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New panel to improve diversity of construction

CITB ConstructionSkills has taken over the leadership of a panel to increase the industry’s employment of women, disabled people and those from ethnic minorities

The Construction Leadership Diversity Forum, set up in 2010 by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), is now led by ConstructionSkills and renamed the Construction Industry Leadership Forum for Fairness, Inclusion and Respect.

The panel is chaired by CITB ConstructionSkills’s deputy chair Judy Lowe and its members include representatives from UK Contractors Group, the Construction Industry Council, the Chartered Institute of Building, the National Federation of Builders, Constructing Excellence, Constructing Equality, SMEs and SummitSkills.

One of the group’s priorities is to improve the retention of skilled female employees and those from ethnic minority groups. It will also produce examples of good practice for the industry.

The original panel, the Construction Leadership Diversity Forum, was set up following the EHRC’s “Race and the Construction Industry” inquiry in 2009, which found people from ethnic minorities were under represented in construction. The EHRC also produced another report, “Equality & Diversity – Good Practice for the Construction Sector”, which found construction companies needed to do more improve the diversity of the industry.

Ms Lowe said the eight of the top ten construction companies had women on the board now compared with five in March 2011. But she said the number of women and ethnic minorities across construction had decreased disproportionately compared with the workforce as a whole. She said: “There’s a great deal of work to be done in this area, which makes the set up of this forum so timely – industry has a real challenge ahead to get these number back up and have an more inclusive, representative workforce.”

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