Last month Urban Melbourne attended the re-launch of the Building Leadership Simulation Centre (BLSC) – a state-of-the-art ‘simulation learning’ centre for the local construction industry.
One of only three facilities worldwide, the BLSC opened during 2012 and had its primary learning environment based on a building site in Birmingham, UK. Now however, the BLSC has been uniquely "Australianised" with a Melbourne construction site – currently being built by Hickory, Magna Prima’s Istana residential project located at 218 A’Beckett Street.
The BLSC boasts a large parobolic screen, experienced actors and realistic construction huts decked out with all necessary regulatory and construction site documentation – these constitute the physical environment. With all area’s linked to a big brother-like assessment centre, this ensures a multitude of scenarios can be acted out in order to portray almost any given situation in rapid time.
Of the actors, the BLSC employs a team to play roles depending on the course being delivered. From burly union shop stewards confronting site managers to irate, ranting neighbours complaining about noise from the construction site and all that lies between – the actors play a diverse amount of roles providing an invaluable human element.
When in front of the primary simulation screen and a demonstrative group of actors, the scenario becomes life-like in the immediate pressure felt, as evidenced even during formal speeches on the evening. Through participants responses (or lack of) under pressure, assessment is made in real time and immediate guidance is given in order to create enhanced on-site management skills.
When the main speeches concluded all were invited to explore the facility and unbeknownst to me at first there were assessors on the job, role playing remotely with the various construction huts. After a somewhat humourous role play on the phone in one of the huts, being shepherded around obstacles and dodging workmen with wheelbarrows, the pieces started falling in place – the BLSC is one of the most engaging learning environments ever conceived.
In fact I would go so far as to say this type of learning and assessment environment could benefit sectors of the economy and occupations beyond the construction industry, from business to politics! Who wouldn’t want to be in control when providing a frank, rapid and critical assessment of our elected representatives under remarkably near real world pressure – if only!
The Master Builder’s Association and all partners involved in the BLSC ought to be commended for thinking laterally about workplace and leadership training. At Urban Melbourne we like innovative ideas and we like it even more when we see innovation in practice and the BLSC fits the bill perfectly.
Alistair Taylor, Urban Melbourne – 2nd April 2014