboration provision. With our new facility and the plans we have to expand our range of services, we need to significantly grow our team and so have been recruiting for a number of new employees – six in total, across our marketing, technical and business relationship teams.

Bringing six new people into a team that is only seven-strong itself is exciting and daunting, but we are ready.

We expect some of these new people to come from the construction industry, but we also hope to attract people from different sectors with transferable skills in order to have as wide a range of talent and thinking styles as possible.

As addressing greater diversity is a focus for CSIC, we also want to see more women joining the industry at all levels, from boardroom and leadership roles to consultants, tradespeople and apprentices. Our team has a 50:50 gender balance and we’re keen to improve this.

Construction is an exciting and smart career choice. It has a reputation as having one foot still in the dark ages, but I see it is leaving that era behind.

Ours is now a vibrant and inventive industry, with a number of international patents and products already having changed the ways buildings are both designed and created.

The construction industry touches every part of our economy in Scotland, from shaping our environment through schools, hospitals, roads and railways, to preserving our history through restoration and maintenance, and providing the infrastructure to transport our whisky and salmon overseas.

It is an industry that has stood the test of time. There are challenges, but the industry’s positive response to CSIC since it has opened has assured me that Scottish construction is up to the task.

Getting into construction now, whether joining the team here, or doing an apprenticeship or university course, offers the chance to witness and influence the transformation of an industry integral to the economy, culture and everyday life of Scottish society.

• Stephen Good is chief executive of Construction Scotland Innovation Centre

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