HBF Future Talent Conference 2022

24 February - 25 February, 2022

HBF Future Talent Conference 2022 

Attended by over 120 delegates over 2 days, this year's HBF Future Talent Conference proved a sell out success! 

The housebuilding industry should see itself as more customer-led which will help it attract talent to the sector, according to Bukky Bird, group sustainability director of Barratt Developments.

Speaking at a panel discussion at the HBF Future Talent conference, which took place in Bedfordshire for housebuilding graduates, Bird said that the “shared volume of communication” between other sectors and its customers “surpasses what we do”.

“Homes are one of the most expensive purchases consumers will make, but we barely talk to them,” Bird said. “Construction should see itself more as consumer than tech [focused].”

The industry’s collective goal was to “build great homes for people,” she pointed out. “Everything else is a means to an end”. Following this principle would in turn aid regulation and draw people to housebuilding. The industry also had an obligation “to be out there, making sure people understand the variety of roles. There’s almost every role [within housebuilding] that you can imagine.”

The panel, also featuring HBF’s md Neil Jefferson, Rob Boughton, ceo of Thakeham Homes, and Richard Lankshear, NHBC’s senior technical services manager, also discussed the role of modern methods of construction (MMC) for housing delivery, customers and skills and embodied carbon – the overlooked component to achieving low carbon homes.

On MMC’s current prominence and related skills opportunities, there were a “lot of people from outside our sector coming in,” stated Boughton. “But we’re yet to see real progress - we can see the skills shortage. We look at MMC as purely factory-based. I think it’s the whole process.” He pointed to the role of digital design here; within the next 12 months, Thakeham plans to use BIM (building information modelling) across the whole business.

Digital design was where the industry was evolving, said Richard Lankshear. “We used to be problem solving. Now we’re moving to a process and quality driven world, especially after the Grenfell tragedy. This links to MMC – design is locked in much earlier.”

And on the point of greater diversity to retain talent, Lankshear said: “Things have changed in the past 20 years in terms of who’s working in the industry.” NHBC’s LGBT+ network had highlighted the significant change in attitudes towards this group. “But we still need to think of language. We’re working to change any underlying bigotry. That’s how we’ll retain skills.”

Earlier in the second day of the two-day conference, Bird and Boughton spoke separately about their journeys as sustainable housebuilders. Boughton detailed the company’s infrastructure and land-led development approach and its targeting of automation “which is unlocking new roles”.

To Bird, the government’s levelling up agenda meant “high quality, low carbon homes that bring a just transition, creating green jobs.”

On the conference’s first day, Keith Carnegie, ceo of Vistry housebuilding division, gave a keynote speech. The event also featured workshops for the delegates on net zero and MMC, and a group project on the impact of MMC and future sustainability challenges on skills.

**delegates must be 18 and over to attend.


Rob Boughton Download Presentation
Bukky Bird Download Presentation
Keith Carnegie - audio only Download Presentation


Neil Jefferson
Neil Jefferson
Ian Heptonstall
Ian Heptonstall
Director, Supply Chain Sustainability School
Bukky Bird
Bukky Bird
Group Sustainability Director, Barratt Developments
rob boughton
Rob Boughton
CEO, Thakeham Homes
Keith carnegie
Keith Carnegie
CEO Vistry Housebuilding Division, Vistry
Richard Lankshear
Richard Lankshear
Senior Technical Services Manager, NHBC
Jenny Herdman
Jenny Herdman
Director of Home Building Federation Skills Partnership, HBF
Patrick Rolt
Patrick Rolt
Senior Associate, HTA Design LLP


Wyboston Lakes Resort
Great North Road