This research looks at resilience (the ability to rebound from stressful events) which has been identified as a critical competence for working in challenging environments.

The construction industry has been described as dirty, difficult and dangerous, with workers experiencing high levels of stress, burnout, and work-life conflict.  Resilience (the ability to rebound from stressful events) has been identified as a critical competence for working in challenging environments, however there has been scant academic attention to developing resilience in future construction professionals. To evaluate the resilience of built environment students, 107 final year undergraduates were surveyed using an adapted form of the Resilience at Work (RAW) scale. Exploratory factor analysis yielded six component behaviours that underpin resilience.

Overall, students exhibited strengths in three resilience building behaviours (building networks/ interacting cooperatively, staying healthy, and living authentically), but were less skilled in maintaining perspective. Local undergraduates and working students showed greater competence than international or non-working students in building networks/interacting cooperatively, and maintaining perspective, while project management undergraduates displayed the greatest ability of all in the latter. These findings suggest areas of future research to better understand the resilience profiles of students, and underline the imperative for integrating resilience training into the built environment curriculum. A focus on resilience development may better equip educators to assist students navigate to the chasm between university and professional practice in the workplace.

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