Diversity is in the construction pipeline
Post Date: 01 May 2012
The Construction Industry Leadership Forum for Fairness, Inclusion and Respect (FIR) – set up following a recommendation from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) – aims to bring more diversity to construction.
Judy Lowe, deputy chairman at CITB-ConstructionSkills, welcomed the new initiative, which she will also chair.
"I’m delighted to be heading up this forum,” she said. “It presents a fantastic opportunity to build on what’s best in the industry and encourage where there’s scope for improvement.
"There is a great deal of excellent work already happening in the area but this forum can act as a central hub to drive change across the industry.
"As the first woman to be appointed as a non-executive director of a construction company more than 15 years ago, I know that construction is a fantastic industry to be part of, no matter what your background is.
"On a personal level therefore, I am passionate about challenging the status quo especially when industry has so much to gain through wider inclusion and representation.
"Nowadays, construction is for everybody and with an aging white male workforce, diversity is no longer a luxury or a ‘nice to have’, it’s just sound business sense."
The forum is made up of participants from across industry to ensure that it is representative and facilitates the needs of all sector stakeholders.
Participants include UK Contractors Group, the Construction Industry Council, the Chartered Institute of Building, the National Federation of Builders, Constructing Excellence, Constructing Equality, SMEs and SummitSkills.
Following two separate surveys which prompted the EHRC recommendation, the forum has identified an immediate priority: to provide clear and consistent information on fairness, inclusion and respect for the industry so that everyone can access guidance, advice and helpful examples of good practice.
The industry’s need to improve its retention of skilled female employees and those from ethnic minority groups is also a top priority.