Umar Farooq: Discovering the next generation of Scottish construction leaders

Umar Farooq: Discovering the next generation of Scottish construction leaders

Umar Farooq

This month’s Chartered Institute of Building Column for SCN sees Umar Farooq share his experiences of the CIOB Tomorrow’s Leaders community.

Having had a long-standing passion for the construction industry, I always wanted to find a platform which would allow me to contribute to more than just my job.

I have been fortunate to work in both client, main contractor, and consultancy-side project management in a short period, and while working full-time and studying it’s given me a 360 view of all sides of project management within the industry.

On reflection, I went through a particularly challenging period in my life in high school. Sadly, my mother became seriously ill and passed away, and at the time I did not have the right career advice given to me to help me progress.

While I had to do things my way, that experience is part of what motivated me to start a career in the construction industry.

Further into my career, I joined the Chartered Institute of Building’s Tomorrow’s Leaders community – helping others with the right advice and pointed towards a rewarding career in the construction industry.

For those who have not heard of Tomorrow’s Leaders before, it is a community for people in the construction industry who want to unearth their leadership potential and use their knowledge and wisdom to encourage others.

Joining the Tomorrow’s Leaders community here in Scotland is also a great way to expand your network, meet your peers and learn more about the sector.

Tomorrow’s Leaders events include visits to interesting project sites and formal networking opportunities, but they also include informal events so members get a chance to know their colleagues better.

The initiative focuses on building professionalism and enhancing the pipeline of high-quality construction talent, whether that be through inspiring young people in schools or working with universities to help students who already have a keen interest in getting their foot on the ladder.

It is no secret that Scotland, like so many other parts of the world, is facing a significant skills shortage. Data from the Construction Industry Training Board suggests we need thousands of new workers every year by 2027 just to satisfy the existing demand.

However, our Tomorrow’s Leaders community is taking action to help close the skills gap. We need more young people in Scotland to be excited about the diverse and interesting careers available to them across the construction sector.

We are currently working to develop initiatives to work with schools across Scotland to go and speak to students to tell them more about we what do and the many great reasons to be excited about a career in construction.

The initiatives that Tomorrow’s Leaders take on are developed by the community itself. So, joining Tomorrow’s Leaders in Scotland is a great way to directly influence the programming and events that we do.

But the community is more than just helping others – there is a variety of resources available to help develop your skillset too.

Another reason I was keen to sign up was the unique access to internal training within CIOB, accredited external courses and the variety of site visits on offer to see first-hand some of the most exciting construction sites Scotland has to offer.

CIOB offers more than 500 free and discounted events both in-person and online, meaning members can benefit from the opportunity to network with industry-leading specialists, gain new experiences and benefit from new skills.

Clearly, there are so many benefits for both yourself as an individual and the future of the industry by joining the Tomorrow’s Leaders community, which is why I am encouraging more people to sign up and help shape the sector.

Student members of CIOB are automatically enrolled in the Tomorrow’s Leaders community and other membership grades can sign up. For those looking to play an active role, there are opportunities to become a Representative, Champion or Construction Ambassador, depending on the type of role which suits your ambitions.

For more information and to sign up, visit:

  • Umar Farooq is a construction project manager from Edinburgh currently working for a multi-disciplinary construction consultancy where he works on a range of developments. He is also a member of the CIOB Tomorrow’s Leaders community, and soon to be a Tomorrow’s Leaders Champion.
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