Industry professionals came together to take part in a workshop this month to focus on improving equality within construction. Organised by Construction Excellence Devon and sponsored by Vistry Group, which builds Linden and Bovis properties, the workshop explored how a more diverse workforce could be attracted and retained.
The construction industry has come a long way in the last two decades – leaving behind old stereotypes and seeing a more diverse and equal workforce.
However, much more still needs to be done to improve UK statistics:
• Women make up 15 per cent of the UK construction industry, with approximately two per cent working on-site
• BAME employees make up six per cent of the workforce
• Disabled employees also make up six per cent of the workforce
• 60 per cent of LGBTQ+ employees have experienced homophobic and derogatory terms at work. The exact per cent of LGBTQ+ workers in the construction industry is unclear
Vistry South West’s senior quantity surveyor, Kimberley Heywood-Cann is on Construction Excellence Devon’s committee. She commented: “Not only do we need to attract a diverse workforce but we need to ensure the culture within all our businesses supports and champions equality, diversity and inclusion. It was fantastic to talk through these challenges at the workshop with organisations spearheading change, including some of our subcontractors like Denholm Industrial.
“Vistry has an active Diversity and Inclusion working group and committee, which promotes and represents minority groups throughout the business. It’s wonderful to know so much great work is taking place to ensure change but more still needs to be done, as the statistics show.”
The workshop was presented by The Inclusive Agency’s EDI consultants, Louise Adjoa Parker and Louise Boston-Mammah. The agency aims to bring marginalised and diverse voices to centre stage; create connections between people of different ethnic backgrounds living in the south west; work to reduce prejudice and racism; and develop strong partnerships with individuals and organisations to promote EDI in the south west and beyond.
Tanya Loosemore, chair of Constructing Excellence Devon said: “We were delighted to run this event for construction professionals across the Devon region, which we felt really reflects the purpose of Constructing Excellence to promote collaboration and drive change through the industry. I’m very thankful for the support we received from our sponsors Vistry and Ashfords for hosting us. The workshop was well-attended by individuals representing a wide range of sectors which made for some great discussions, real engagement and shared lessons learnt.
“Conversations around EDI, the challenges faced and improvements that can and should be made, are vital to how successful our industry will be in addressing issues and achieving a diverse, inclusive and motivated workforce.”
For more information visit www.constructingexcellencesw.org.uk and www.vistrygroup.co.uk
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