The skills shortage has been an ongoing concern in the construction and infrastructures sectors for a number of years. There have been many suggestions on how to solve it, from encouraging more school leavers to consider the industry to actively recruiting from a more diverse pool of candidates.

While the skills deficit remains, industry reports show some progress. This is in part due to efforts to highlight the opportunities to work with advanced technologies as well as showcasing the industry as one where women can make an impact.

It’s interesting to note that the leaders within the industry are helping drive initiatives, which highlights the value of mentorship and the role it can play in developing expertise. We share some ways in which companies can benefit from developing mentorship programmes:

Build better leaders:

The face of leadership is changing. There is a stronger emphasis for leaders to take on the role of a coach rather than a top down manager. Mentorship has dual benefits. It’s not just those being mentored that gain knowledge and skills. Being a mentor can be hugely empowering.  When you share knowledge with others, you sharpen your skills and brush up on your own knowledge. Plus the process of building relationships with industry peers, even if they’re more junior, has a way of creating new perspectives and exploring new ideas.

Build internal expertise:

One of the biggest challenges in companies is that every time an employee leaves, they take with them a wealth of knowledge and expertise. There might be some handover, but new employees take time to get up to speed. Even then their knowledge and expertise will be different. Mentoring is a way to entrench expertise in the broader organization and facilitate a better flow of knowledge. So much more can be learnt through informal conversations where people feel more comfortable asking questions.

Build employee engagement:

Having mentorship programmes demonstrates to employees on all levels that the company has a vested interest in their personal development. This improves employee engagement and retention. It also gives companies a way to get to know their employees better and understand what matters to them in terms of personal values and career progression.   

Mentoring is not a new concept, nor is it complex to implement. But the benefits have a way of compounding and benefitting the broader industry.