Cross-sector collaboration is key

Wednesday 8 March 2017

A working group for NLA’s NextGen came together last week to discuss the future of London’s built environment professionals and how we work towards a more collaborative and dynamic industry.

Young architects, engineers, developers, planners and consultants met at The City Centre to look at how London’s built environment businesses support their next generation and how we facilitate new networks and collaborations across the industry. 

A quick round of introductions proved highly encouraging as we uncovered the breadth and scale of support provided by some organisations. From internal training programmes, workshops and mentoring, built environment businesses are doing a lot for their fresh talent. 

However the major challenge was evident, aside from initiatives like the NLA NextGen and YADA, there is a serious lack of opportunities for cross-sector collaboration early on and therefore there is a lack of understanding, amongst young professionals, of the industry beyond their chosen profession. It was unanimously agreed that the multidisciplinary nature of the industry must be recognised in education and in early professional development. 

So how do we break down these silos and create an environment for collaboration? 

Not short on ideas, we discussed ways to engage those working across the industry from a young age and encourage them to collaborate with their peers. How do we “force” networking? How do we ensure built environment business across the board recognise the benefits of external networking? How can we combine networking, mentoring, training and “learning from failure”? What we need, it became clear, is a bit of land to experiment with and a project team willing to collaborate, with a tangible product at the end. Watch this space, literally. 

With ample inspiration for the development of the NLA NextGen programme, this working group was an exemplar event for our ambition with the Programme: to create a forum for young built environment professionals working in London to come together, meet, understand each other’s challenges and make new contacts.

Lucie Murray
Programme Manager

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