If equality is so good for business when do I start seeing a return

Three essential steps towards making equality work for your business.

This was a blog post we wrote for our partners Carillion for their sustainability week. You can see the original post here.


Research shows that an equal organisation is a good all-rounder helping staff feel happier, more motivated and more likely to stay with your business. The question we need to ask is have we been doing equality well? The answer might not be what we hoped, whilst there is certainly more work being undertaken now than ever before, how does that reconcile with the 2% drop in women in the sector (down to 11%) or the fact that only 16% of Architects feel comfortable with people knowing that they are gay in a site environment. When it comes to equality, there is a bit of untangling to do before we can start to get to the core of the issue, but don’t worry it is worth the work.  But to get there, we need to appreciate a few things

1) Equality is not always done well, and when it’s not it costs. We like to get people to think about this regarding health and safety. We can all agree (I hope) that having a safe site is a good thing, but we can also agree that some of the things we do in the name of health and safety are not helpful – I use the example of when I was working as a site manager, company policy imposed eye goggles on all site workers. Unfortunately, the goggles provided were cheap so scratched easily and misted up. Essentially we visually impaired everyone in the name of health and safety. Now this isn’t to say that we should avoid H&S or equality for fear of getting it wrong. No – we should respect it enough to know that sometimes we will get it right, sometimes we won’t so we need to measure and learn.

2) Just because if feels like a good thing to do, does not mean it will have a good outcome. It’s great that people want to be active in the field of equality, but sometimes we need to take a step back. Unfortunately, a lot of the initiatives I see have great intent, but they hadn’t fully thought through the outcomes. For examples clients asking for numbers of women on site can impact upon perceived capability and lead to role without responsibility. That’s not to say we should down tools, but rather you should seek out professionals who understand equality, business and industry to help you get there quicker. Until we respect that equality is impacted on by complex psychological, sociological and organisational factors we are unlikely to progress.  In short you can represent yourself in a court of law but there is a reason why people hire a lawyer – equality is no different.

3) Equality needs to be done in line with your business culture. Get this wrong, and you might as well throw your money away.  If you have a culture that feels the company is not being fair you have to address this before implementing significant portions of work around equality. People are more likely to look after themselves if they don’t trust the business will take care of them, implementing equality work in this environment can lead to backlash and increased hostility. This usually drives away the very people you are looking to keep.

The important thing is that by stepping back, understanding your organisational culture, industry constraints and the principles of fairness, inclusion and equality you can make much larger steps forward.

Get in touch to find out more.

LGBT Construction & Infrastructure Network

Pinsent Masons

What is the network?

The network is a forum for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender professionals working within the infrastructure and construction sectors.

The network was founded by international law firm Pinsent Masons and Matthew Flood with the support of ‘Freehold‘, a real estate LGBT network formed in 2011.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual charity Stonewall has also given their support.

Who is the network targeted at?

Anyone who works in the infrastructure and construction sectors!

This includes, but is not limited to: construction and infrastructure industry professionals and their advisers, architects, project managers, construction lawyers, contractors, structural engineers, quantity surveyors, building surveyors, planners, environmental consultants, technical service providers, insurers and infrastructure fund managers and financiers.

What are the network’s aims?

The aims of the network are:

  • To provide a welcoming, supportive, safe and confidential space for all LGBT people and straight allies within the construction and infrastructure sector and related sectors to meet, share and discuss views, experiences or concerns.
  • To provide opportunities for peer networking, information sharing, and personal and professional development for LGBT members collectively or for the distinct groups of LGBT staff within the construction and infrastructure sectors.
  • To raise the profile, inspire and promote the achievements of LGBT professionals collectively or for the distinct groups of LGBT people within the construction and infrastructure sectors.
  • To develop and maintain relationships with other relevant external LGBT groups and networks.
  • Provide a platform for fundraising for LGBT community related charities.
  • To act as an adviser to companies in both the public and private sector & Government on LGBT users of infrastructure, including planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of such infrastructure to ensure that it is inclusive, attractive and safe for LGBT employees and members of public.
  • To work with schools, colleges and awarding bodies to raise the profile of the construction and infrastructure sector amongst young LGBT people

How do I get involved?

