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  • 2030 age: 39 (26 in 2017)
  • Location: Anaheim, California
  • Job: Green construction
  • Sector: Construction

Lisa has worked in the construction industry for almost 20 years now. Entering the workforce during the Great Recession of 2007–09, she saw that green construction was one of the few segments which proved resilient to the slump in the construction market.

After completing an apprenticeship programme, demand for her services grew, initially in the commercial space but subsequently in the residential and industrial markets. The promise of lower costs, coupled with the ambition of some states for new homes to be net zero energy was an important catalyst for this growth as was the association of green homes with healthier living by consumers.

While environmental regulation has made planning difficult at times, third-party standards such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) have helped spread awareness and trust in the marketplace.

A substantial part of Lisa’s work has involved remodelling and refurbishment projects, from fitting water-efficient appliances, such as dual-flush toilets, to systems which reuse grey water, and installing roofs with solar photovoltaic panels and even vegetation.

Gig work, already prevalent in the construction industry, has become even more important, putting a high premium on strong administration and management

These skills have enabled Lisa to deliver a closer integration of subcontractors and the supply chain, resulting in reduced waste and performance improvements.

Other skills, such as customer and personal service, have been helpful in supporting and often pushing clients to take a long-term view of their ‘green’ investment. Due to robust demand for green construction, labour shortages have emerged. The industry has not been able to shake off the reputation as physically dangerous, cyclical and low on job security.

To encourage entry into the field, Lisa, who now runs a small company, has expanded the number of apprenticeships on offer, supported by government grants. She also serves as a local construction ambassador, visiting schools and attending careers fairs to give young people a real life perspective of what it is like to work in the industry.

Skills (S), knowledge (K) and abilities (A)

Building and construction (K), customer and personal service (K), static strength (A), manual dexterity (A), arm-hand steadiness (A), administration and management (K), stamina (A), education and training (K), multilimb coordination (A), oral comprehension (S).