Retiring CABE Learning Director John Barfoot looks back

As you read this, I will be enjoying the first month of my retirement. I have been privileged to have been part of the CABE team for five years, first as a non-executive on the board representing academic partners and latterly as Learning, Education and Academic Director.

I first encountered CABE when I was head of Design and the Built Environment at Solent University in Southampton. I could see the impact that working with professional bodies had on my students, helping them to see the opportunities beyond university and the value of being part of a thriving professional organisation. Clearly there is also a huge benefit to CABE to connect with students as early as possible in their studies and to build strong academic partnerships.

When I joined CABE, the focus was on supporting full-time academic students at university. This has been broadened and now includes part-time courses, apprenticeships and independent training providers. This has given CABE a wider reach, creating opportunities to support research and academic publication as well as involvement in international academic conferences. It has helped CABE set up an academic route to chartered registration status and a highly effective Engineering Council Academic Panel, chaired by Dr Ramesh Marasini of Buckinghamshire New University and supported by Dr John Littlewood of Cardiff Metropolitan University,

Dr Sharifah Fairuz Syed Fadzil of Universiti Sains Malaysia, and Tim Bennett of University College of Estate Management.

In the past two years, student members have increased from 1,400 to more than 2,300; 160 of them gained through working with SAVA, the leading training provider for residential surveyors. Through the accreditation and reaccreditation of more than 150 courses, CABE is helping to meet the skills gap. In fact, by May 2023 more than 230 new apprentices will have become building control officers through a CABE/University of Wolverhampton apprenticeship scheme. One of the legacies I am most proud of is CABE’s now firmly established network of academic partners. CABE is in a privileged position to join the dots between academic and industry partners and add a unique value.

CPD and competency remain the biggest challenge in the construction sector post Grenfell. Having been involved with member development and CPD, I urge members to prioritise both to stay ahead of the curve. Speaking of challenges, I’m proud to say CABE was able to support members through the pandemic via the Community and the Benevolent Fund; through the hundreds of Zoom presentations, I certainly felt we were able to connect with more students than we might ordinarily have done. Also, CABE has developed a significant academic and professional presence in the Asia Pacific region thanks to Vivian Sie and the CABE Hong Kong/Malaysia Chapters. I’m looking forward to the second Malaysia virtual academic conference in May.

It’s been great to know that this work will continue in the safe hands of Alison Duckles and her team. I consider CABE colleagues and members as friends and will continue my support in any way I can. I look forward to what the next five years has in store.

I first encountered CABE when I was head of Design and the Built Environment at Solent University in Southampton. I could see the impact that working with professional bodies had on my students, helping them to see the opportunities beyond university and the value of being part of a thriving professional organisation. Clearly there is also a huge benefit to CABE to connect with students as early as possible in their studies and to build strong academic partnerships.

When I joined CABE, the focus was on supporting full-time academic students at university. This has been broadened and now includes part-time courses, apprenticeships and independent training providers. This has given CABE a wider reach, creating opportunities to support research and academic publication as well as involvement in international academic conferences. It has helped CABE set up an academic route to chartered registration status and a highly effective Engineering Council Academic Panel, chaired by Dr Ramesh Marasini of Buckinghamshire New University and supported by Dr John Littlewood of Cardiff Metropolitan University,

Dr Sharifah Fairuz Syed Fadzil of Universiti Sains Malaysia, and Tim Bennett of University College of Estate Management.

In the past two years, student members have increased from 1,400 to more than 2,300; 160 of them gained through working with SAVA, the leading training provider for residential surveyors. Through the accreditation and reaccreditation of more than 150 courses, CABE is helping to meet the skills gap. In fact, by May 2023 more than 230 new apprentices will have become building control officers through a CABE/University of Wolverhampton apprenticeship scheme. One of the legacies I am most proud of is CABE’s now firmly established network of academic partners. CABE is in a privileged position to join the dots between academic and industry partners and add a unique value.

CPD and competency remain the biggest challenge in the construction sector post Grenfell. Having been involved with member development and CPD, I urge members to prioritise both to stay ahead of the curve. Speaking of challenges, I’m proud to say CABE was able to support members through the pandemic via the Community and the Benevolent Fund; through the hundreds of Zoom presentations, I certainly felt we were able to connect with more students than we might ordinarily have done. Also, CABE has developed a significant academic and professional presence in the Asia Pacific region thanks to Vivian Sie and the CABE Hong Kong/Malaysia Chapters. I’m looking forward to the second Malaysia virtual academic conference in May.

It’s been great to know that this work will continue in the safe hands of Alison Duckles and her team. I consider CABE colleagues and members as friends and will continue my support in any way I can. I look forward to what the next five years has in store.

John Barfoot
FCABE Chartered Building Engineer

Image credit | Sam-Kerr

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