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Founder of Nottinghamshire-based Focus Consultants, Kevin Osbon, from Fiskerton, Southwell, appointed as Nottingham Trent University Alumni and Industry Fellow

The founder of a construction consultancy firm is urging more professionals to share their expertise and knowledge with the younger generation.

Kevin Osbon, from Fiskerton, has been appointed as a Nottingham Trent University Alumni and Industry Fellow and wants to take the opportunity to encourage others in the industry to follow in his footsteps by working with their universities.

He studied as a mature student at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) in the late 1980s, gaining a BSc Hons in Construction Management in 1990 — four years later he set up Focus Consultants.

Kevin Osbon, appointed as Nottingham Trent University Alumni and Industry Fellow.
Kevin Osbon, appointed as Nottingham Trent University Alumni and Industry Fellow.

Since then, the multi-disciplinary company has grown to become a leading consultancy in the construction, sustainability, cultural and regeneration sectors, managing over £300 million of construction projects each year.

For the past eight years Kevin has been revisiting NTU as a lecturer after stepping back from frontline consultancy, although remains majority shareholder and operates as joint chairman of Focus Consultants.

This reduced involvement in the company gave Kevin the opportunity to teach construction management, quantity surveying and construction commercial management, contract administration and control and finance at the university.

He hopes that by highlighting his professional journey, he can encourage others who have a wealth of experience in their respective careers to find a way to share that knowledge with the younger generation.

“When you come to the point of stepping away from frontline consultancy or construction work then all of that intellectual capital should not be lost,” he said.

“The over 50s have vast resources. I have basically had another career in the eight years that I have been working with NTU — gradually increasing my involvement from teaching to writing papers, contributing to books and various other initiatives. It’s been extremely stimulating.

“I never thought I would become a published author or be part of a team that won an internationally significant award for an academic paper, but that’s what has happened as a result of taking on a teaching role at NTU.

“Some over 50s took early retirement after the pandemic and the government is now encouraging them to return to the workplace.

“This age group has a lot of wisdom and experience to share with the younger generation. They have a lot to give. In my view, the over 50s are a vastly untapped resource.

“There are stacks of people out there like me, who have had a successful first career but who could go on to have a second successful career in teaching, mentoring or training.”

The university is now able to tap into the knowledge and resources of the Focus Consultants team, while skilled graduates have a opportunity for employment with an industry leading company.

The partnership between the two organisations has recently been formalised in a three-year framework looking to provide deliverables such as:

• Knowledge exchange and building links with industry

• Provision of lecturers and guest lecturers

• Fostering talent and providing workplace opportunities for students and graduates

• Providing support and expertise for the new Centre for Sustainable Construction and Retrofit

• Collaboration on project work to facilitate hands-on student work experience

• Contributions to research initiatives leading to published works

Kevin added: “Little did I know that when I studied at Nottingham Trent University in the late 1980s that I would return to the university as a lecturer towards the end of my career and become involved in research and various initiatives leading to a strategic partnership between my consultancy and NTU.

“I’ve enjoyed a very fulfilling career in consultancy and I’m very proud of the business that myself, my partners and my colleagues have built up over the past 30 years.

“It feels good to be giving something back to help future generations and it’s also been extremely positive for me personally to have had a second career teaching in my 50s.

“I would encourage the over 50s to consider ways that they can share their knowledge and skills.

“It’s certainly something that I am very pleased to have done and would recommend it to others, if it’s relevant and appropriate for them.”

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