Over the last two years’ events, the Inspire Summit has focused on encouraging much needed gender equality and increased inclusion for women across the construction, engineering and housing sectors. While this is still of paramount importance, the problem of under representation in construction does not end there.
At the Inspire Summit this year, industry leaders on diversity, inclusion and innovation discussed how we can inspire a new generation – irrespective of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, age, or disability – to embrace a career in the building industry.
Let’s get started!
The Inspire Summit, now in its third year, was hosted by award-winning journalist and broadcaster Marverine Cole.
Over 200 professionals - and students that are hoping to join the construction industry - attended the event. Students looking to embark on a career in the built environment were kindly offered free tickets to the Inspire Summit by the event organisers.
The day began with a welcome from Keynote speaker, Rebecca Thompson, founder and director of Thompson Heritage Consultancy and fellow and past president of the Chartered Institute of Building.
Diversity, inclusion and innovation
The focus of this year’s conference was creating cultures where everyone can succeed. The presentations were split into three sections: personal development, recruitment and retention. There were talks from various industry professionals that discussed unconscious bias, unlocking your potential and creating an inclusive culture.
Fiona Triller, programme director of Creating Inclusive Industries talked about how individuals form social stereotypes about certain groups of people outside of their conscious awareness.
“Every single one of us has a bias based on our life experiences,” she said.
Experts and industry leaders debated a wide range of topics from tackling unconscious bias and implementing inclusive recruitment strategies, to attracting a more diverse workforce for the future and building the business case for diversity.
Getting a student’s perspective
There were several students that took part in a panel discussion where they talked about their experiences in the sector. This session was led by Julian Buttery, senior employer engagement manager at the Careers and Enterprise Company.
“Lots of teachers don’t know a lot about the construction sector and the available roles,” said University of Salford student Racheal Umunna.
The conference was rounded off with a session led by Joscelyne Shaw, director of strategy at Mates in Mind. As you know, we are official supporters of Mates in Mind, and it was fantastic to hear Joscelyne talk about the achievements and the work that Mates in Mind has done since it was set up two years ago, focussing on promoting cultures of positive well-being throughout the industry.
The Inspire Awards
As you know we were shortlisted in the ‘Most Inspiring Mental Well-being Initiative’ category at The Inspire Awards 2019. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful in our category, however the we were honoured to attend the event and be amongst some of the most inspiring companies in the construction industry.
Congratulations to all the winners at the Inspire Awards, and of course all of those that were shortlisted!