The picture above is of (l-r) Charles Egbu (CIOB), Laura Burke, Jonathon Hubert (UCEM), Arthur Seymour (MW – WCC), Bob Heathfield (Chair of Scholarships and Awards Committee – WCC) and Sorella Smith after the Sustainability presentations at the Royal Society on 2 May 2019.
Freeman Ben DeSanges writes “A wonderful evening was had at our 26th annual Scholars Awards in the brilliant venue of the Royal Society. In his opening remarks committee chair Bob Heathfield reminded attendee’s that over 50 scholars had received awards co-sponsored by our Worshipful Company and the CIOB. Bob proudly confirmed that the WCC and the CIOB are seeking to increase the numbers of scholarships with a focus to increase the proportion based outwith the South East and indeed from abroad and to move the scholarships programme towards the use of new technologies such as Skype.
We were reminded that for consideration Scholars projects must be (1) relevant to our industry and society at large, benefit the (2) Scholars, (3) the WCC, CIOB and UCEM and (4) the sponsoring companies, both Scholars on this night being from Laing O’Rourke (LOR).
First up was Sorrella Smith, 3 years an Engineer at LOR, recruited through their graduate scheme, with her fascinating Blockchain project. Through her highly professional and interactive presentation based on the ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’ quiz Sorella explained the origins and principles of Blockchain and how our industry might benefit; productivity, reduced administrative costs and cashflow. Particularly interesting to the writer was the potential for improved O&M information, materials provenance and lifecycle planning. Sorrella shared two informative videos’ and proved that even Engineers can be teachers when she re-ran her interactive quiz after her presentation and the score in the room doubled! Sorrella’s recommendation was that our industry forms a Blockchain Consortium to develop further. Sorella’s dissertation can be downloaded here.
Next up, Laura Burke, a Design Manger, also at LOR and from the same graduate scheme. (2015 was obviously a good year!). Laura shared the results of her detailed research into Mental Health with good humour and in a very personal manner detailing how she has witnessed mental health issues in her career to date. It was stark to learn that workers in our industry are 3x more likely to commit suicide and that between absenteeism, presenteeism, and staff turnover/churn mental health problems cost our industry over £2.5Bn annually. Laura’s presentation was highly professional and included two informative videos. Her recommendation was for us to treat mental health as we do safety; (1) undertake risk assessments, (2) implement a mental health at work plan and (3) create positive working conditions. Laura’s dissertation can be downloaded here.
Following the presentations Charles Egbu the Vice-President of the CIOB and Jonathan Hubert of the University College of Estate Management thanked the Scholars and Laing O’Rourke for sponsoring the evening and explained their plans for their respective organisations, which absolutely resonated with the topics presented. Our Middle Warden Arthur Seymour spoke on behalf of the Master, thanking the Scholars, Bob, and all contributors to the evening and reflecting on both topics and his own experience of how the industry has developed over his career – a long time, there was mention of Architects drawing by hand!
Bob then presented the awards to the two worthy Scholars and closed the formal part of the evening ahead of drinks, canapé’s and networking. Fair to say on behalf of all members following such a fantastic evening we are very much looking forwards to the Sir Ian Dixon Scholarship Presentation evening next week.”