We plan to host regular events that will bring the construction and infrastructure sectors LGBT community together.

The launch event is on 15 July 2015.

If you would like to become a member of the network please register your interest through our registration page on our website

Register here

or, contact our team at


Anwyl Construction Apprentice Case Study

Anwyl Construction Apprentice Case Study – Matthew has never let dyslexia hold him back from success

Matthew Allport - Anwyl Construction Case Study (1) CG 20.2.15Mathew Allport began his career on placement with Anwyl Construction as an apprentice Joiner at just 16 years old. Upon completion of the three year apprenticeship, Matthew was offered a full time Joinery position at Anwyl largely due to his positive work ethic and good workmanship.

Since joining Anwyl Construction in 2006 Matthew has excelled completing a number of training courses to further his knowledge and understanding of Joinery.

Matthew approached Anwyl in 2008 after deciding he wanted to continue at Llandrillo College to complete an Advanced Joinery Course. Despite being challenged with dyslexia, Matthew never let this become a barrier to his learning.

Due to Matthews’s ongoing commitment and hard work, Anwyl offered to support him though the twelve month course, which then progressed onto a three year Assistant Site Managers course solely funded by Anwyl. This funding however was on the basis that Matthew not only passed, but achieved an overall merit every year as an incentive for him to continue to achieve greatness.

Matthew said: ‘’Getting to this stage in my career hasn’t been the easiest ride for me; I am dyslexic. Like for many others completing exams, creating assignments and devising presentations has always been more of a challenge. However, despite this barrier, the support and understanding of class peers, tutors and work colleagues has enabled me to make notable strides in my career.

Matthew completed the course with an overall Merit of achievement in 2012, however he chose not to stop there, Matthew decided he wanted to gain a degree in Construction Science Undergraduate Degree to enhance and further his knowledge and experience in the industry, with the intention of one day becoming a Site Manager. Anwyl again chose to support and fully fund Matthew through his degree, astounded by his eagerness to learn and develop.

Matthew has now graduated with a 2:2 qualification in Construction Science Undergraduate Degree and is working full time as an Assistant Site Manager, Matthew however continues to show his dedication to Anwyl and eagerness to learn, whereby he plans to undertake a Masters Degree in Construction. Anwyl hopes to promote and progress Matthew to Senior Site Manager within the next two years.

Matthew said: ‘’As they say you never stop learning and I’m sure I never will; within my new role of Assistant Site Manager I predict new challenges lie ahead. In spite of this, I look forward to gaining new knowledge and continuing to achieve’’.

Over the years Matthew has gained a wealth of skills and experience working with Anwyl Construction on projects as large as £8,000,000.00.

Matthew also managed his own site at Marian Mawr in Dolgellau for Grwp Llandrillo Menai, the College in which he completed 9 years of studies. Matthew was responsible for fifteen on site operatives over the course of nine months. As a project for Grwp Llandrillo Menai and to thank them for his success, Matthew organised several site visits for Level 1, 2 and 3 students enabling them to experience first-hand activity on site, that of which he received with Anwyl.

Matthew is a well-respected CITB Construction Ambassador, this role has meant Matthew has motivated young people through attendances at schools, colleges and youth clubs. His positive work ethic, enthusiasm and determination are exemplary, and key factors in encouraging the next generation into construction.

Matthews’s story is truly inspiring, having worked his way up to his position of Assistant Site Manager from an apprentice.

Matthew said: ‘’I share my positive experiences with young people from across the UK who are considering perusing a career in construction. This allows me to contribute back into the industry that has supported me so well over the last 8 years’’.

In 2014 Matthew won the award for National Construction Ambassador of the Year, showcasing all he has accomplished over the years. Matthew is an extremely positive role model to not only young adults wishing to achieve within the industry but more importantly to the local community.


Closing the Gap: Getting Women into Construction

With women currently representing only 11 per cent of the construction workforce, Procure Plus takes an active role in ensuring better gender equality and gives women the opportunity to build a career in this lifelong industry.

Working with Oldham-based Emanuel Whittaker, Procure Plus has supported the contractor to create 32 apprenticeships over the past five years, including for local resident, Katie Lockwood.

