This lecture will look at changes affecting our industry and what we may need to do differently now and in the future.
Tunnels have been an essential part of our infrastructure for centuries and the tunnelling industry remains an essential participant in the development of the infrastructure of the modern world. As an industry we can still trace some of our practices back to the early days and we continue to learn the lessons from earlier projects. Our practices will always need to continue evolving to be fit for the future. Change is normal.
A thirty-year career in the industry is long enough to observe some of these changes happening. Some relate to technology – our methods and materials. Other changes are imposed on us by society and circumstance. A year ago we were contemplating Brexit as possibly the biggest business change we could foresee. We did not anticipate social distancing and the demise of urban commuting. Pandemics happened in movies.
What changes will be expected of us for future tunnelling projects? Certainly more than just new methods and materials, important as they are. We need to respond to our growing knowledge of the world about us and particularly how our work interacts with our, evidently fragile, environment. As a society our expectations of "work" are changing. Wellbeing matters. Through all this what will attract the next generation of tunnellers into our industry in a digitally enabled age?
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