The UK Research & Innovation Council (UKRI) has formally recognised the ACE Future of Consultancy campaign, with a pledge to collaborate with and sponsor it as part of the Construction Sector Deal’s Transforming Construction programme.
The two-year multi-phased campaign will help the entire consultancy and engineering sector not only adapt to, but welcome, a new era of design and delivery in the built environment.
UKRI has agreed to contribute to the project and will provide additional support throughout the campaign by sharing its expertise and knowledge.
The first phase will scope new areas of opportunity, identify and explore new business models for consultancy, and analyse the sector’s changing needs in terms of skills.
The second will implement the findings from phase one and focus on developing sustainable businesses delivering different services using different business models, and piloting tomorrow’s training, apprenticeship schemes, and contracts.
Working in partnership with members, industry stakeholders and clients from the private and public sectors, the Future of Consultancy will build on existing initiatives and research to deliver tangible outputs in assessing the addressable markets for new technology and future consultancy services. It also aims to deliver training and contracts to help ACE members and the wider industry seize the opportunities offered by technological advances in digital technology, offsite construction, big data and AI. To enable this change, the programme will provide industry-wide consensus on consultancy business models, as well as skills profiles and training requirements for the sector.
ACE’s sister organisation, the Environmental Industries Commission, which represents environmental consultancies and other sustainability businesses, will also contribute to the campaign, receiving UKRI support for research into the innovation required by the environmental sector to deliver the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.
Hannah Vickers, Chief Executive of ACE said: “We are delighted that UKRI has recognised the benefits that our Future of Consultancy campaign will have helping consultancy firms invest wisely and aligning the clients’ efforts with the Transforming Construction Programme to focus on the areas of greatest opportunity.
“We’ve taken stock of the various initiatives happening around us, including the Industrial Strategy, changes to the regulation of the industry as a result of the Hackitt Review and Project 13, and want to work with consultancy firms to develop an industry-wide vision to review and prioritise potential future opportunities in the UK and Export markets lie, and then to implement a programme to develop the capability to deliver the change.”
Craig Huntbatch, Business Line Director at Royal HaskoningDHV, and Vice Chairman of ACE who is Board Lead for the campaign, said: “Our ambitions are to go further than this, with our own strategy to make it relevant and joined up with other parts of the industry. We have already started making progress by holding a manufacturing workshop, jointly with CECA, to help us understand the challenges and opportunities that contractors see for clients through offsite manufacturing. This is about industry taking stock of the changing environment around us and implementing a plan to lead our business into a sustainable future together.”
Sam Stacey, ISCG Challenge Director of UKRI added: “The Future of Consultancy campaign being led by ACE clearly contributes to the Government’s ambitions to improve the productivity and performance of the sector through the Transforming Construction Programme. In addition, it is vital to the sustainability of the businesses in the consultancy sector. UKRI believes it will deliver real change in the industry, and we are pleased to support it.”
ACE has a variety of research projects in the pipeline which will draw together the best of existing research into a workable and deliverable programme for consultancy businesses. The long-running Consultancy & Engineering Awards also offers the opportunity to collate best practice case studies to inform the research and showcase what the future of the industry looks like.
The organisation has planned a number of other regional, national and online opportunities to meet and contribute to the debate including the Digital Leadership Conference and the inaugural Future of Consultancy Conference, both being held in June. These conferences will give delegates the opportunity to debate and discuss, and for ACE to reveal the outputs of research to date.