What Katie Did


In 2006, Emanuel Whittaker was chosen for the Procure Plus framework to complete a variety of projects across the North West. Both were aware of the lack of female workers in construction and agreed it was something they wanted to change. To encourage more women into the trades, they decided to offer tailored education and training via apprenticeships.

 In February 2008, Katie – a 16 year old with no qualifications – was offered an entry level role at Emanuel Whittaker, working on projects through Procure Plus. Katie got stuck into her new role from day one and was set to begin a Level 2 apprenticeship in Brickwork in September 2008. However, Katie then discovered she was to become a mum, and decided to put her studies on hold.

What Katie Did Next

What Katie did next (V1) PH 18.02.2015

As a young mum, the thought of balancing an apprenticeship with raising a child was daunting. But Katie was a brilliant apprentice and neither Procure Plus nor Emanuel Whittaker wanted to lose her. To make sure she was able to carry on learning her trade, Procure Plus and Emanuel Whittaker helped put the support in place that Katie needed to succeed.

A year later, in September 2009, Katie took up the Level 2 Brickwork apprenticeship at Oldham College. Like all the apprentices supported by Procure Plus, Katie was given a toolkit to help with her practical work and was supported so she could gain the experience and skills she needed to succeed.

In February 2011, Katie became a mum for the second time, but didn’t want to delay her studies. She continued to go to college during her maternity leave and, incredibly, managed to complete her key skills and Level 2 qualification by June the same year.

Spurred on by her success, and confident she could balance raising her young family while working, Katie enrolled for her Level 3 apprenticeship in Brickwork in September 2011.

When working on her Level 3, Katie realised she’d be able to do more work at Emanuel Whittaker if she was able to drive. To help her reach her goal, Procure Plus gave Katie vouchers for driving lessons and supported her in passing her test. By July 2012, a lot of hard work saw Katie sail through her Level 3 qualification and pass her driving test.

After finishing her Level 3 Brickwork, Katie didn’t want to stop there. She set her sights on a Higher National Diploma (HND), but the qualifications she’d already achieved didn’t give her direct access. Instead, Lee Bradbury, Emanuel Whittaker’s Health, Safety & Environment Manager, helped Katie identify the National Certificate (ONC) in Construction and the Built Environment course, as a bridging qualification that would help her progress onto a two-year, HND.

In September 2013, Salford City College launched their pilot Higher Level Apprenticeship in Construction Management with funding provided by the UK Commission’s Employer Ownership of Skills programme and Katie, with the support of Procure Plus and Emanuel Whittaker, became one of the first Higher Apprentices in Greater Manchester. Successful completion of the course will see Katie gain both a HND in Construction and the Built Environment and an NVQ level 5 Diploma in Construction Management.

In recognition of Katie’s progress, in January 2014, Emanuel Whittaker promoted Katie to site supervisor – a role which allows her to demonstrate the skills required by the NVQ element of her course.

What Katie’s Doing Now

What Katie is doing now (V1) PH 18.02.2015

Katie has been an ambassador for Emanuel Whittaker and the construction industry and regularly shares her experiences with other young people, encouraging them to consider an apprenticeship and a career in construction.

Katie has made huge achievements success on her Higher Apprenticeship course and has received a distinction for her Environmental Impact assignment. She is quickly building up her knowledge, and is striving to become a site manager at Emanuel Whitaker – an ambition she’s sure to achieve.

Lee said: “Working with Procure Plus has enabled us to make a really positive difference in Katie’s life, and she’s proving a true asset to the business. She’s gone from strength to strength in her studies and is working hard to reach her goals.

“Katie is just one of 32 apprentices we’ve employed over the past five years as part of the Procure Plus frameworks, and it’s thanks to the support we receive from Procure Plus that we have been able to build strong relationships with our local colleges, and can offer a regular and effective apprenticeship programme.”

Construction comeback set to create over 200,000 jobs

CITB Industry StatsA resurgence of growth in the regions and nations is driving a strong construction comeback, which is set to create more than 200,000 construction jobs and expand the sector by up to 2.9%, year-on-year, according to new research released today by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

CITB’s latest industry forecast, the Construction Skills Network (CSN) report, predicts an increase of over 8,000 jobs per year on last year’s forecast with the annual demand for workers increasing to 44,690.

