G&T is programme sponsor of New London Architecture’s (NLA) NextGen programme and to kick off the 2018 initiative G&T hosted a group of NextGen young professionals to discuss how to prepare for the future of the construction industry.
Introducing the morning’s discussion, Sherin Aminossehe, Head of Offices at Lendlease Europe, offered four key topics to debate throughout the breakfast session. These included:
- The future of the construction profession
- The workplace of the future
- London within an international context
Jack Stewart from Hawkins\Brown fed back key points from the first group, highlighting the increased reliance on technology and the inevitable need for it in the future, which was deemed to have a great impact on how the profession would evolve. But the argument stood that technology should not take over our roles in the workplace but simply remove the more autonomous tasks allowing more time for creativity. It was noted that an individual’s role may have to adapt to accommodate the increased influence of technology, with designers shifting into construction organisations to improve collaboration.
Considerations about the workplace of the future were presented by Anna Peterson of HLM Architects, with retaining talent and employee wellbeing coming out as significant factors for all. G&T’s Rachel Collins hosted the group discussion that noted despite the great rise in gimmicks to attract millennials, many questioned their longevity. It was apparent that beyond the thrill of table tennis, a change in attitude towards flexible working seemed to be a far more attractive incentive to the London worker.
‘Londoners are now reconsidering their options and moving away from the city due to the high cost of living’ - was the question tackled by group three. If the industry is to continue in this way there is potential for London to be hollowed out. In response to this, the NextGen noted a simple answer – make London affordable. As housing is tied to land value, it was suggested the industry introduces a variety of housing solutions, such as pocket homes, co-housing and community owned lands.
The final topic focussed on London in an international context, and primarily the effect Brexit will have on our industry. Discussions ranged from the uncertainty seen within the industry to migration laws not only affecting our skilled labour, but creating a shortage in the diversity of skills on offer in London.
Sherin ended the session by summing up the key takeaways, highlighting the increased importance of collaboration and communication between project teams and the emphasis placed on retaining talent, not just attracting it. All discussions led back to the question of affordability, and how innovative methods are needed to ensure London remains attractive and sustainable for the next generation of property and construction professionals.