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Blog: G4C Future Leader SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - Ruth Biddulph (Bowmer + Kirkland)

09 June 2020

sponsored by Innovative Future Leaders Programme (IFLP)

G4C Future Leader SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - Ruth Biddulph (Bowmer + Kirkland)

Although happy with her emplyer Bowmer + Kirkland Limited, Ruth realised when she was asked to be a mentor for a student embarking on the new Quantity Surveying Degree Apprenticeship that some staff training changes were required.

About Ruth

Ruth is currently responsible for a £48m office development which includes 2 office buildings and a multi-story car park. She has a team of QSs and is responsible for all commercial and contractual aspects of this project from inception through to completion. Ruth is also working on a £40m residential scheme for the YMCA in Milton Keynes and will eventually oversee when the Assistant / Project QS is assigned to the project.

Ruth is also a regional BIM champion, CSR champion, responsible for all local school engagement and work experience placements as well as overseeing regional training. She volunteers with E4E (a not-for-profit organisation) delivering various training programmes to local schools such as CV workshops and enterprise days and helps the RICS Future Talent department with their employer forum days where she shares how B+K have updated their training to suit the apprenticeship degree.

Training at B+K

Whilst historically B+K have relied on a mentoring role which has been almost luck more than judgement with regards to the projects worked on and assigned mentor, the new degree apprenticeship requires a more formal training structure which includes capacity for recording progress, regular reviews with mentors and University as well as guidance for the 3rd, 4th and final year, at which point they start working towards professional status (RICS)

Ruth was involved with their sponsorship on Construction News’ 'Inspire Me' campaign on why there are so few female leaders in the industry. From this, she realised there were issues with the lack of training which restricts all staff from progressing, irrespective of gender. In order to further prevent gender-bias, she created a training matrix which could be used by all staff at all levels.

The training matrix is a document which amalgamates the requirements of a B+K Quantity Surveyor from Trainee status through to Commercial Management along with the requirements of the University and the RICS competencies. It is a holistic approach to training which allows individuals to follow a set career path but progress at their own pace. It requires each Trainee to be assigned a Mentor prior to their start at B+K, someone who they will work with during their 5-year apprenticeship degree course. Ruth has also introduced training for these mentors to ensure they are suitable for this responsibility.

In addition to the Training Matrix, Ruth has created a QS Trainee Handbook which includes information about the company, the degree programme, apprenticeships and RICS APC. She has also introduced ‘off the job learning’ days which are organised by various regions within the company and provide further learning for trainees, and which they record what they have learnt on the associated form.

With the full support of Christopher Kirkland (Main Board Member) and as a result of her close workings with him during the creation of these documents, they have set up a B+K Training Board which meets quarterly to discuss, review and further improve the training they are delivering. Her role on the Training Board has also included the introduction of a companywide E-Shot; a quarterly email which includes topical updates, project-specific lessons learnt, CPD updates and articles from Construction Journal and Modus magazine.

Ruth is also an RICS Counsellor and is currently mentoring 3 people through the APC process. She has also worked with Pearson to help develop the course content for the new T-Levels and is helping Derby College in preparing for the first T-Level intake in September this year. 


Highlights:

  • Creation and management of the B+K Training Programme designed to facilitate the successful completion of the QS Degree Apprenticeship. Introduction of a new suite of forms that the company must now use as well as regular newsletters.
  • Engagement with the local community and schools; helping out at careers events and supporting work experience students where possible. She also helps educate students in the professional careers available in the Construction Industry.
  • Commitment to B+K & the Industry and trying to improve the way the company and industry do things.

About the G4C Future Leader Award: 

G4C is a driving force for industry change, through the development and connection of future industry leaders. The award is open to a person with less than ten years of experience in the construction and built environment sector (typically less than 35 years of age). Judges are looking for the person that best demonstrates a positive impact on their peers, their organisation and the wider industry, against current G4C priority areas of people development, sustainability and innovation.

> Find out more about the other finalists here

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