As the sector grapples with these high levels of homophobia described as “rife” by respondents of the survey, the industry has decided to reach out to LGBT graduates in an attempt to change the image of the trade.
National Student Pride this week announced that six of the biggest construction firms in the UK will be attending its careers fair, the biggest of its kind in the UK, at its annual event held during LGBT History Month 5th-7th February.
The fair, which will be held at the University of Westminster’s Marylebone campus on February 6th between 12-5pm, will see Arcadis, Arup, Balfour Beatty, Laing O'Rourke, Lendlease and Skanska in attendance.
Christina Riley, a trans Senior Planner at Balfour Beatty CSUK and Co Chair of their LGBT Network, said “Having 6 of the biggest firms attending the National Student Pride Careers Fair says a lot about the positive change in the industry. There is a significant skills gap growing across the industry in all vocations and the industry is waking up to the fact that we are missing out on a whole pool of talent in the lgbt community as well as from other minority groups.”
The founder of National Student Pride Tom Guy who recently started his own business Guy Piper Architects spoke of his delight at the news, agreeing with Christina that this was a big step for what has long been a difficult industry to be out in.
Tom was ‘out’ in his previous jobs to his colleagues but didn’t have the confidence to come out on site with contractors adding “I am hopeful that situation will change in the near future as attitudes begin to alter."
Hatti Smart, Student Co-Chair of National Student Pride said “It was incredible gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk that encouraged people to come-out, because every time you realise you know someone who is LGBT, a little bit of prejudice wears away” adding “Having the construction firms at Student Pride, may only be a small step, but it’s a vote of confidence in LGBT graduates in the industry and of change.”
Of course the move to increase the number of LGBT graduates in the construction industry will not be enough alone to change attitudes. However it’s part of a wider move across other parts of the industry. With the new year brought in the mandatory RIBA guidelines for all chartered practices to have a diversity policy from 2016 onwards.
This announcement comes on a big day for LGBT employment news, as Stonewall announces its top 100 gay-friendly employers in the UK. National Student Pride is happy to see partners EY and IBM credited as star performers, with their work helping Stonewall create the index on which they score other companies. Other National Student Pride partners to be included on the list include Clifford Chance (9th) and Aviva (46th).
The construction companies will be joining the likes of EY who have been platinum sponsors of the event since 2011, Clifford Chance, IBM, Aviva, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Google. The careers fair is free to attend and is open to everyone - not just students.
Notes to editors
National Student Pride, now in its 11th year, is back in London February 5th-7th hosted at the University of Westminster and G-A-Y venues. The 2016 event features panels on Coming Out with charity RUComingOut.com, Mental Health and discussing the impact of LGBT YouTubers, with YouTubers themselves.
On the Sunday of the event National Student Pride are screening a exclusive screening of Milk with a Q&A with Harvey Milk’s Nephew and Global activist in his own right Stuart Milk about his Uncle’s story - further release with details to follow later this week.
In 2015 the event was named, ‘Best Event, by the British LGBT Awards beating both London and Brighton pride who were also nominated.
The event began at Oxford Brookes University in 2005 as a response to the Christian Union’s ‘Homosexuality and the Bible’ talk. Student Pride continues this mantra in its 11th year. Student pride has chosen to hold its 2016 event at on campus because the fight Students face against LGBTphobia is unfortunately just as prevalent as when we started.
National Student Pride believes its long running sponsors including EY, Clifford Chance and IBM and indeed, those who are joining us for the first time this year, are shining a beacon of positive light to other industries about how to become more inclusive - it’s clear the Construction industry has followed their example.
You can see the full run-down of over 50 stalls at http://www.studentpride.co.uk/stalls/
Both Tom Guy, Founder of National Student Pride and Hatti Smart Student Co-Chair are available for further interviews and quote requests. Further Christina Riley quotes are also available. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with a request.
National Student Pride’s careers fair is a free daytime event open to all (not just students) and is sponsored by
Gold: Clifford Chance
Silver: Aviva, IBM, Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Titanium: BP, GE Capital, Norton Rose Fulbright
Tickets to a whole weekend of club nights that accompany a whole weekend of events are availble for £5 from www.studentpride.co.uk/tickets
Read a full run down of the weekend here
Further Photos & logos can be downloaded from: www.studentpride.co.uk/press