From education to employment

Construction experts join forces to roll out online community with free mentoring and workshops

UK-based SMEs and micro-business owners working in the construction industry supply chain are set to receive free mentoring and support via a new, online community portal.

The Innovation Driven Procurement (IDP) Community, which is set to go live this month, will offer advice from industry experts and academics as well as courses and group discussions. The aim is to help the industry work together to solve the productivity, quality, and operational challenges the supply chain face, particularly the ‘boots on the ground’.

Hosted on Mighty Networks, the channel will allow business owners to come together to share ideas, explore new concepts and ask questions, with an emphasis on collaboration. 

There is also a chance for businesses to share a problem within their operations and get support in terms of innovation to resolve it. Some 40 companies will then receive additional support with one-to-one coaching and mentoring and become Innovation Champions.

The community is an extension to the IDP Project, a partnership with Nottingham Trent University, Morgan Sindall Construction and the CITB focused on improving profits, relationships and projects. 

Originally being delivered face-to-face on Midlands-based, public sector builds, in the true spirit of collaboration, this valuable training and support is being rolled out online to all UK-contractors and their supply chain.

To support this, the IDP also released four online courses earlier this month that are now open to registration on the Supply Chain Sustainability School’s portal. Modules focus on collaborative behaviours and design, risk management and innovation and value. 

The community is set up and managed by Construction Coach, Maria Coulter, who specialises in working with SME and micro-business owners to help them grow stronger, more profitable, and happier businesses.

Maria Coulter:

“It’s a really challenging time for the industry as profit margins are being squeezed due to inflation, energy prices and skills shortages. If you’re a business owner, investing your time in this community is a fantastic way to receive free, tailored support and training. 

“We are inviting leaders to share ideas on collaboration and innovation together for the greater good of the supply chain. We look forward to hearing people’s experiences and ideas and welcome our first Innovation Champions who will become excellent examples to the industry.” 

Dr Andrew Knight, Executive Dean of the School of Architecture Design and the Built Environment for Nottingham Trent University, said:

“We are excited to launch the next stage of the IDP with Maria who is an expert in her field and expanding the reach of the excellent training to improve collaboration, productivity and innovation. 

“By working together with our project partners and extending this to the wider industry,  we are showing what can be achieved when we put our minds together to achieve a common goal. Ultimately, we want to improve the supply chain – which will ultimately help the delivery of projects and leave a lasting legacy.” 

In preparation for the community’s release date, three workshops will be available online, hosted by Maria, to help business owners think about where they can improve productivity in their business and start to generate ideas for innovation. They will also hear from someone who has innovated and the difference it has made to them. 

The community will run online from September through to the end of March, with resources available to download afterwards to leave a lasting legacy in the industry.

The IDP is also launching an app next month for site workers to access and develop their skills whilst ‘on the go’ with bite-sized and gamified modules. The aim is to improve accessibility and remove barriers such as lack of computers onsite and time constraints. It will be available to download on the Apple and Android store. 

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