"I am helping to improve diversity and social mobility in the industry" - #IamCIBSE
I am a Business Development Graduate
I am on the CIBSE Careers Panel
I am helping to improve diversity and social mobility in the industry
Abigail Roberts is a Business Development Graduate at Colt International Ltd and sits on the CIBSE Careers Panel and YEN London Committee. As part of the #IamCIBSE campaign, we spoke to her about the work she has been doing to support the building services industry.
I work as a Business Development Graduate for a specialist contractor which designs, manufactures and installs smoke ventilation and natural ventilation systems. I have been heavily involved with developing the natural ventilation aspect of the business and devising the company’s sustainability strategy, whilst also developing key relationships with architects, consultants and contractors. With a background in environment and sustainability, I have always had an interest in how this can be applied within construction. For manufacturers, there is a responsibility to consider how we adopt best practice and how we future proof and adapt to the needs of industry, so that we can ultimately strive to deliver efficient systems for buildings.
On the building services industry…
Buildings are such an integral part of our everyday lives but they all too often come under fire for their significant contribution to carbon emissions and more recently how building conditions are affecting the well-being of those who occupy them. What is quite special about the buildings services industry, is that people are designing for people, with the end-user being a priority throughout the design process to maximise safety, comfort and efficiency. Through meticulous planning and design, Building Services Engineers can create highly sophisticated buildings that play a pivotal role in breaking down barriers and driving forward sustainability within the industry. There are some brilliant examples of this taking place, the CIBSE Technical Symposium being just one, whereby industry experts come together to share cutting edge technologies and research.
On CIBSE YEN and the Careers Panel...
I became an Affiliate member of CIBSE shortly after joining the industry in January 2018 so that I could be on the receiving end of the most up to date information and essentially learn more about an industry that I didn’t previously have much knowledge about. It was through CIBSE that I learnt about the Young Engineers Network and subsequently joined the London committee in November, as I felt passionately about contributing to the industry. For me, this is an opportunity to interact with the wider cohort of YEN members, represent a manufacturer on the committee and also continue to develop my own aspirations and acknowledge areas that I feel I can add value to within the industry.
The Careers Panel is appointed by and reports to the Education Training & Membership Committee (ETMC), of which the panel work to monitor and deliver CIBSE’s Careers Development Strategy, as well as working in partnership with external construction and engineering organisations to promote careers. As a graduate recently coming into the industry, I have an appreciation for how hard it can be to kickstart your career and therefore want to be involved in advising how the industry can support and attract talent. I recently volunteered with the Construction Youth Trust to help deliver mock assessment centre sessions for students completing Higher Level and Degree apprenticeships, with a focus on improving diversity and social mobility, as well as equipping students with the guidance, experience and skills sets to help them succeed in their job applications. Through activities such as this and STEM outreach days, I think it’s important we educate future engineers at a young age so that we can showcase the opportunities available and strengthen our capabilities as an industry.
What advice would you give to someone considering beginning a career in building services?
I think becoming a member of CIBSE is a great way to start building a career in the building services industry, the environment is welcoming and diverse, and one that continues to evolve and address industry issues as a whole, meaning the knowledge transfer is vast. Utilising an institute such as CIBSE, not only adds credibility to the career path you are trying to carve but also provides a fantastic opportunity to build a network of highly skilled and experienced individuals to interact with. I also think that it’s important to say yes to opportunities and become involved with as much as you can, be open to exploring various disciplines underneath the building services umbrella to build experience, develop personally and also find what it is you’re passionate about.