Celebrating a culture of can-do

Industry awards highlight diversity and inclusion in construction, engineering and housing

The people and organisations trailblazing the way towards a more inclusive and diverse built environment workforce were honoured at an awards ceremony in Manchester last week.
Over 300 industry professionals gathered at the glamourous surroundings of the Hilton Deansgate in the city centre to applaud their peers at the Inspire Awards 2018, held on Tuesday 5 June.

The event is dedicated to showcasing and promoting – indeed to inspire – a more diverse and inclusive culture in construction, engineering and housing. Set against a national skills crisis, Brexit and an ageing workforce, the message the event aims to deliver has perhaps never been timelier.

Joe Broun, Managing Director of UK Business Events (UKBE), which organised the awards in conjunction with Don’t Panic Events, said: “Tonight was all about honouring the companies and organisations, large and small, that are creating an inclusive environment where all employees can thrive, as well as those individuals within the sector dedicated to equality and fairness. We have received tremendous support from the industry with over 100 submissions. Our judging panel faced a difficult task in choosing the winners.
We are also delighted to have raised £1,300 for tonight’s charity partner, the Construction Youth Trust, who are doing an incredible job in inspiring young people, often from under-privileged or under-represented backgrounds, into a viable and rewarding career path in the built environment.”

The evening began in style with a drinks reception in Cloud 23, offering beautiful sunny views across Manchester. The main event was hosted by journalist and broadcaster Marverine Cole, with a welcome address from Harish Bhayani, a senior partner at PRM Diversity Consultants, who also served on the awards’ judging panel.

A Trans-Atlantic flavour was provided by Barbara Res in a special video message from New Jersey, USA. She is renowned as the first woman to be placed in charge of a major New York City construction site. In 1979 none other than the current US President, Donald Trump, hired Res to project manage the construction of Trump Tower.

“Trump liked to refer to me as ‘killer’,” she said. “In his mind, that’s what a woman had to be to be successful. By his own admission, Trump said that he thought men were superior. But he told me a good woman is better than 10 good men. He thought that was a compliment. But what he was doing was acknowledging to me that women had to work harder, smarter and generally for less money.”
Res added: “Although sexism and discrimination continue to be part of life, things are improving and that is, in no small way, thanks to the individuals and businesses who strive to make inclusion, diversity and equality a part of their model.”
Later in the year, 25 September, Res will be flying over to the UK to speak at the Inspire Summit in Manchester.

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