Attracting future generations to a career in an industry which is often perceived as dry and conventional has proved thus far to be a challenge.
There is an apparent view of the design and draughting industry that still doesn’t sit well with youngsters, which seems surprising given the advancements that now require draughts people to possess a technological skillset. Millennials who have grown up surrounded in a world of technology don’t sit down and question the emerging role of 3D software and BIM, they just accept it.
So as news spreads of a pilot phase development of Minecraft, dubbed BeIMCraft, a ‘mod’ of the hugely popular and successful game, it comes as a welcome platform to engage a younger generation. It incorporates the basic gameplay of Minecraft whilst adding in the element which realistically mirrors aspects of real world practice by reflecting key aspects of the BIM workflow within the game.
It means students are unsuspectingly being exposed to a world of collaboration, planning issues, structural aspects and even health and safety risks whilst at play. Making issues such as the necessity of foundations for buildings or stability of tall structures an integral part of gameplay adds an extra challenge to overcome when creating a 3D world.
Hopefully it is something that can be emphasised by the industry as an opportunity to get more people thinking about BIM as a career.
Incorporating software and gaming along these lines into traditional IT and design technology curriculums would mean exposing young people to a part of industry that they may not have had prior recognition of. Allowing teachers to set design briefs and budgets and students working in teams to achieve a particular outcome and appreciating costs, timings, site constraints and sustainability is mirroring a real-life project. Even at its most basic level it is encouraging problem-solving skills and mind-sets which are essential in a range of areas within the industry.
After setting up our own CAD/BIM training academy in 2011, which specialises in delivering apprenticeships to 16-18 year olds, we have seen personally the battle in engage a younger audience and encourage them into a job and career in the industry.
Taking steps to make the construction world appear more accessible and a conceivable career for young people is paramount. By using popular culture references and adding something as untold as BIM into the Minecraft mix you are inviting a new age into the construction fold.
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