Saturday, 26 January 2013

We survived the G4C Employability event!

So Thursday night, we held a G4C Employability event at Sheffield Hallam University.

It actually went quite well!

On the build up to any event that I'm taking part in (especially any where I have some responsibility) I do tend to become slightly more nervous than usual.

Plus for this one there was the added factors of:

  • I'd never been to the venue before
  • I'd not met most of the presenters in person before
  • We included a speed networking session, which I'd never organised before (or indeed attended before!)
  • We were looking at having a far larger event than anything G4C in the region had done before
  • I wasn't able to, if all else failed, do everything myself!

This last one might sound odd, but I was very much aware that in this case we had a decent group of people spending their evening coming to this event and I wanted it not to be a waste of their time (especially for the students as it happened to be the evening before their exams!).  I've certainly been to events in the past where, for what ever reason, I've not been engaged.

As it happens, the event went even better than I'd hoped it might, which is (in particular) down to:

  • Sheffield Hallam, Tony Cheetham, their lecturers, caterers and their alumni team for the venue, making sure everything ran smoothly, encouraging their students to attend and putting out drinks!
  • Paul Jackman of Thorn Baker and Hayley Smith of Mason Clark for presenting at the event
  • Mark Taylor of Mott MacDonald for helping us out with the cost of refreshments as well as bringing along information about opportunities
  • Caroline Key of George Hurst & Sons for generally sorting everything out, as well as on the night making sure no one got in without signing!
  • Lisa Martin of Leeds City Council for having the idea for the topic of the event in the first place
  • Megan Clough of East Riding of Yorkshire Council for filming and photographing the event (and thanks to Alex the photographer who lent Megan a clip to fix her camera to her tripod!)
  • YORhub and its various framework contractors and consultants that attended to share their knowledge with the students
  • The many groups and people that promoted the event for us, be it putting it on their website, emailing details out to their contacts or members, or however else they helped us
  • The students for attending!

Many apologies to anyone that I've missed out!

I honestly can't remember why I was pretending to be a mime holding a two litre bottle of lemonade.

Personally I can say that I was really impressed by the students, they were really keen to take the opportunity to speak to people in the construction industry and ask pertinent questions.  It was clear that they really wanted to attend the event and weren't just coming along because their lecturer was pushing them to and I do hope that everyone got something out of it.

Feedback wise the event scored something like 7.9 out of 10 which I'm happy with bearing in mind that as it happened I think the speed networking could have gone better - probably if I'd left the room arrangement alone when I arrived and didn't squash all the chairs together that would have helped (but I was worried that we'd have the full 67 registered people turn up and we'd have to make room for them, as it happened the 45 that turned up was just the right number) and we probably tried to pack a little bit too much into the event, but I certainly think we can learn from the event to improve future ones.  Nevertheless I found the speed networking really interesting and would definitely consider doing again in the future.

Mott MacDonald Sheffield
While walking around Sheffield on the day I walked past Mott MacDonald's offices.  I took the photo because one of the G4C Yorkshire committee members is based here.  What the photo doesn't tell you is that he wasn't in the office at the time.

Permissive Path
I also noticed this sign highlighting a route was a permissive path.  I now know what a permissive path is, but at the time it sounded faintly tantalising.  It probably means that I ought to go and study English again.

So what next for G4C in Yorkshire?  We've got an event on avoiding contractual disputes arranged for the 9th of May in Leeds, being delivered by Addleshaw Goddard, and I think contracts is a really key and overlooked issue in construction - whatever discipline you work in the construction industry, you're going to come into contact with contracts, and be affected by contracts, and I think at least a certain level of awareness of contracts is really necessary for any construction professional (and that's including site teams as well, certainly anyone looking to become a site manager).  Again it's going to be fairly introductory level and we'll be intending to attract a good number of students to the event as well as newly qualified professionals.

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