What do you do?
Our aim is to improve the Built Environments approach to the people it employs, we do this in a number of ways at a number of different levels for example.
Affecting change at strategic level by sitting on boards and responding to government consultations of behalf of organisations such as the CIOB.
Delivering training that understands the working lives, concerns and passions of your employees so that they can “buy in” to the equality agenda.
Not only raise awareness of the challenges faced by industry but of the successes it enjoys so that the industry can move forward and be celebrated as it does so.
Helping companies use equality, diversity, fairness inclusion and respect to build their businesses, retain their employees ad create a happier more diverse workforce.
We are a private business but we do try and commit 10% of our resources to helping the industry without cost, some of the things we do are visit school, give talks, help SMEs find support.
How will this make a difference?
As an industry we believe that construction is often led by clients and government who are not always aware of the challenges we face. Our work is aims to educate these groups and create initiatives that recognise the good work the industry is doing now, as well as working with individual firms to create something better for the future.
There is a strong argument for equality and diversity in business and we believe that by treating your employees with fairness, inclusion and respect you can save yourself improve bottom line, save on resources and employ the best people.
Do you expect to change everybody’s opinion?
Not even a little bit, and it’s not something we particular want to do either. Opinions are held deep and whilst we aim get you to think about your reasoning we don’t think a half day training course will change the socially ingrained views of a life time. What we do instead is explain what is and isn't appropriate in the workplace, how inappropriate behavior can have a negative effect on your business and what you can do to manage it.
How would this benefit my business?
In lots of ways, from helping you to meet legal requirement, to strengthen your PQQ tender submissions. More importantly though we can help you create a inclusive and diverse workforce that attracts, progresses and retains key talent having a positive effect on your bottom line.
More specifically the BE FaiR frame work which we have partnered with construction skills to design and deliver will enable you to develop your organisation in a way that understands your resources, fits in with your existing processes and provides a wide range of supportive documents to help you fill the gap. At the end you get an accreditation which you can use to strengthen your PQQ’s.
If this is proven to work, why isn't it put into other industries as well?
It is, some are much further ahead than construction especially those linked to the public sector, and unfortunately few are further behind. Our concern is that whilst other industries reap the benefits of a diverse workforce attracting and retaining the best talent we as an industry continue to fall behind in the race for employer of choice.
That’s one of the reasons why the sector skills council – Construction skill, commissioned us to design the BE FaIR framework to give the industry a “leg up”. We firmly believe that if industry gets behind this initiative we can become a future industry of choice, after all the work we do is amazing too often it’s the way we are treated that’s off putting.
Will there be negative effects to my business if I can’t provide E&D training to my workforce?
Possibly, more and more public sector clients are asking for management staff to be trained in equality. We know this can be a costly business and while we would love everyone to book training with us we know this is not always an option. This is why we are working with construction skills and the UKCG to develop toolbox talks around equality and diversity that will be made available to every site for the cost of the ink and paper. We are also developing online equality training to keep time and cost down – especially for the subcontract trades.
I own a small micro company (5 people) & we are a family run business that all get on fine and have no issues-do we still require E&D training?
We think so, equality can affect us no matter how small the business, but I think it’s important to understand that this does not mean you should be doing as much as the large organisations. Not just because you don’t have the resource but because it wouldn't necessarily be of any use to you.
The BE FaIR frame work is bringing out its micro strand next year which allows small businesses to benefit from the framework without being overwhelmed by it, in fact the initial feedback has stated it to be very useful giving access to policies, processes and feedback that would have otherwise been out of reach.
Our background in construction means we know where the majority of the risk usually falls and we are always on the lookout to protect the SMEs first.
What is meant by an E&D issue?
Usually this would mean that you have a situation in your organisation where someone has treated someone else less favorably because of something that is unrelated to their ability to carry out their work.
If I pay for E&D training this year will I be required to review this every year?
No, not legally at least. You should keep in mind though that different clients want different things so we can’t make an absolute statement. We find that different approaches are required for different companies so we would always want to advise individually; there could be circumstances that require you to have additional training.
What is the difference between positive discrimination and positive action?
The most important difference is that positive action is legal and positive discrimination (except in the most rare of cases) is not. You cannot legally choose to employ someone over someone else due to a protected characteristic (race, sex, disability, religion and belief, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, age, pregnancy and maternity) but you can enact positive action. Positive action is where there is an under representation of a group in your work force (can vary with geography ) or in a set of roles and it works by trying to make things a little fairer. For example if you had no women as site managers but lots of women in admin roles who were interested in finding out more you could set up a training day to find out if their skills were suited. Think of it as bridging a gap not crossing a line.
Do I have to have to have toilet/ changing facilities for both sexes on all sites?
No, you only need provide a lockable door; or if you are working on a temporary site access to toilet facilities. Of course if you have the means and the motive separate toilet facilities are always welcomed.
Where can I get help from to support in employing a new worker with hearing disabilities?
Have a little look at this site access to work its funding from the government to help people living with disabilities pay for the practical support they need to help them do their job.