For the first time since the downturn, investment boosts in housing, leisure and infrastructure will deliver growth in every region, casting aside perceptions of a recovery driven only by the South East.

The annual forecast also shows that:

  • The UK’s private housing sector is set to continue growing at a rate of 4.6% over the forecast period to 2019, with the commercial sector set to grow at the same rate
  • A resurgence of growth and employment in the north of England has the potential to create an economic power base in the region, with the North West set to grow by 2.5%, the North East by 2.3%, and Yorkshire and Humber by 2.3% annually, over the forecast period
  • The biggest regional growth will be seen in Wales, which is predicted to grow by almost 6% year-on-year and create as many as 5,320 jobs in the next five years
  • Scotland is expected to see a drop in growth from 2% to 1.1% over the next five years, as a result of completed infrastructure projects associated with the re-development of the M8 and the Commonwealth Games, but infrastructure investment remains at historic levels.

Steve Radley, CITB’s Director of Policy and Strategic Planning, said: “Our CSN forecast shows that construction is experiencing a major comeback – with a sustained period of growth set to make a positive impact on the wider economy.

“Leisure, infrastructure and housing are all driving growth, but this brings with it new challenges in meeting skills demand.

“Employers will need to pull every lever available to them to meet the skills challenge they face but government can play a vital role in giving them the confidence to invest in training for the long-term.

“CITB is already identifying future skills needs and working with government and industry on the talent pipeline. But to help it plan ahead, industry needs a clear commitment from all political parties in the run up to the General Election that infrastructure projects will be delivered on time and to plan in the next Parliament.”

“Government can also help employers to develop the next generation of workers by sending out a clear signal that it will make it as simple as possible for companies of all sizes to invest in apprenticeships.”

The Construction Industry Training Board is calling for:

  • Continued commitment from all parties to deliver the National Infrastructure Plan
  • Renewed focus on improving the quality and delivery of careers advice in schools to attract the next generation of construction workers
  • Government investment in the energy efficiency and retrofit market, given the anticipated future skills demand and the UK’s pressing environmental targets
  • Industry and government to back CITB’s industry-wide campaign to create clear and accessible pathways into construction for people from all backgrounds.

Simon Carr, Managing Director of Henry Boot Construction, Private Sector Board Member of the Sheffield Local Enterprise Partnership and incoming chair of the National Federation of Builders said: “After a period of decline for construction, it is reassuring to see a resurgence of growth in the north of England.

“Investment in infrastructure, leisure, housing and commercial projects in the northern regions not only has the benefit of creating thousands of jobs where they’re needed the most and boosting local economies, having a profound impact on the UK economy in the long term.”

Alasdair Reisner, Chief Executive of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, said: “Our industry is working hard to deliver the vital infrastructure that underpins the rest of the UK economy.

“In the last year there has been strong growth in demand that must be matched by rising recruitment. Contractors are already ramping up activity to bring apprentices and graduates into the sector, creating new careers in offices and sites across the country.

“But we must match this by attracting back those who may have left the industry during the downturn.

“We hope that the prospect of a decade of investment to improve our national infrastructure will attract this vital source of knowledge and experience back to the sector.”

First Published on CITB’s Website 

Apprentice completions are on the decline; skills shortages, working conditions and Section106

11 - ApprenticeshipsPublished 26.01.2015

This week Construction News reported that apprentice completions were on the decline with only 50% of those undertaking an apprenticeship actually completing them in 2013/2014. What’s more this has dropped from 66% in 2012/2013. With 120k apprentices expected to be required over the next five years (so that’s 24k a year) the current 8,030 coming in a year is not going to meet that demand. Even if the 20% growth continues year on year, in year five there will still be a 33% short fall of required apprentices. How that translates into qualified and competent persons and who is going to train those apprentices is another matter for another day.

So, as always, we want to draw your attention away from the mad rush to get people into the industry and ask you to focus your attention on how to get them to stay. We ran the figures a number of ways and the only realistic way of achieving the targets required are by achieving a balance between retention and recruitment. This might sound obvious, but I would warn you that without that balance we actually risk making the situation worse by creating negative ambassadors for the sector.

