Sustainability education in the UK construction industry : are universities preparing construction professionals for a sustainable future?

Harris, NJ and Watts, GN ORCID: 2021, Sustainability education in the UK construction industry : are universities preparing construction professionals for a sustainable future? , in: International SEEDS Conference 2021, 1st -3rd September 2021, Leeds.

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The requirements of professional roles within the construction industry are frequently evolving to meet new demands. One such demand is the sustainability agenda. All stakeholders now have expectations pertaining to the behaviour of construction organisations. Such expectations ultimately fall to management-level employees to strategize. Whilst there are many ways to reach the management-level of an organisation, a University degree is one pathway frequently followed. Therefore, university qualifications need to prepare future professionals for both the immediate industry demands and the ability to reflect upon and update their skillsets to meet future demands.. However, University modules often cannot be updated easily in response to rapidly changing industry demands. Therefore, the problem exists that graduates may enter an industry that demands skills they do not possess. A failure to prepare graduates to meet the immediate challenges the industry faces could lead to a less productive and less responsive industry. The aim of this paper is to understand the sustainability education currently taught to construction students. This paper conducts a qualitative content analysis of the topics covered in every module undertaken from five Universities offering Professional Body accredited Construction Project Management and Quantity Surveying courses. The results then form the basis of interviews conducted with construction industry professionals with significant responsibility to hire CPM and QS graduates. Analysis reveals that whilst University modules do provide robustly and required knowledge and experience, they do not meet all current and immediate demands placed upon construction professionals; this is especially prevalent with regards to sustainability. The findings are significant as they serve to inform future module development by revealing content gaps identified by current industry professionals.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment
Journal or Publication Title: International SEEDS Conference 2021
Publisher: Leeds Sustainability Institute
Depositing User: GN Watts
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2022 13:21
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 17:15

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