As part of our monthly series in talking to industry leaders for insights and advice, we caught up with CEO of Consult Australia Megan Motto to talk about her journey so far, and some of the big trends and challenges the construction industry will face in the mid term.
Q1: What attracted you to the engineering and construction sector, and what is your greatest achievement to date?
“I come from a teaching background and initially moved in to communications before taking over as CEO at Consult Australia, the reason why I have stayed is because essentially the job is about making people’s lives better and operating in an ethical and responsible way at every step. I deal with a wide range of topics on an everyday basis such as skills and migration policy, procurement and economic policy, so every day is different which is challenging and exciting.”
Q2: What are the big challenges and trends in the construction sector right now?
“The big trends at the moment are globalisation of construction projects, with consortiums spanning across multiple continents involved in planning and execution of large scale projects, The pace of change is rapid and as a result, companies are looking to run more lean operations and diversify risk wherever possible.”
The challenges for the industry at an infrastructural level are providing stability and moving away from the boom and bust cycle. Having a pipeline of planned work allows greater capacity to ramp up and scale accordingly to demand.
Stepping down a level, boosting productivity, adapting to and embracing new technologies are key to cultural change to attract future generations into the sector.”
Q3: A recent report indicated a large drop in trade apprentice enrolment and completion rates, posing a risk to future economic growth. What in your opinion can be done to reduce this over the next 5 to ten years?
“Rebranding the industry based on core values of innovation, technology and excellence in craftsmanship. The industry is full of entrepreneurs making a positive impact and it needs to be recognised for that”.
Q4: Women have traditionally been under represented in the engineering and construction sector. Why do you believe this is, and what can be done to encourage greater numbers to consider a career in the construction sector?
“Similar to the previous question, rebranding a career in construction from dark and dirty, to one of collaboration and tech innovation and free of stereotype to make it more attractive. The spirit of entrepreneurship in the IT industry is widely recognised, the construction sector has similar traits, this needs to be recognised more“
Q5: What do you see as some of the emerging technology trends in the sector?
“Areas such as robotics, business information modelling and 3D printing are exciting new technologies. Changes in these areas represent major potential for cultural change in day to day activities in the sector. Those who embrace this and adapt will survive and succeed.”
Q6: What has been the biggest challenge for you working in the construction industry? And what lessons have you learned from them?
“The big challenges taking on culturally ingrained old school methods and mindsets, and breaking through the multi layered and faceted nature of the sector. The lessons that I have learned are that to affect change, your network must run broad and deep, both vertically and horizontally to have the required perspective.”