The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has launched a new ‘Be Fair’ framework designed to address issues of equality and diversity in construction.
Led by CITB, the Framework has been developed by the industry for the industry in partnership with Constructing Equality.
It is designed to bring an end to inappropriate cultures and practices creating a fair, inclusive and respectful industry that recognises the commercial benefits of adopting fairness, inclusion and respect policies.
Speaking at the launch event attended by 50 industry leaders Michael Smyth, Head of Human Resources, GRAHAM Construction, – one of the first companies to achieve framework accreditation – said that Be Fair gave his company “competitive advantage and makes sound business sense. It helps address demands of new markets and the need to attract quality employees and has delivered quantifiable improvement in people management skills and employee engagement.’
Mr Smyth said that because Be Fair is industry-centric ‘everyone gets it. There is enthusiasm from all levels of staff with managers volunteering to take part.’
Briony Wickenden, head of Training and Development, Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) said: “All the evidence demonstrates just how much Be Fair is needed – over 60% of those working in construction have heard sexist language, 53% racist language, 48% homophobic language and 51% ageist language in the last year. Four percent left the industry as a result.
‘If further proof is needed, women are paid up to 33% less than men in construction and make up only 11% of the workforce. BME participation is only around 5% and the number of people with a disability employed in the industry is disproportionately low.’
Hayley Ellis, Head of Training at the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) intimated how Be Fair would be of great benefit to her membership and would look to get as many of them as possible to be part of the next 100 companies to sign up.
Matt Valentine-Pyle, Head of Product Management, CITB said: ‘The Be Fair Framework is the result of collaboration within and across the industry.
‘The support provided by the Construction Industry Leadership forum for Fairness, Inclusion and Respect and the CITB Training Committee to pilot the framework for 110companies, generated significant interest and provided a great opportunity to share the framework with a much wider number of companies and supporters.”
‘So far, over 30 early adopters have gone through Be Fair accreditation. Beyond the central objectives of the Framework, participating companies have reported improved employee relations, a more effective approach to meeting regulatory requirements and better working practices.
‘As awareness of the Framework grows we are receiving an increasing number of enquiries from companies wanting to go through the accreditation process. Hayley Ellis Head of Training at the Federation of Master Builders is keen that their members should feature prominently in the first 100 companies adopting the standard.
‘With strong support from the industry – and recognition that Equality and Diversity is a journey – not a destination, – it’s clear that Be Fair is a force for good and is here to stay.’