Combining AI and mentoring will help to create a more diverse construction workforce, explains Fran Boorman, founder of Goal 17
What is a typical day in your job?
We start every morning with an 8:30am call with our team. Most of us work remotely, so it is great to quickly touch base for 10-15 minutes before we get stuck in.
I usually keep my mornings free for ‘creating’ – whether that be working on a new proposal for a client or working with some of our team to develop new digital assets for the business.
After a few hours of this focus work, I then like to be out and about talking to people – either face to face or digitally.
That could be meetings with prospective clients and partners, delivering a support session to existing clients or speaking at an event or conference about our work.
What aspect of your role presents the biggest challenge and what brings you most satisfaction?
We are currently developing some new AI technology and while this is hugely exciting, it also comes with challenges.
What brings me the most satisfaction is when I hear some of the individual success stories from people who have been through our mentoring programme
Ensuring we have the right and best skill set in our team is one of those. I am fortunate to have a great board of advisers and investors who are very supportive and help introduce a lot of great resource.
What brings me the most satisfaction is when I hear some of the individual success stories from people who have been through our mentoring programme.
That could be a young person who was homeless when they got an industry mentor and is now not only loving their new career but getting their first promotion.
It could be the news that one of our clients has won a bid and that they are already engaging in that community through our programmes, so are best placed to make a difference.
How did your early experience in the construction industry impact your decision to launch Goal 17?
I loved the industry but found it hard to belong. The people around me were really welcoming but I lacked belief in myself and couldn’t see how I fitted.
I dropped out of two brilliant graduate schemes and another great construction job because of my own self-doubt and lack of belonging.
It was only when I was given a mentor that everything changed. I had someone to reassure me that I was on the right path, to answer some of my rather basic questions that perhaps I was too embarrassed to ask, and to push me forward when I needed a nudge.
Knowing I had someone in my corner made a world of difference.
With the support of my first and then subsequent mentors, I was able to thrive. I went on to be recognised as one of the highest performers in my company at the time.
This made me realise just how important mentoring was and I wanted everyone to have the same support as I had.
I then learned about some of the young people in our communities who needed someone to believe in them even more than I did – beneficiaries of local charities, such as homeless young people and care leavers.
They didn’t have someone to give them the guidance and reassurance that every young adult needs.
I wanted to do something about this and that is how Goal 17 was born. We bring together corporate clients and the beneficiaries of charities in these amazing mentoring partnerships.
I dropped out of two brilliant graduate schemes and another great construction job because of my own self-doubt and lack of belonging. It was only when I was given a mentor that everything changed
What is your view on how AI can help attract more diverse candidates to careers in construction?
We know that mentoring is a brilliant way to bring in new diverse talent into the industry. We just needed to find a way to motivate and reward more people to do it.
We are using AI to measure the impact of mentoring partnerships. Our clients are then using this to evidence the social value they create and win bids.
We use the AI to make this a win-win for everyone involved and will see many more diverse candidates join construction as a result.
We are committed to building even more exciting AI to help our end users of the platform and our clients (construction companies) create both social and commercial success hand in hand.
Our mission is to provide a truly ground-breaking solution to social mobility.