The construction industry is making a conscientious effort towards incresing diversity and boosting inclusivity. UK Construction Week as the leading industry trade show is leading the way with a new code of conduct.
UKCW, responding stridently to criticism of the content of an exhibitor’s stand last year, has subsequently devised a set of standards to tackle the lack of equality within the industry. A new code on conduct for its 600+ exhibitors has been formulated to address design and themes, as well as those staffing the stands.
New ideas to boost diversity
The guide was steered by a committee made up of representatives from all parts of the industry, which includes the show’s organisers, Media 10, plus Group HR and diversity manager Willmott Dixon, Balfour Beatty’s senior planner and LGBT Network co-chair, all playing a major part in the process. Other key influencers were also invited to the meeting: Elizabeth Kavanagh, head of HR, Research and Innovation at Stride Treglown and Angela Dapper, partner at Denton Corker Marshall.
The panel has scrutinised the ways in which companies are portraying themselves in the sector. “We encourage interactive, thought-provoking, educational and inspirational stands at UK Construction Week,” writes the exhibitor code of conduct policy.
‘Good stories about Diversity’
“Your stand should project who you are as a business and share your brand values with a wide audience coming to the show.” UKCW is thought to be the first of any major trade show to set these new guidelines, which will positively encourage growth in the sector as well as represent the event for all that it stands for.
Nathan Garnett, director of UKCW, explains how construction has had a “long term problem” for years. “But that was the past” – its image is now one that’s steering towards change with “good stories about diversity”.
‘Do’s and Don’ts’
“The future and the way we are building things are altering. You can look at architects and designers, they’re all changing; they’re all becoming diverse in the make-up of who’s doing what. Everyone’s role is shifting, it’s just that construction needs to move much faster because it started from further behind.”
He continues to explain how the new guide is more of a “tool” to help exhibitors, making sure that these standards are adhered to fully. This means that, as well as having “eyes and ears everywhere”, there will be plenty of pre-show work, an exhibitor event and a guide and exhibitor manual to communicate to everybody the new policy and the “do’s and don’ts of how to do it”.
Improving the sector
This year’s event will be centred on themes discussed at the diversity panel meeting – with a particular focus on the future. There will also be plenty of pioneering industry gures, women in architecture and role models who will be hosting talks.
Garnett concludes: “What will working in construction look like in the future? In the next 10 years we will be improving on diversity, the sector’s image and quality.”
UKCW has devised a new code of conduct to tackle the lack of diversity in the constuction industry. It’s the first major trade show to do so.