“Construction offers a wealth of opportunity”

As part of our drive to support the next generation and encourage more people to consider a career in our industry, Gleeds sponsored the New Designers Awards on Thursday 6th July. Joanna Metcalfe, Senior Building Surveyor who was one of four Gleeds’ judges, tells us a little more about the awards and why events like this are so important in inspiring design talent and creativity in the UK.

New Designers features everything from illustration to animation, furniture to fashion, and gaming to glass – what was your favourite element of design from the exhibition?

I particularly liked the spatial design & interiors element because there were some projects which demonstrated great innovation. For example making use of otherwise empty/redundant spaces, such as an old power station, or incorporating advanced low carbon products, like bricks grown from bacteria. 

Out of hundreds of designers, Sophie Copley from Brunel University was awarded the Gleeds Associate prize for her Little Heroes hospital garments. What was it about Sophie’s project that stood out to you and your fellow judges?

Whilst there were several fantastic ideas and products, our criteria requested the candidate to have found an innovative solution to a particular problem or need and to have considered the commercial viability and marketability of the product. Sophie’s Little Heroes garments address both functionality and practicality issues associated with dressing when in hospital. This coupled with the aesthetic look of the garment, which minimises the hospital clinical feel, also improves the patient’s experience. Sophie had also undertaken extensive research to achieve the final product, including cost analysis of stitching or printing the design to the garments and had lined up a number of hospitals to test the products. Above all Sophie presented herself and her product with great professionalism, enthusiasm and passion.

Why do you think these events are important?

They are important because they provide graduates with the opportunity to showcase their work to some of the biggest names in the industry with the possibility of securing a job or funding. The event also gives companies attending the chance to view a wealth of creative and innovative ideas with the potential to enhance their own company’s offering.

What advice would you give someone with a background in design looking to start a career in construction?

Construction offers a wealth of opportunity for those from a design background with roles in areas such as architecture, interior design, space planning, Computer Aided Design (CAD), buying, off-site manufacture design roles, 3D visualisation and bespoke craftsmanship roles such as stonemasonry – to name a few. There are also more corporate roles such as PR, marketing, bidding and business development. Construction covers all sectors and industries and offers a great variety of experience; from housing to roads and bridges to education – there is something for everyone.  



Joanna Metcalfe

Joanna Metcalfe
Senior Building Surveyor

Press enquiries
Julian Barlow

Julian Barlow
PR Consultant