So what might get in the way of apprentices staying in the industry?

1. Expectations:

  • I’m a big fan of people going into schools and talking about the vast and brilliant careers available in the UK construction industry. What I’m a little more cautious of is the attempt that’s sometimes made to sell the industry without a blemish. The challenge this creates is of people entering a sector that looks very different to the dream they were promised, and there are enough cases in history that tell us just how well this approach pans out.

Solution – Give a “warts and all” view of the sector; the highs are high enough to counter the lows and at least people will be making informed decisions, and quite often that’s an appealing option.

2. Workplace Environment:

  • I love the industry; it’s a great place to work, but it does ask a lot. In fact it asks an awful lot including long hours, working away from home and possibly dangerous conditions. We need to start asking now if we can improve the experience people have of the sector. Do we really need people to start work at 7 after driving for an hour only to finish at 6 and then drive for another hour? Do we have enough support for managers on managing people as opposed to tasks? Do we do enough to bring our organisations together, or do we divide it with competitive targets?

Solution – Tools like the our engage program can help you unpick these challenges at the same pace as the rest of the sector keeping you ahead of the curve but in line with your clients’ thinking.

3. Client demands

  • I strongly believe that clients are working hard to help raise the numbers of apprentices in the construction sector. However, I’m not sure that the way we have been working towards this over the past few years has been the best solution for long term change and growth. Requiring contractors (not always from the area) who are working on local projects to employ local apprentices when they will only be on the contract and in the area for a few months can misunderstand how construction works when the apprentice needs the security of two years for training.

Solution – We need a rethink; clients and contractors, alongside sub-contractors and communities, need to work together for realistic and long-term solutions within procurement requirements. The Shared Apprenticeships programmes are a great start.

4. Image

  • Our image as a sector is important if we want to be seen as a ‘career of choice’ and we need to bear in mind that the 50 % of apprentices we currently lose from the sector may go out and spread a less than positive message to a wider reach about their experiences presenting an ever increasing challenge to us improving our image. Improving our retention rate will reduction the dissatisfaction leakage and the subsequent damage-limitation we have to undertake that keeps preventing us from moving forwards.

Solution – Focusing on industry retention has the potential to be the lynch-pin that can allow us to gain ground in improving our image by supporting companies to have fair employment and working practices in place and demonstrate that they offer extras, benefits and additional value. The new YouGov survey covered in Construction Manager and The Construction Index today has highlighted that these are increasingly more important to people in the industry than just the salaries now that salaries themselves have improved so significantly. Be Fair is a way to ensure our industry is an ‘industry of choice’, our employers are ‘employers of choice’ and we offer our people and our recruits ‘careers of choice’.

Construction Marketing Awards 2014

Jobs boost for unemployed construction workers

The construction industry therefore has a significant role to play in the growth of local economies as the UK returns to growth following the recession.  The joint investment programme will support the need to address skills gaps in areas of opportunity to ensure that construction businesses can meet growing demand and contribute to local economic growth

According to the new initiative, £1m will be invested by both parties to support a programme of skills and training activity tailored specifically to meeting the needs of the sector in Greater London. The scheme was developed to support construction’s role in boosting the capital’s economy and directly address the growing skills gap in the industry.

BE Group has been procured to provide project management services for the Greater London Joint Initiative.  Providers have been signed to deliver the six development projects in Greater London.

Ixion Holdings and the Green Skills Partnership will be developing and delivering a programme of support to help 500 unemployed construction workers to re-enter the industry and ensure that valuable skills are retained in the sector.

The Construction Youth Trust and London Youth have been procured to develop and deliver a shared work placement programme for 100 NEETs (Not in Employment, Education or Training) while Bouygues will be providing bespoke support for clients interested in adopting the National Skills Academy for Construction’s Client Based Approach.

Shared Intelligence, Montpellier and a consortium comprising of BE Group, the FMB (Federation of Master Builders) and the London Borough of Croydon have been procured to deliver a range of specialist business development training for construction SMEs across Greater London while Emergent have been commissioned to conduct research to understand the potential for the development of construction SME cooperatives in the capital.

