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Unlocking skills for The National Digital Twin - because it’s the people who will make a difference.

Ashleigh Monagle

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The digital future of the built environment relies on the people that will create it. In our integrated world, over two thirds of UK leaders say their organisation is facing a digital skills gap (Microsoft, 2020) - we have a challenge and opportunity to close this gap whilst realising the benefits of the National Digital Twin. 

Working as part of the Mott MacDonald and Lane4 team appointed by the Construction Innovation Hub, we have developed a Skills and Competency Framework to raise awareness of the skills and roles needed to deliver a National Digital Twin. The skills and roles identified relate specifically to the Information Management Framework (IMF) - the core component of the National Digital Twin that will enable digital twins to speak the same language.  

The future of the National Digital Twin is in your hands 

Seize the opportunity to use this Skills and Competency Framework, to underpin digital twin development and IMF adoption. Without understanding the skills and roles required, there is a risk that organisations may deploy staff lacking sufficient skills to develop their digital twins. A skills gap could also risk poorly designed digital twins which do not support interoperability and connectivity with the IMF or failed digital twin pilots and projects which have direct economic consequences for those organisations.   

Accelerating progress with skills development 

With the Skills and Competency Framework, we can accelerate progress, reduce the rate of digital twin failure and ensure consistency in the approach to enable the National Digital Twin – all while establishing a pathway for digital skills and capability enhancement across the UK. We can do this by: 

  • Communicating the value of data as infrastructure, and the importance of literacy, quality and security 

  • Taking a systems-thinking approach to see data, technology and process as part of an interconnected ecosystem 

  • Having a collaborative and adaptable culture that is benefits driven, focused on outcometo achieve and recognise the role people play in achieving this  

Find out how to achieve this by using the Skills and Competency Framework  and stay tuned for a supporting Capability Enhancement Programme with role-based training plans and skill self-assessments 

Learn by doing, Progress by sharing 

This Skills and Competency Framework is the first of its kind, but the topic of digital skills development in our industry is not. Throughout the development of the Framework, we have engaged with stakeholders and material from many bodies such as the Construction Innovation Training Board (CITB), Open Data Institute and other CDBB initiatives around skills. We intend to progress the Framework by sharing it with the industry and connecting to other bodies, industries and people with similar purposes and goals as CDBB. We are open, we are collaborative and we are ready to close the skills gap. 

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