The NASC AGM was held at the Intercontinental London Park Lane on Friday 24 November and saw the election of a new NASC president Des Moore (CEO Trad Group) in succession to Alan Lilley (Commercial Scaffolding Ltd) in front of a packed audience of 160 members, guests and staff.
In his welcoming speech Mr Moore thanked Mr Lilley for two years of exceptional service, and noted his contribution to growing the SME membership, also mentoring smaller organisations to achieve compliance with NASC criteria.
He went on to discuss the four key objectives of his Presidency, all of which focused on inclusivity:
1. Increase the pre-requisite for NASC membership by main contractors, developers, and national and local government agencies in tender documents.
2. Strike the right balance between the needs of both large and small companies.
3. Create mentoring and training schemes for all categories of staff, old and young. Academically gifted and those not so lucky.
4. Encourage and mentor more women into senior positions both in the NASC and across the industry in general.
Increase the pre-requisite for use of NASC members in tender documents
Mr Moore discussed the wider importance of growing the NASC membership, as this would increase the positive influence which the confederation had over the industry, and assist with promoting and achieving core aims, the most important of which was a safer industry.
He added that he intended to run a specific and targeted marketing campaign during his two year term as NASC president with a view to promoting the use of NASC members only for all projects, large and small.
Strike the right balance between the needs of large and small companies
He continued by speaking about the need to meet the needs of both small and larger member companies, noting that the voice of smaller companies should be heard and their contribution recognised, but cautioning that the importance of larger members to NASC membership should never be under-estimated.
The NASC would be proactive and ensure that it got its message across to all companies, and encourage them to be active within the NASC, noting that the confederation would be improving its communications and marketing with a view to raising the profile of the NASC.
Mr Moore stressed the importance of the NASC to the industry, noting that it was a true industry trade body with a rigorous audit process, and high standards for entry and retention of membership. The confederation had a proud record of improved accident statistics over very many years, which had helped to save lives and livelihoods.
The organisation would continue to evolve and would aim to help companies to get better at what they already did by being more responsive to the needs of members and communicating clearly and vigorously on all fronts.
Create mentoring and training schemes for all categories of staff
Mr Moore then went on to discuss his next objective, outlining his own personal journey within the industry and noting that his lack of personal qualifications had not prevented him from progressing to the role of CEO of the TRAD Group of companies.
Trad Group had a combined turnover of more than £100 million and employed over one thousand people, and was a key subsidiary of the worldwide privately-owned Altrad Group, whose owner and president Mohed Altrad would be presenting the NASC 2017 Scaffolding Project of the Year Award following his speech at the NASC Annual Ball in the evening.
He urged all present to encourage staff and operatives who had few or no academic qualifications to remain in the industry and pass on their knowledge and experience, and provide mentors to help them progress into support functions and management roles within their companies.
He stressed the importance of encouraging more young people to enter the industry and represent their companies on NASC committees, noting that greater diversity brought with it new ideas, knowledge and fresh perspectives. This was vitally important given the current CITB re-structuring exercise and the recent decision to outsource all training courses by the latter part of next year.
He commended the CITB ‘Construction Ambassador’ scheme (of which he was a member) and urged those present to consider joining.
He then touched on the ongoing ‘Mind Matters’ campaign in the construction press, noting that the mental and emotional health of the construction industry workforce could not be ignored, not least because it accounted for a third of the industry’s absences.
He personally had suffered a full breakdown earlier in his career and he was indebted to his wife Debbie for the support she had given him. He had learned valuable lessons from this experience and he urged everyone in the industry to assist in whatever way they could to raise awareness of mental health issues.
Encourage and mentor more women into senior positions in the NASC and the industry in general
In conclusion Mr Moore commented on his objective to encourage more women to pursue careers in the scaffolding sector, and particularly to participate on the various NASC standing committees. He noted that at TRAD women had been encouraged and mentored and had gone on to excel in senior positions such as surveying and estimating, supervision and contracts management, and were now represented at board level.
In connection with the above Mr Moore then congratulated Lynn Way of Chris Sedgeman Scaffolding Ltd and Chair of the NASC South West and South Wales region, on her appointment to the role of Vice President at the NASC AGM. This was a significant step forward in a predominantly male organisation, and he hoped that it would trigger greater involvement by women on the many and various NASC standing committees and working groups.