Gordon Gilchrist: A workforce strategy for the Building Standards verification service



Gordon Gilchrist provides the latest blog from the Scottish Government’s Building Standards Division with an update on the Workforce Strategy.

Leading up to March this year, Building Standards Division was full steam ahead with preparations to launch the workforce strategy. So much work was in place to make sure the strategy would be ready for its planned launch at the end of May. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic we had to take the decision to postpone the launch. However, work to ensure the strategy is in the best place it can be has not stopped.

One major achievement was the positive and constructive feedback we received from building standards staff and local authority HR leads on the strategy and what it aims to achieve. We received a full range of views and suggestions; all were appreciated and we have considered each one carefully. The final version has been influenced by these comments.

We have also developed a project management approach to help organise delivery of the actions. We have created five core projects by identifying links in related actions. This progress has been accomplished by working together with Local Authority Building Standards Scotland (LABSS). Their input has been vital in the overall development of the strategy and how delivery will progress following the launch.

Our main aim is that the strategy will enrich the profession for years to come. We will initially focus on two projects, Promoting the Building Standards Profession and Implementing the Competency Assessment System (CAS). We have taken this approach as we are fully aware of the impact the pandemic has had on every building standards team. The priority projects are achievable in the first year and will not over burden anyone with additional work.

We will be writing to building standards teams shortly with information on the projects and the project management of them. Eventually, we will be looking for volunteers to help with delivery by getting involved in different parts of each project.

As part of the promotion of the Building Standards Profession project we are planning to recruit local authority verifier staff members working in different roles to become Ambassadors of the profession. The aim of the Ambassador role is to raise the profile of building standards as a career and build awareness of the profession amongst young people in Scotland. More on this to come after the launch.

We are now working towards a launch date of Thursday 1 October 2020. This will be online with a news release and social media posts to bring the strategy to life. Later in November, Skills Development Scotland’s My World of Work Live team and members of Building Standards staff from City of Edinburgh Council will take part in a virtual ‘Meet the Expert’ session. My World of Work is the online home for career information and advice for people at all stages of their careers.

This will be our first public event to promote the profession. The purpose of the session is to give young people a better understanding of the building standards profession, explain what it is like to work in building standards on a day-to-day basis and allow the audience to ask questions. It should be a great event and one that we can replicate in the future.

Please look out for our launch on 1 October 2020.