Kevin Mitchell argues that the Covid-19 pandemic and concerns about climate change should be seen as important drivers to build a more diverse workforce
The new president of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) says the issue of delivering healthy and resilient buildings “has never mattered more” in society.
Kevin Mitchell, the incoming president of the body, said fresh expertise was needed to address the challenges posed by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the issue of climate change and the need to mitigate the increasing likelihood of adverse weather conditions.
Mr Mitchell added that delivering safe and healthier homes, offices and indoor spaces was not just important as a response to the Covid pandemic, but also to better protect society against any future public health and safety issues.
The comments were made by Mr Mitchell as part of his inaugural address as CIBSE president.
He is taking over the position from Kevin Kelly in a year that will mark the 125th anniversary of the organisation.
During the speech, Mr Mitchell said it would now be vital to ensure that the next generation of engineers that are joining the building engineering sector are inspired and supported to help address the technical and scientific challenges in improving buildings. This would ensure the industry was better able to address health and sustainability concerns.
He said, “Research shows that the most talented young people – those who have a choice of profession – are increasingly drawn to careers where they believe their work will have a positive impact on the world. I would argue that there are few careers that offer more opportunity to deliver real change than that of a Building Services Engineer.”
“If we can inspire people to join us – people from a range of backgrounds who reflect the communities we serve – if we can do that, our ability to problem solve and innovate will increase exponentially”.
CIBSE’s new president said that the main priorities for his tenure would be focused on expanding and diversifying the expertise within the building engineering sector, as well as highlighting the sector’s importance to the decarbonisation of the UK and improving national resilience to climate change.
‘Better buildings’ focus
The concept of creating lower carbon buildings, while also ensuring occupants are safe, comfortable and more productive in them, was the central theme of this year’s H&V News spring summit.
The 2022 Better Buildings Summit heard from a range of expert speakers about how more holistic thinking was needed across the sector to meet revised targets around safety, indoor air quality and the operational performance of homes and offices concerning energy use and carbon emissions.