Coming into an industry like ours can be tough for any young engineer, and anyone who has begun an apprenticeship and booked themselves on to training courses in the past year will have had the start of their careers interrupted. Whether you’re a school leaver just starting out or someone seeking a mid-life career change, it can be both exciting and daunting as you embark on what hopefully becomes a rewarding and fulfilling career. A disruption as big as the Coronavirus pandemic, which none of us could have predicted, will have therefore come as a severe blow, as schools, colleges, universities and other educational facilities were closed, including the BCIA’s Training Centre in Peterborough. However, “The Show Must Go On”, as Queen once sang, and it therefore gave us great pleasure to announce that the BCIA’s full suite of training courses are now available online.
Training obviously plays a very important part in the advancement of our industry and the BCIA has long been a supporter of its benefits. The introduction of online training means that the BCIA can continue to respond to the demands of the industry and the needs of everyone within it, even during the lockdown period.
The lockdown period has affected us all in different ways, and not seeing friends, family and the people we work with has been difficult to deal with, even more so for people who live alone. Communication platforms like Zoom, Houseparty and FaceTime have helped us all stay in contact with each other. Whether it’s a quick catch up or a fun weekly quiz, interaction with other people helps us maintain a sense of normality. I recently wrote about mental health in our industry and how maintaining an active body and mind, through work or exercise, can help people deal with mental health issues. The availability of our courses online, through webinars hosted on Zoom, means aspiring engineers can continue with their training and keep their minds fresh and ready for when we all go back to work.
In addition to training, it is important that we keep talking as an industry and look out for each other. Trainees need encouragement and nurturing, especially if they have been temporarily placed on furlough, and perhaps by implementing mentor/buddy systems within organisations we can ensure nobody is left feeling alone and despondent. For our industry to thrive, a professional, knowledgeable and, most importantly, healthy workforce is required, as smart buildings and building controls are going to play a crucial role as the world adapts to new ways of working. I will discuss this last point in further detail in a later blog.