An open letter to my students


          We were talking the other day about the current situation and the likely effect it will have on employment opportunities in the construction industry. Here is my view of the future for your consideration and comment. (these thoughts are general and apply to all sectors)


          As you know, I live in a parallel universe that has grown out of working for myself all of my life, with no one to else to answer to, other than customers and my family.


Ten years ago, unexpectedly, I took a fork in the road that was signposted, ‘sustainability via quality’. This was at the time the Regional Development Agency was consulting on a Strategy to 2020 and I wrote in my submission.


          “……………….This is evident in the terms in which the Regional Development Strategy is expressed and from this point of view it is to be welcomed. A basically economic document, it has been woven to include the strands of environmental and socially sustainable development.


                The basic weakness of the strategy is that it assumes that the global economy will continue growing in the traditional way and takes no account of a genuine move to global or regional sustainability………….


                ………………… To achieve this will require a revolution in the design and exploitation of environmental technology and the efficient use and recycling of all and especially non-renewable resources. Industry must be made to see that these issues are a way of gaining competitive advantage in the next century, not a burden.


                Society must be educated to create and sustain a community based on increasing well being and not on material gain, which time has shown does not lead to human happiness.


                An ‘economy’ such as this will lead to increased social and environmental profit and, there is no reason to doubt, monetary profit.”


          Our failure to educate ourselves to understand the concept of ‘quality’, its core tenet of the ‘costs of less than perfect quality’ and critically the risks and possible costs of failure, has led us to the position we are in now.


          In addition, resource constraints will ensure that we will not have a viable economic future unless we come to terms with the ‘first law of sustainability’, that in a resource constrained environment, goods and services can only grow at the rate at which they can be dematerialized’


          Humans as a species are innately creative, ingenious and enterprising and this, barring no Doomsday event, will ensure some organisations, communities and societies will prosper in the future.


          The comment was made that there are no jobs out there for, paraphrasing, ‘resource intensity reduction’ managers, and this is true, as society had not yet realised that this what it needs most, and urgently.


          In my universe, this is exactly what those who truly understand quality do, they work to maximize the value added to society resulting from the creation, use and disposal of products and services, whilst working to continually reduce the ‘loss to society’ that results.


          People that recognise this, and incorporate it into their approach to employment are the ones who will secure the work that will be out there, and will be the ones who will enable our future as a society.






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