How Kingspan is closing the talent gap in the construction industry

3 April 2018 Kingspan Group
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The shortage of qualified workers in the construction industry has been identified as a key reason why the construction sector has failed to innovate as quickly as other areas of the economy.  According to a new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF)- Shaping the Future of Construction: An Action Plan to solve the Industry’s Talent Gap – companies need to do more to improve in-house learning and adopt new technologies to improve staff productivity and job satisfaction.
It’s a key insight that is at the heart of how Kingspan has designed its recruitment and staff training programmes to ensure the company has the talent in place that it needs to thrive.
Marie Maguire, Kingspan Group People and Leadership Development Manager, understands the sometimes narrow view that exists of the construction sector. However, about 100 million people across the world are employed in engineering and construction, enjoying dynamic careers in areas including marketing, engineering, R&D and data analytics.

Marie says: 
At Kingspan, we’re into material science, carbon neutral buildings and minimising energy consumption. Improving construction methods and improving the buildings that impact peoples lives drives our teams all over the world. 
One person who realised the innovative career opportunities that Kingspan has to offer was Karen Connolly. After graduating with a Master’s in Energy & Building Services from Ulster University in 2015, Karen joined Kingspan as a design engineer. 

Talking about her experience:
I decided to apply for the Kingspan graduate programme as I was impressed with the previous graduate profiles and the opportunities the company offered.
Karen is now working as a Research and Development Project Engineer. Her role involves developing and enhancing products within the Kingspan Insulated Panels division from start to finish, taking products from their design phase, through testing and certification, and finally to their launch.

Graduate Programme

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One of the most interesting findings of the WEF report is that work culture is a key consideration among the younger workforce when considering where they might like to work within the construction industry.
Creating a work culture that is diverse, supportive and fulfilling is something that’s central to Marie’s role and is both fundamental to the Kingspan Group Graduate Programme and to acquiring and retaining new talent. Through its carefully designed Graduate Programme, Kingspan is able to attract talented graduates like Karen. 
Millennials are really attracted to Kingspan because they want to play a role in improving the environment and make a genuine positive impact. Working with Kingspan means we are at the front line of creating smart, environmentally-friendly, energy-efficient buildings for the future.
For those with global career ambitions, Kingspan ticks the box, with operations in over 60 countries. Kingspan gives its staff opportunities to live and work across the globe.
Marie explains:
We are big on investing in our people and giving them opportunities to travel and expand their career on a global stage.

Leadership Programmes

The WEF report recommends that construction companies improve in-house learning and development programmes, which is something that Marie develops and supports through Kingspan’s Leadership Programmes.
The Kingspan Group is investing in very high level, and very impactful, development programmes for both our current and future leaders.
The 2017 Global Leadership Development programme involved sending 30 executive leaders on an intensive two module programme. One week was spent on the IMD Business School campus in Lausanne, Switzerland, followed by a second module held in the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
This year, a new programme PEAK (Programme for Executive Acceleration in Kingspan), will focus on emerging leaders, and driving and enhancing their individual and collective performance.
Marie explains:
Next month we’re launching a programme called PEAK which will see 30 members of our management team undertaking a customised global Kingspan training programme.

Setting Kingspan Apart

The WEF report also outlines the importance of embracing digitalisation and new ways of interacting with customers as a key driver in terms of increasing productivity across the sector. This is a priority at Kingspan, as demonstrated by its recent decision to invest $10m in a stake in Inivicara, a provider of technology for Building Information Modelling (BIM). Kingspan also continues to invest and develop innovative products and iconic brands like Kooltherm® and QuadCoreTM.  
Crucially, Marie also believes that prospective and current employees want to be part of a successful, growing company and they recognise that Kingspan is on a high growth trajectory, through a strategy of investment in new geographic markets and use of technologies like BIM and next-generation building materials. 
For more information on career opportunities available at Kingspan, please click here

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