Lunch with Leon episode 29 – Sue Percy

Highways for all: From careers to automated vehicles

Sue Percy, CEO of the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) for past nine years, has long been Leon Daniels’ ‘go to’ person for a “sensible view on the whole highways and transportation business” and she’s also a key person for driving forward education and qualifications in this sector. Adds Leon: “She never lets me forget that our highways and transportation industry is about people.”

Over lunch they chat about their shared ambitions to get good people into our industry and she demonstrates her optimistic view about the future.

Sue talks with passion about the need to invest in people and their qualifications, to ensure that we can deliver for society – “it’s not just building a road or railway,” she says.

“The language about how we talk to young people is important – it’s about things that matter to them,” she explains.

“They’re not going to want to talk about laying the surface of a motorway, they want to talk about things that really excite them like the environment and digital, for example. And all those things, highways and transportation deliver on.”

Expanding further, she sets out a strategy: “We’ve got some fantastic role models in our sector and we need to profile them.

“We need to stop being timid with our voice and much more vocal in this wonderful sector about the careers you can have.”

She adds that it’s about “how we talk and portray ourselves” and says that the sector needs to “make it clear that this is profession that you can access at any stage in your career, regardless of educational attainment. It’s about access for all.”

As lunch draws to a close they talk about autonomous vehicles and debate at what pace their introduction should take place.

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