Built with Billd: The Construction Skills Gap with Doug Donovan of Interplay Learning

Published: September 21, 2020
Last updated: March 03, 2021
Read time: < 1

Summary

Interplay Learning CEO Doug Donovan joined Chris Doyle, CEO of Billd, on the Built with Billd podcast to explore one of the biggest crises facing the construction industry: the lack of skilled tradesmen in the construction industry.

Doug opens by introducing his software company, Interplay Learning, an online training platform for tradesmen. They primarily focus on virtual reality simulations to create a hands-on experience prior to being in the field. This allows for rapid training of skilled trade workers. 

While working in training for energy auditors, Doug identified a problem with the market and sought a solution. After acknowledging that new graduates only had 1 day of in-the-field training, he knew there was a lack of experience with workers entering the industry. Reflecting on this, he and his team saw the benefit of using simulation tech, similar to the kind used in flight schools, to train workers on dozens of different scenarios and allow them to gain hands-on experience.

The two go on to discuss other causes behind the lack of skilled labor, such as trade workers retiring sooner due to the physical toll of their profession, and the limited supply of new workers entering the industry. Society has drifted in favor of degree programs and away from trade schools, which has benefitted other industries but damaged the construction industry.

Chris and Doug discuss how THE construction industry has finally started to close that gap after decades of acknowledging the issue, and how contractors are every bit as entrepreneurial as tech founders. 

“Business is driven by bodies. It’s one service tech at a time or one install tech at a time- that’s how you drive revenue. There’s so much missed business right now, unfulfilled business right now because of the lack of trained bodies.” Doug Donovan