The Farmer Review and Social Value

Since the Farmer Review was published in October 2016 we have time to digest its findings and the role that Social Value can play in addressing some of the very real challenges the industry faces over the next decade.

There are major, but not new, challenges the industry faces that I believe Social Value can help address; as long as we continue and improve our collaborative working across all sectors; including clients (public and private) contractors, sub-contractors, the communities and their local organisations.

In his report Mark Farmer does not talk about Social Value explicitly within the report but cites the need  for clear leadership, transparent collaborative working, embracing the fast paced digital world and the “ticking time bomb” of skills shortages that could see a 20-25% decline in the available labour force within a decade.

So how do we solve these problems?  I’m afraid I don’t have the answer but I do know that all of us can play our part in addressing these challenges and move to a collaborative, transparent, inclusive, and “sexy” industry.

And this, for me, is what Social Value is at its heart;

  • It’s about job creation, new apprenticeships and new trainees to welcome new ideas, new talents and a more diverse workforce to the industry.
  • It’s about encouraging and engaging that potential new talent through real and valuable work experience, real life educational career programmes in schools, colleges and universities and changing the image of the industry by embracing the digital age through BIM, through robotics, through mixed reality, through coding and yes, through Minecraft.
  • It’s about developing trust within the supply chain above and below; broadening our traditional supply chains and how we treat each other, being open to new ways of delivering projects and, of course, learning from outside our sector including those in manufacturing, digital and social enterprise sectors.
  • Lastly, it’s about collective responsibility for social value and, most importantly, individual accountability.

So let’s not lose momentum; let’s capitalise on this, let’s do something together, let’s solve the skills crisis, lets innovate, let’s digitise the industry, let’s excite and enthuse the next generation of trades people, designers, programmers, advanced manufacturers and engineers, let’s learn from our seniors but not let them hold us back, lets listen to the upcoming stars but not let them make the same mistakes we’ve made, let’s continue to change.