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Engineers marching at Pride

LGBT Rainbow laces

Firms from the engineering and construction industry will march together next month to champion lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inclusion.

Following the success of last year’s Equality in Construction walking group, Arup, Arcadis, Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Laing O’Rourke, Lend Lease, Mott Macdonald, Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners, Skanska, Sweett and WSP Parsons Brinkerhoff will take part in the Pride in London parade on 25 June 2016 under the collective banner of #BuildingEquality.

The group said that over the last year, there had been an increase in activity across the industry in terms of LGBT awareness and inclusion. It added that industry-wide networks, Off Site and Inter Engineering, had grown steadily and a large number of companies had signed up as Stonewall diversity champions.

The group also said that in February, for the first time there had been an engineering and construction presence at Student Pride, the largest LGBT careers fair in the UK.

“When we started our network five years ago, we were quite literally the only gays in the village; I’ve now lost count of the number of companies in our industry who have set up their own thriving LGBT and ally networks,” said chair of Arup’s LGBT network Ben Anstiss.

“Both Off Site and Inter Engineering are doing great work to champion inclusion, and the support for Pride in London marching groups has been overwhelming. I’d encourage anyone in engineering and construction, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, to get involved and stand up for equality.”

Co-chair of the Lendlease LGBT employee resource group Georgina Scott said that it had run a number of initiatives across its business and last year had issued 3,000 multi-coloured laces to its building sites across the UK to encourage workers to lace their boots with rainbow colours.

“We’re delighted to be working alongside other major industry players to promote a more inclusive and diverse workplace,” she said. “This is part of a wider Stonewall campaign which encourages everyone to stand in solidarity and support for inclusion.”

However, Anstiss said that there was still more to do, particularly outside of major city centres like London. He explained that although a number of events, organised in Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff, had been well attended, a critical mass was essential to maintain inertia and offer a vital role for supporters of LGBT networks.

“For the industry to be truly more inclusive we need to make greater use of support tools such as the Construction Industry Training Board’s ‘toolbox talks’,” commented senior planner and co-chair of Balfour Beatty LGBT and Allies Group Christina Riley

“Through taking these messages to grassroots construction workers, line managers, senior managers, as well as the supply chain and client base, we can encourage a culture of fairness, inclusion and respect and position the construction industry as an attractive place to work.”

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