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Leaders speak with a single voice for a more inclusive construction & Built Environment Sector

Posted: 7th February 2024

The critical importance of cross-sector collaboration in creating a more inclusive built environment sector was agreed upon by experts who attended the "Joined up leadership for an inclusive built environment", hosted by the University College of Estate Management (UCEM) on Wednesday 31st January 2024 in Central London.

The event, supported by the Construction Leadership Council, Construction Inclusion Coalition, Construction Industry Council and Building People, convened built environment leaders and change-makers striving to make the sector more inclusive, fair and respectful, including professional institutions, employers, campaign groups and educational institutions.

Across the event’s agenda, there was a particular focus on bringing together those involved in sector-wide EDI initiatives to support a strategic approach that avoids duplication of effort, encourages joined-up expert leadership and achieves a ‘one voice’ approach towards EDI strategy in the sector.

CIC Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Chair Dr Bola Abisogun OBE, who received his Honour for services to Diversity and Young People in the construction industry and serves as Chair of the Construction Industry Council’s EDI Committee, spoke at the event explaining how the Committee supported Council members on strategic issues relating to EDI, stated the Committee’s support for the work of the six professional bodies and his commitment to ensuring the Council’s committee structures are diverse.

Following a panel debate the event wrapped up with a group workshop session. Attendees, which included representatives from various organisations like Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska, Savills and Women in Property actively participated in exercises to garner their views as to how the sector can better collaborate in key areas such as EDI data collection, supporting those from non-traditional backgrounds in the transition from education to employment and how professional standards/CPD could be used to inculcate a more inclusive culture in the sector.

A theme common across workshop groups was the need for the sector to pool its resources to support joint inclusion efforts. The collaborative nature of the workshop also served as a starting point for reducing fragmentation and duplication in the sector, thereby enhancing the impact of existing diversity initiatives.

UCEM’s Vice Chancellor, Ashley Wheaton, remarked, "By uniting diverse voices and viewpoints, we seek to cultivate a collaborative approach towards EDI. Our goal is to synchronise existing EDI initiatives, enabling them to resonate with a unified and powerful voice, creating a sector that is equitable and respectful for everyone. UCEM extends its gratitude to all speakers, panellists and attendees for their invaluable contributions and looks forward to continuing these essential conversations for the advancement of a truly inclusive built environment.”