The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) is jumping on-board the Minecraft wagon, to engage in the future of the construction industry. With such a skills shortage, it is essential that the UK looks to the future, as skills shortage is at ‘breaking point’.
Construction game targeted at 12-14 year olds
The CIOB have been developing a construction game targeted at 12-14 year olds that takes place within the world of Minecraft. The concept has been titled ‘Craft your future. It allows young learners to utilise something they enjoy, whilst learning methods and skills of a construction manager, therefore creating a path into the construction industry.
As with any trade, it is always vital to engage the next generation, but with over 400,000 workers within the construction industry due to retire between 2018 and 2023, the skills shortage may become more acute than ever, in an industry that is already struggling.
Confronting construction issues and playing a computer game
Teachers can download four different Minecraft lessons via the Minecraft Education Platform. The lessons challenge the students to tackle current issues, ripe in cities today.
The lessons take place in Newtown, a specially created virtual city in Minecraft, to design, plan, collaborate and build solutions that develop a sustainable future for all its citizens. Exercises also include real life scenarios like the challenge of restoring Battersea Power Station.
Bridget Bartlett, Deputy Chief Executive at the CIOB said: “Combining Minecraft and a thorough curriculum for the teacher makes for a unique and immersive experience and will help reveal why the industry is important and why a career in construction can be so rewarding. There are 70 million people playing Minecraft and just like Lego it has the capacity to inspire and attract a new wave of construction managers into an ever-increasing digital industry.
Have fun, but also develop skills that the construction industry has high demand for
“What is exciting is that these young learners will not only have fun but also develop their communication, team working and mathematics skills; skills that construction has a high demand for. The lessons are designed to be teacher friendly and we hope construction employers will also want to use them in schools as they bid to switch the next generation onto a career in construction.”
Jennifer Macdonald, BIM Researcher, Consultant and Lecturer in Construction Project Management at the University of Technology Sydney said that the use of Minecraft could play a key role in encouraging children into thinking about a career in construction. She said: “Minecraft is a very interesting game and it seems to attract girls as well as boys; it’s not seen as a boy’s game or a girl’s game and I think that’s something that’s really positive about it.
Building block to kickstart interest in Construction
In our current day, where children and adults are fascinated by computers, it require a new way of thinking. Bring the industry to the trend seems the best way to get the interest back in construction. We also need to educate our youth. How many schools know what a Construction Manager do? How many inspire the children to become a house builder? Maybe Minecraft will be the new building block required to kickstart interest in the construction industry. Other methods include VR, which shows the industry is listening, and looking to capture the imagination of out future in construction.