What does engineering mean to you?

Jon Belfield, President of the Building Controls Industry Association talks about his new role and how the Year of Engineering shares his vision in putting engineering on the map…

To be elected as President of the BCIA is a big honour for me. With over 20 years’ experience in the building controls sector, those who know me well, will understand my passion for engineering. I am also a keen advocate of training and recognising the importance of professional development. As I see it, tying the two together is critical in developing the future of the building controls industry…

When I discovered 2018 was the official Year of Engineering, I couldn’t have been more pleased, as I knew it would enable me to share my vision around the role of engineering and how to attract more young talent to the sector.
I am proud to announce that the BCIA is an official partner of the “Year of Engineering”. The official government campaign celebrates the wonders of engineering, aims to tackle the growing skills gap and inspire the engineers of tomorrow.

Those of us who work in engineering or come from an engineering background can fully appreciate the complexities and variety of the role. But the same can’t always be said of the wider public. There are still a lot of misconceptions surrounding engineering; such as manual labour, hard hats and hi-vis jackets…and whilst these elements exist and are important they don’t define ‘engineering’. Engineering remains the art of solving the technical problem collectively.

Another common misconception is that engineering is not traditionally viewed as a career for women. But there are an increasing number of female engineers achieving great things at every level of the process in the building controls sector.

Changing perceptions is no easy feat…but the purpose of this national campaign can really help to put engineering on the map and present the many positives that are attributed to working in this field. Crucially, it provides an understanding of what an engineer actually does across many sectors.

A career as a building controls engineer is dynamic and creative – with endless opportunities to work on exciting projects which ultimately make a huge difference to peoples’ lives.

A building controls engineer may typically install, commission or repair controls which manage the environmental services within a range of buildings to help improve the comfort for occupants and lower costs for the owner.

How many other jobs offer you the chance to work in football stadiums, historic buildings, or cutting-edge infrastructure?

They say variety is the spice of life and working in controls engineering means no two days are the same. Different locations and fresh challenges…this is what keeps the brain ticking and people motivated.

It’s no secret that the engineering sector in the UK is facing a skills shortage, in fact Engineering UK report that there is a need for 1.8 million engineers across all sectors by 2025 – what a terrific opportunity!

Helping to increase young and new talent into the building controls industry is something that we all need to embrace to bridge the skills gap. The “Year of Engineering” is a gentle nudge for everyone to showcase how working in this environment can be fun, intriguing, complex but most of all worthwhile.

Being an ambassador can inspire the next budding crop of engineers. Just take a moment to think about what engineering means to you…from your early school days, compared to today…There is a journey to be had for so many potential recruits, so let’s do our bit to get them on the open road to success.