Know your value – and ask for it!

November 1, 2018

When it comes to Building the Future, Helen Whitfield, chief operating officer at NBS, is on a mission to raise, encourage and fuelthe ambitions of the next generation of North East talent…

On Ada Lovelace Day 2018, I travelled to London for the annual Founders4Schools Awards, where I was delighted and honoured to collect the Community Award on behalf of the North East.

The award recognised the great and ongoing work that has resulted in an incredible 992 per cent increase in students in the region who met with business leaders in their community in the past 12 months.

It just shows that if you have people in theroom who want to make a difference, thingscan happen pretty quickly.

I see my role as a business leader being to improve visibility of job roles and opportunities, and I bring ideas on how to achieve this back into the business. So many of my colleagues have given their own free time to support this work and it’s wonderful to see them getting so much out of it too, and bringing that positivity and energy back into the business.

Right from the beginning, NBS has been a place where opportunities for all are fostered.

We’re a homegrown business that empowers the construction industry through specialist knowledge and by using the very latest technologies to make that knowledge accessible to our customers in the UK and overseas.

Our business is all about innovation and supporting our customers on a long-term basis. We must keep ahead of the latest developments, in order to provide the best tools and service possible.

In June, we secured £31.8 million of investment from LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, to support the business in delivering future product development and international growth plans.

Two months later, in August, we released NBS Chorus, our first Cloud-based specification platform which enables us to stay responsive to the changing needs of our business, playing a pivotal role in supporting global design and construction and driving the industry forward.

At NBS, we’re proudly bound to the NorthEast and see our head office as a centre ofexcellence, talent and skills for our business.

I was horrified by a report which revealed many of our young people find it almostimpossible to escape the poverty they were born into by chance – yet many live within three miles of the city centre where a thriving digital business community is in rapid development, and where quality jobs and careers exist.

We need to be shouting about and sharing the opportunities that are out there. Letting them know that this can be for them, and encouraging them to reach as high as they want to.

Already this year, the NBS team has hosted and participated in more than 25 studentevents, 15 staff have volunteered to be mentorsat the new UTC school and through our involvement with Great Exhibition of the North, we engaged with more than 1800 school children from across the region.

I want to make sure the highly-skilled talent we need in the future comes from the North East.

At NBS, we have people from all backgrounds and all genders pushing through in STEM roles. There’s always more work to be done, but we’re doing well. You have to have diversity; you get a better quality of teamwork, communication, and interactions across the business. That’s not an opinion; it’s proven.

I love the saying: ‘Know your value and ask for it’. Of course, you have to deliver against it as well – but getting young people to believe in their own worth and giving them the tools to fuel their ambition is a great place to start..


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