Empowering the construction industry

April 3, 2018

Phil Scott, head of software development at NBS, reflects on how changing technology has shaped the construction industry and the importance of passion for STEM in the next generation

I’ve come a long way since I started as an apprentice at NBS in 2005. Now, as head of software development, I’ve seen the enormous impact technology has had on our business and the wider construction industry. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the need for passionate technology professionals who are dedicated to their sector.

Over the last 13 years, I’ve seen vast changes taking place. There are so many new technologies available that if you don’t stay focused, you’ll risk losing ground to others. When I started at NBS, cloud technology was just beginning to come into mainstream business. Now, with our adoption of cloud technologies, we’ve been able to stay responsive to the changing needs of our business and to help revolutionise the way construction professionals work.

NBS empower the construction industry through specialist knowledge and by utilising the latest advances in technology, we are able to make this knowledge available to customers in the right place and at the right time. We have digitised the ability to access the latest construction standards, improved efficient specification writing and helped construction professionals with accessing the latest manufacturer product data. We’ve partnered with global organisations such as Autodesk to allow whole construction teams to collaborate and share 3D construction models directly through the web browser. All of these together are really helping push the construction industry forward.

All industries now rely on technology in some form or another, but it is how they apply this technology to enhance their industry that is truly remarkable. If we adopt technology in the right way, it can really help provide businesses and employees with new opportunities to grow. NBS has utilised technology in many different ways to support its global growth. The benefits we have seen range from automating processes for reliability and efficiency purposes, improving security of our products and data, aiding effective communication as we expand across Australia and Canada, as well as enabling us to create brand new roles and opportunities in the North East.

Despite the constant changes in technologies the one thing that remains unchanged is the need for STEM professionals to be passionate about their industry.

When I’m hiring new colleagues for our software development team, I look out for proactive and self-motivated candidates who have perhaps built their own websites, games, contributed to open source projects or learned a specific technology in their own time. It shows a real appetite for their subject of choice and a desire to push boundaries.

It’s important that young people are supported into STEM careers by teachers and mentors who recognise their dedication to the subject and can encourage their growth. It’s really reassuring for me when I visit local schools to talk about careers in STEM, to see how the pupils respond to the interactive tasks and demonstrate how they get involved with coding at such a young age.

NBS has been involved in various schemes in the region to help give students exposure to careers that are available within STEM industries. We’ve worked with NE1 to host and participate in STEM events, are big supporters of the upcoming UTC College and are sponsors of the PlanBEE initiative, which is an intense higher apprenticeship programme. This is a great initiative that means students work for the industry’s leading companies, getting on- and off-the-job training and earning from day one. They are fast-tracked to graduation and are guaranteed a job opportunity on completion.

After all, there isn’t just one route into a career and it’s vital that students are aware of the different journeys people have taken in

their respective careers. You don’t always need to attend university straight from school or college to be successful in your field. There are now so many options for routes into employment that providing opportunities to students from a mix of backgrounds will ensure that the next generation of STEM professionals will help advance the sector more than ever before and I look forward to welcoming many more to the NBS team.


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