The group combines JCT’s history of leadership and collaboration to support the next generation of construction industry leaders
JCT, with its over 90-year history, is widely regarded as the UK’s leading provider of standard form contracts for the construction industry.
The most recent RIBA Construction Contracts and Law Report showed that for 59% of respondents, JCT contracts were the form their organization used most often, whilst 71% had used a JCT contract over the preceding 12 months[i].
The organisation’s extensive range includes the provision of main contracts, sub-contracts, consultant agreements, bonds and warranties, forms of tender, guides, practice notes, and other forms of documentation, to reflect and support the procurement methods and practices used by the construction industry.
JCT leads the industry with its ‘digital first’[ii] approach, enabling online access to its entire range.
As a consensus-based organisation, JCT’s membership comprises a variety of industry bodies, representing clients and local authorities, contractors, consultants, specialists, and sub-contractors.
The result of this collaborative approach is that the authoring and revision of the JCT suite of contracts relies upon the contribution of all parts of the industry, resulting in documents that are comprehensive, reflect legal precedent, and apportion risk in a fair and balanced way.
In addition to its main work, JCT plays a vital role in developing education and training resources[iii] around the understanding and use of its contracts.
The JCT Training[iv] scheme, provides a range of both in-person and online courses, as well as video modules, to support those at all levels of the industry.
The JCT Contracts Discovery[v] education module can be used as both a reference guide to the JCT process, and as a basis for education providers, colleges, and universities, to develop course materials.
The JCT Young Professionals Group (YPG)[vi], and the main subject of this article, builds on this work to specifically support professionals entering the industry for the first time.
The YPG is a membership group for those in the first 10 years of their construction career, those “young in the industry” regardless of age, and students, to provide a space for networking, shared learning, events, discussion, and to foster greater understanding of the construction contract process (as well as other industry topics), deeper connections to JCT, and encourage cross-industry collaboration.
The YPG builds on the core features that make JCT unique – its history, its collaborative approach, and its leadership - to provide a valuable resource that brings together young professionals from all sectors of the built environment.
Reflecting the wider JCT membership, the YPG has a growing number of lawyers, architects, engineers, surveyors, employers, and developers.
This allows for a truly unique opportunity where members can learn not only more about their own roles but be more informed about the context of their role in relation to the industry, gain the perspective of other professions, and, of course, form vital connections.
The central ‘hub’ for the YPG is its own dedicated online portal where members can access news, articles, videos, white papers, member ‘spotlight’ profiles and interviews, and sign-up for events.
New content areas and features of the online portal are reviewed and developed regularly. A volunteer committee of founder members work with the JCT YPG co-ordinator to set the agenda and priorities for the group in terms of content, features, and events.
Two more recent initiatives include the “Let’s catch up over JCTea” and “Spot Mentoring” schemes. “Let’s catch up for JCTea” pairs up members who have signed up to the scheme at random each month for a 15 to 20 minute online conversation.
The aim is to introduce new members, learn about some of the different disciplines that make up YPG (and JCT) membership and learn about some of the work that individual members are involved with.
The “Spot Mentoring” scheme provides an informal opportunity for casual, short, or one-off guidance sessions, where YPG members can benefit from the knowledge and experience of the construction professionals that contribute to JCT.
Events and networking opportunities are at the heart of the YPG’s work, and the group aims to provide members with a mix of online and in-person events, encompassing short talks, webinars, workshops, networking evenings, breakfast seminars and more.
The topics and speakers are chosen by listening to feedback from members and through the work of the Volunteer Leaders Committee.
Examples of some of the group’s past events include:
JCT Insurance Options - Hosted by Mark Pantry, senior associate, Fenwick Elliott
Grenfell and the Draft Building Safety Bill - Hosted by Michael Haste, director, Pascall+Watson
A Consideration of 3 Relevant Construction Matters - Hosted by Su Sharma, solicitor to Skanska UK Plc
The Future of Construction - Presented by Rob Horne and Tom Andrews, Osborne Clarke
Construction Insurance 101 - Hosted by Ryan Bond, associate, Gallagher
The Role of Digitalisation in Building a Safer Future - Presented by Dr.Marzia Bolpagni, building engineer and head of BIM International, Mace
Letters of Intent - Workshop hosted by Charles Edwards, barrister and head of chambers, Gray’s Inn Construction Chambers and New Temple Chambers
Most recently, the YPG was able to partner with some equivalent groups from the construction industry’s professional bodies, including the Chartered Institute of Building’s (CIOB) Tomorrow’s Leaders and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyor’s (RICS) Matrics UK.
In what is hoped to be the first of many cross-member-body events, the groups held a networking evening at the headquarters of the RICS in London.
The event was an exciting opportunity to bring young professionals from across the industry to meet, make contacts, and discuss key issues affecting their careers and the wider built environment.
Given the YPG’s broad range of membership and activities, many reading this article may wonder if it is for them and how they can become involved.
Simply, if you are a newly qualified professional working in the construction industry, looking to expand your knowledge, your network, and meet with like-minded professionals, or if you are an experienced professional whose staff or junior colleagues might benefit from YPG membership, or if you would like to contribute to an event, consider having a look at the YPG website – there are options available for both individual and corporate memberships.
The YPG and its members look forward to welcoming you.
[i] Source: RIBA Construction Contracts and Law Report (2022) https://www.architecture.com/knowledge-and-resources/knowledge-landing-page/riba-construction-contracts-and-law-report-2022