Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) has launched a new initiative to promote diversity and inclusion across the construction sector, with targeted support for the industry’s multitude of SMEs.
Through the DIveIN training and development programme, CSIC will give businesses the tools and skills they need – depending on what stage they are at – to establish or enhance their diversity and inclusion offering to staff. The 12-month programme has been developed in partnership with Equate Scotland – who has previously worked with organisations such as Balfour Beattie, Morrison Construction, CALA Homes and Historic Environment Scotland.
With SMEs accounting for around 95% of Scotland’s construction industry, the programme has been specifically tailored to provide them with the advice and guidance to implement real change. While Covid-19 has shifted priorities towards industry recovery, the DIveIN programme will support and encourage businesses to promote diversity and inclusion, ensuring that it remains an important topic for 2021 against the backdrop of Brexit and the challenges of Covid-related restrictions.
A series of 12 workshops, discussion forums and virtual events will focus on raising awareness and sharing best practice from organisations large and small, including any cross-over with academia, with participants receiving a certificate on completion of the programme. The programme will also welcome input from other industries and encourage participation from all organisations working in the built environment.
The first event takes place on 26th January to set the scene and introduce organisations to the opportunities and support available to help build a diverse, dynamic workforce. Speakers include Amanda McKay from Balfour Beatty, who will discuss her experience of being transgender in the construction industry; Emily Carr, of FourWard Architecture and Masterplanning, who will share insights as an early career professional; and Michael Divers from Sir Robert McAlpine who will talk about his experience of delivering a large-scale culture change programme.
The event will conclude with a panel session to discuss the effect of Covid-19 on diversity and inclusion in the sector, as well as offering participants a chance to ask questions.
Douglas Morrison, CSIC’s director of operations and future skills, said: “Diversity and inclusion should be viewed as an opportunity for the construction industry, rather than a challenge. Building a diverse workforce can only be viewed as a positive and encouraging new skills and talent to enter the sector will undoubtedly bring new ideas that can aid growth and development. The industry has been making moves in the right direction, but with a dedicated programme of support we’re hoping to build on that momentum, particularly focusing on SMEs to ensure they have the tools and knowledge to make meaningful changes.
“Throughout the programme we’ll be working closely with every corner of the sector, from individuals and small businesses to large corporations with established policies already in place. By focusing on diversity and inclusion we can challenge the norms and create a welcoming, positive culture that reflects the diversity of our population and embraces equality across one of Scotland’s most exciting and valuable industries.”