Janette Welton-Pai, CITB Sector Strategy Manager for Greater London, said:

“We’re delighted to have secured providers for each of the projects in this exciting initiative. We firmly believe the providers will bring real value to the construction industry in Greater London in the near future.

“We know that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to skills and it’s particularly important in the current climate to ensure that any training or up-skilling is relevant. CITB looks forward to seeing the programme of projects get underway and make a difference for London’s construction employers and workers.”

The London scheme forms part of a wider Joint Investment programme being rolled out by CITB which aims to promote and develop local construction skills in key localities.  The construction sector accounts for 8% GDP and a workforce of 2.1 million across the UK.

The construction industry therefore has a significant role to play in the growth of local economies as the UK returns to growth following the recession.  The joint investment programme will support the need to address skills gaps in areas of opportunity to ensure that construction businesses can meet growing demand and contribute to local economic growth.

Harvey McGrath, Deputy Chair of the London Enterprise Panel, said:

“Much work has gone in to setting this programme up and I am very pleased that the six strands of training and support are now ready to go.  The construction sector is key to the success of London’s economy, which is why the London Enterprise Panel fully supports this initiative as part of a wider programme of activity that the LEP is leading in order to ensure London can provide the skills that the sector will need to deliver growth in the capital.”

CITB’s new majority women board – our view


Published: 14.01.2015

This week CITB announced the line-up of its new board and I think it’s fair to say that not many people were expecting 5 of the 8 members to be women, but they are. The biggest points are that it is a surprise, it is unexpected and it is cause for comment…should it really be?

As ever we thought we would offer our perspective on the appointments, what they might mean and the questions they might raise. Did BIS (they made the board selections) get it right? Is this ‘PC’ pandering? What does this mean for the sector?

So let’s grab the proverbial bull by the horns cos I know a few people are thinking it…they told me so.

Is this all just ‘PC’ gone mad; shouldn’t it be the best person for the job?

In that sentence lies the problem itself – the presumption that the women appointed will not be the best person for the job. Even when we have a full board of men we never question their ability based on gender, so why do we do this with women? Is it because they are under-represented in industry? If so, surely those that make it to the top, despite their difference, will be extraordinarily capable. Personally I feel these questions act as a barometer for how far we have progressed; if we are undermining the ability of women simply by their presence in a way that we would not do with men, we have a far way to go.

kath fontana ‏@kathf48  Jan 13Kath Fontana

@CNplus: Women outnumber men on new CITB board http://bit.ly/1y8j55g ” great – looking fw to the day when suchlike will not be ‘news’


All the women are from HR – where are the construction women?

To be clear, Dr. Diana Garnham who is CEO, Science Council does not work in HR; rather her background is politics and war studies. That being said I understand the point that none of the women have worked in traditional technical construction jobs, or at least not so I could find on LinkedIn (I’m more than happy to be proven wrong here).

There are a couple of points here – firstly, that the question was not asked of the men – did they have previous roles in construction and if so how construction technical would that role have to be before it was accepted? If you did ask this and looked at the histories of the group members, rather than made an assumption – well done you. If though you presumed MD meant from a technical trade background, I don’t mind saying that is not always the case.

The second point is around what the industry needs; as a woman who worked in construction I do feel that it provides an insight that I would like to be represented on this panel. There is a lot of presumption made about the challenges faced by different groups in construction that varies from the actual experiences of those groups – without that representation, there is a risk that stories won’t be told and lessons won’t be learnt. In saying that, the opportunities for women in technical roles are challenging – this is a fact demonstrated by the lack of women nominated for the 2014 CIOB CMYA awards amongst other things.

I think the focus must be on what the board is trying to achieve, and at the moment where we are recognising that the task-based focus of the industry has led us away from understanding the needs of the people in the sector, it might just be that the HR perspective is needed. Without knowing more about the reasoning behind these decisions it’s hard to answer this point more exactly.

Rob Charlton ‏@spacegroupRob  4h4 hours agoIslington, LondonRob Charlton

“Could CITB not find some women in construction to join the board. The HR thing is still a bit stereotypical.”


Why is only gender represented; what about disability, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.?

