INCREASING WORKPLACE DIVERSITY IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY Viewpoint

INCREASING WORKPLACE DIVERSITY IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

Posted by Fabrick on 02 September 2019

For centuries, there was the perception that construction is an exclusive club brimming with masculinity and little else. The last few decades has seen the industry take leaps and bounds in proving this stereotype wrong, and a lot has been done to encourage diversity within the sector, but there is still a long way to go. There has been a perception that if you didn’t fit in with the stereotype, it could be difficult to gain access into the industry - or you simply wouldn’t consider it a viable career option. But with <CITB> set to pour £10 million into encouraging people from diverse backgrounds into working in construction, we question if this money will be enough to create programmes and opportunities to convince people to start a career within our thriving industry. While a more diverse selection of people is slowly making their way into the industry, by 2023, it is anticipated that 168,500 jobs will be created within construction, and those roles will need to be filled.

The head of CITB careers strategy, Stephen Cole, said: “With thousands of jobs being created in the coming years, Pathways into Construction will demonstrate that we need to stop fishing in only half the pond and diversify the talent pool to meet future skills needs.” There are many people in the UK that feel forgotten in society and by creating opportunities for them to get into the construction industry, they will feel less overlooked. This includes people who come from a range of different backgrounds who could create solutions to long standing issues. New people could mean new ideas and new ways of thinking, which would also assist in the push to modernise the industry. By being inclusive and looking further than the usual people that are hired, there could be the potential to change the whole industry for the better!

The construction sector is regarded as a cornerstone of the UK’s economic progression, so why wouldn’t we want to encourage more of our citizens into taking up roles in the sector? There needs to be a push to accept people that are older and looking for a career change, or have never been able to get a job but are willing and able to work. Although we should stress that the people who would usually take on these roles will not be pushed out, but will also benefit from this injection of money into training centres and colleges. It will ensure that they receive proper and thorough training to help them become the best tradespeople that they can be. Working alongside people from different backgrounds encourages others to be more inclusive and understanding of different lifestyles.

Throwing money at the problem will only work if it is being used in the right way. Creating spaces where people of any race, gender, age or culture can all come together and learn how to work to build a better future for themselves and the country would be the logical first step. As would talking to people that feel there is no way for them to get into construction and encouraging them to enroll in college courses and take up apprenticeships, telling people that it isn’t too late for a career change, and that the industry welcomes them with open arms. A hard day’s graft will always be celebrated in construction and if you are willing to work hard, then you will be accepted.

A change in mind-set (on both sides!) is the key to encouraging diversity within the industry. Showing people that the sector isn’t a closed box that you can’t enter unless you are a certain type, and telling the industry that people outside of the normal demographic can work as hard and be as committed as them will create opportunities. As with most problems in life, open communication will help solve the issue and allow a diverse construction sector to flourish.

Here at Fabrick, we’re thrilled to have an eclectic workforce, made up of graduates to 70-something year-olds! We’re also proud to have workers from all over the globe come together to create a 33-year strong company and bring fresh talent to marketing the built environment. If you think you’ve got what it takes to become a part of Team Fabrick, take a look at our <LinkedIn page> for a full list of the job roles for which we’re currently recruiting! We look forward to hearing from you.

Paige Chapman, Fabrick

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