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BESA president warns against “business as usual”

UK: Neil Brackenridge, the new president of the Building Engineering Services Association, says it’s vital the industry does not return to “business as usual” following the current Covid-19 crisis.

Speaking at the association’s AGM, Brackenridge, who is MEP regional director Midlands and North at Wates Group, called for contractors to harness the “unity of purpose” displayed during the pandemic to create a better future.

“We saw a new model for co-operative working on the NHS Nightingale emergency hospital projects. Let’s harness that unity of purpose to create a new collaborative model for all projects from now on.”

He said that the spirit of co-operation and mutual support could also be used to inspire a whole new generation of engineers.

“Young people will be more inclined towards careers in building engineering if they see us making a difference in this way and working together for the greater good,” said Mr Brackenridge, who also pointed out the significance of the Prime Minister making support for apprenticeships a key part of his strategy for economic recovery.

“Young people have been disproportionately impacted by the crisis and we are in danger of losing yet another cohort of apprentices. Employers must reflect on this and recognise that we will need this new generation to help us rebuild,” he added.

Brackenridge was chair of the BESA North West region from 2017 to 2019 and has been BESA national education committee and skills partnership chair since 2017.

His career has included work for Imtech, CHt, SES and Rosser & Russell after commencing his career as a craft apprentice with Crown House Engineering.

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