In Episode 19 of Construction Talk Peter sits down with Kirsty Connell-Skinner, Sustainable Construction Partnership Manager at Edinburgh Napier University and Project Manager for the Housing Construction Infrastructure (HCI) Skills Gateway.

In this episode, Kirsty shares her journey from politics to her current role, where she found her passion for sustainable construction. They discuss HCI, a £6 million program aiming to develop a skilled workforce for the construction industry, with a focus on sustainable practices using timber.

Kirsty emphasises the importance of upskilling in the industry to adapt to sustainability and discusses the challenges faced by experienced workers without necessary accreditations. They also touch on advancing diversity and inclusion through support initiatives.

The episode concludes with a discussion on making the construction industry more attractive to talent by embracing digital construction and automation while addressing challenges faced by small businesses.


Time-stamped highlights:


Peter introduces this week’s guest Kirsty Connell-Skinner. Kirsty is a Sustainable Construction Partnership Manager at Edinburgh Napier University, but also Project Manager for the HCI Skills Gateway


Kirsty shares more about herself and her journey in construction


“I've always really enjoyed working with engineers and finding that straightforward bunch of people.”


“Like everyone else's life in 2020, life got turned absolutely upside down. And what came along at that point was a project which is called the housing construction infrastructure skills gateway, which is a 6-million-pound funded program.”


Kirsty discusses the "inclusive skills work" program, which focuses on engaging young learners and introducing them to various career paths, including construction


“We run a mentoring scheme for further education, higher education students who have been historically excluded from construction rules.”


“One of the sort of great successes that HCI have seen is our engagement with the timber industry. One of the sort of main new qualifications or new learning pathways that we've piloted is in timber technology, engineering and design.”


Kirsty discusses the "accelerating skills workstream"


Kirsty agrees emphasises the importance of practical education, especially in the construction industry


HCI aims to advance diversity in construction. Initially focused on providing scholarships for women, the project has awarded over 73 scholarships to historically excluded individuals, two-thirds of whom are female


Kirsty calls for innovative ideas and projects to promote diversity in the construction industry


Peter asks Kirsty about championing new talent and how this will change the construction culture


Kirsty Talks about "get on with it"


Kirsty expresses the team's enthusiasm to support and promote inclusion, diversity, and new ways of thinking in construction skills


Peter is interested in knowing what excites Kirsty about the future and how those exciting prospects will help attract more people to join the industry


Kirsty shares her closing thoughts


Peter wraps up the podcast


Links mentioned in today's episode:

HCI Gateway



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