LONDON BUILD: Interview with Gerry Ruffles, MOBIE
MOBIE joins the education-elite line up for London Build
At London Build our mission is to offer our visitors experiences they wouldn’t ordinarily encounter, and we can guarantee there is nothing ordinary about MOBIE.
The Ministry of Building Information and Education (MOBIE) is an educational charity, established to promote innovation in the design and delivery of homes.
Founded in 2017 by architect and TV presenter George Clarke, MOBIE’s purpose is to attract and inspire young people to enter the industry through exciting new technical and digital courses, advanced manufacturing courses and schools outreach programmes.
As part of the London Build’s networking programme, MOBIE is running an open session where Gerry Ruffles, Head of Education will be discussing the work they do to align industry and education and to share the outstanding work they have delivered in the past 12 months.
We talked with Gerry to find out exactly what they do and why there is a need to provide technology-based education for future AEC industry professionals.
What is MOBIE?
MOBIE is the Ministry of Building Innovation and Education, founded by the brilliant architect George Clarke. George’s passion and enthusiasm for innovative and affordable homes have seen this initiative grow into the educational and training charity we see today. George once said that:
“Home is the most important piece of architecture in our lives. It crafts the way we live, and how we grow as families and communities. A well-designed home can enhance the way we live and promote our well-being”.
This statement is the starting point for MOBIE; to ensure we recognise the importance of the home, to educate and inspire new generations into the building profession and to spearhead innovation. By working to advance home design and innovate construction thinking, in partnership with both the industry and government, we want to provide homes that will genuinely transform the way we live in Britain.
Why was MOBIE created?
We are all aware that the UK housing sector is in crisis, with an urgent need to develop and grow the skills and digital competencies vital to create and deliver large numbers of high quality, well-designed, affordable homes.
The government’s target of building one million new homes by 2020 and half a million more by 2022 is blighted by an industry that has remained unchanged for centuries. House building is traditionally slow, inefficient, has mostly poor design quality and is too reliant on a small number of big players.
We have a generation of talented young people who are turning their backs on careers in the construction industry because house building just doesn’t inspire them. Its image crisis is widely accepted, but it’s estimated that we need 400,000 new recruits each year, so we need a complete cultural change where a form of construction education that will provide a digitally skilled workforce that will transform the industry while creating a knowledge economy that will become a valuable international export.
Tell us more about your courses and how you work with young people.
We believe that education is an essential part of the solution to the current failings of the housing industry, so we launched a new type of education, design and construction model that thinks differently. Our courses combine digital technology, R&D, training, re-training, innovation, manufacturing and work hand in hand with schools, FE and HE providers, local, regional, national government and industry.
Our courses are intended to educate and train highly skilled technicians, designers, engineers, fabricators and manufacturers, equipped to maximise the benefits of digitalised construction.
The courses will explore new ways of building homes, stimulate new ways of thinking and aim to transform house building into a precision-engineered and efficient process with higher levels of quality control. We want our students to take full advantage of new technologies to provide safer, healthier and more affordable places to live that use less energy to build and run.
Who have you formed partnerships with to support your education programme?
MOBIE partners with the very best leaders in global technology and manufacturing to share knowledge, facilities, expertise and ensure relevant routes to employment and continued dialogue between education and industry. Our partners include design…engineer…construct (DEC), urbansplash, Places for People, Homes England, Pearson, Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), and BRE.
What are the future plans for MOBIE?
We are very excited about our future plans that include a ‘National Centre for Advanced Homes’ to capture the latest innovative thinking, methodologies, processes and data in the home creation market. It would operate as the hub for many satellite operations – in education, training and re-training all around the country, and be a focus for R+D, and vocational training as well as vital social mobility programmes. We want it to be the go-to place for all that is best in home-making in the UK and will, over time, become an increasingly crucial International reference point
The Centre would bring together, and work in partnership with, like-minded and motivated organisations, from government, authorities and innovative private enterprises like Jaguar Land Rover, Google, Lego, Minecraft, Tesla, Apple, Dyson etc.
The full scope and scale of the National Centre will be developed in conjunction with the key partners over the next twelve months, so there is plenty more to come.
Also as part of the MOBIE experience at London Build, we’ll hear from John Mathers, Director at the British Design Fund, Founder/Director at Mathers & Wallsgrove and MOBIE Trustee & Governor will be presenting in the Skills Hub at London Build on Tuesday 23 October at 12:40pm on The MOBIE MODEL – Inspiring the next generation.
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