Firstly, you don’t know that it isn’t. If you only consider the diversity you can see you’re missing the point somewhat. I’ll agree the board is a touch pale, but that doesn’t in itself mean that ethnic diversity isn’t represented, just that you can’t see it. The same goes for disability, sexual orientation, etc. Also, in a group of 8 it’s hard to represent all things so some leeway must be given.

The reason gender is so important is that a good gender balance has been proven to have noticeable effects on attendance, punctuality, papers read in advance of meetings and reduction of ‘group think’. There is also research that indicates a greater return on investment from mixed gender boards.

What do you think?

Overall, I think this is good news; in the future of course I would like to see women from construction careers on the board, but I also want to see both men and women from non-construction careers represented too – having a viewpoint from outside of the industry pushes us further. If our work only looked at what construction has done historically we would not be able to make the leaps forward that we have. Using research and best practice from outside of the sector and tailoring it to the needs of this industry is an approach that we have found to work well.

I am hopeful that this board will help the industry refocus and better appreciate the needs of the people working within it, and if it takes half the board being from a background in HR to achieve that, then it’s ok by me.

Construction Marketing Awards 2014 Winner

We show benefits of diversity training


Holding on to your best talent

The industry is currently struggling to attract and keep the right talent and this makes it harder to keep good staff and attract good subcontractors. Our products are designed to help you create working environments that your employees want to stay in and progress in, whatever their background.

By working across the industry as well as focusing on the structural challenges facing the sector such as late payment terms, along the cultural and personal ones faced by companies, the framework is much more than a business tool; it is a strategy for improvement across the industry. That means that it needs your support. By signing up to the framework and backing its vision for positive industry change, the momentum can influence clients, main contractors and government.

  • An action plan tailored for your business, written by industry experts
  • Access to an online upload system for assessment documentation
  • Behavioural assessment of your organisation

Chrissi McCarthy is managing director of Constructing Equality email patrick@constructingequality.co.uk

Taylor Wimpey calls for more inclusive construction industry

One of the UK’s largest homebuilders has spoken out about the lack of diversity in construction, and has called for a more inclusive industry.

Female painter and decorator at work

Taylor Wimpey, which provides work for more than 15,000 staff and subcontractors, will be working with the CITB – the Industrial Training Board (ITB) for the construction industry in Great Britain – to address the diversity challenges facing the industry, and is supporting CITB’s Be Fair framework accreditation, to be launched in June 2014.

The Be Fair Framework is being developed by the industry, for the industry, to create inclusive working environments which support not only individuals but also other companies across construction and the built environment sector.

The Framework aims to address negative cultures and practices to create a fair, inclusive and respectful industry for everyone.

Taylor Wimpey Chief Executive Pete Redfern said: “We strongly believe that having a diverse workforce is not just the right thing to do but offers clear business benefits.

“It helps us to attract and retain the best people with the broadest range of talent and makes sure that our staff, who come from a variety of backgrounds, age groups and career paths, can relate to the communities that we work with and offer the best service.

“With 19% of construction workers reaching retirement age within the next decade, we will have a huge gap to fill. We need to invest today to ensure that we have the right skills, expertise and drive to meet the ever growing demand for new homes in the future, and this can only be achieved by attracting a much wider range of candidates than has been done in the industry before.”

Traditionally, construction is seen as a ‘job for the boys’, with Taylor Wimpey taking the lead in challenging this perception through a variety of tailor-made initiatives – targeted recruitment campaigns to attract candidates, from a variety of ethnic and professional backgrounds and across different age groups is one example.

Also in addition to continuing their trade apprenticeship schemes, Taylor Wimpey has recently launched a new site management specific apprenticeship scheme to tackle skills shortage in the industry, aiming to attract around 100 new site management apprentices by the end of 2015 through the scheme.

Judy Lowe, Deputy Chairman at CITB “Support from industry leaders like Taylor Wimpey is what we need to address the issue of diversity within construction.

“For example, women have made up only 12% of the industry for the last decade and with confidence in construction growing, we need 182,000 qualified construction workers in the next five years to meet the skills demand.

“That’s why we need to attract the best and brightest talent to our industry regardless of gender and background.

“Like Taylor Wimpey, CITB is taking action by introducing the BeFair framework to help create more inclusive working environments, both in office and on sites, to ensure that all workers are treated fairly and with respect.”