By Dylan Rishworth MCIOB

The construction industry used to be on a par with other industries for productivity but over the past 50 years has fallen behind. I am a firm believer that, to catch up and speed up productivity, we must prioritise digital innovation in construction. And what better way to do this than to embrace the young people that grew up with smart phones and computers in hand?

If you want to see innovation and ideas, you need people that will think outside the normal parameters. Young professionals can do this, making it important for our voice to be heard globally. But we need a platform, and that’s where Novus has come into play.

I studied construction management at Nelson Mandela University, a course accredited by the CIOB, and I became involved with the organisation whilst also working part time as a site manager. It was brought to my attention that there were no young people involved on the CIOB Africa committee and I was asked to assist. I leapt at the chance. I am currently working as a Project Manager at Mace in South Africa and have been given the opportunity as a young professional to drive the use of BIM and Digital Technology for Mace in South Africa, for which I am very grateful.

As a young professional, I know that experience is important, but I also know that we bring a new voice and perspective to the sector. Novus is that platform to bridge the two. We hope that, by sharing our ideas to those with more experience and power, together we can see them implemented. If you’re experienced and been involved in construction for a while, don’t overlook the young professionals entering the industry. We need to move away from the belief that grey hairs make you worthy of a position and trust and the stigma that being young is a disadvantage.

As part of my role with Novus, I’m really looking forward to representing the young professionals at Members’ Forum. It’s especially important to me to be representing CIOB Sub-Saharan Africa as I will be the only Novus voice from a developing region.

The CIOB already has helped the region. It’s testament to the role of Novus in Sub-Saharan Africa that the South African Council for Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPMP) is discussing a memorandum of understanding with the CIOB and even invited me to speak at their summit at the end of June. I was able to speak about how young people can drive the change we need to see in our sector. But I want to do more to raise the need for support for the Sub-Saharan Africa region. We are doing great work but we also want our peers across the globe to share their knowledge and their expertise with us. This includes from both the experienced and the Novus representatives. We want our fellow professionals to see the potential the industry has to grow in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Forum is a great opportunity for me to both speak out and learn from others and I’m excited to be a part of the future of the CIOB.