The Need For More Diversity In The Trade Industry

diversity in trade industry women workers construction diverse workforce

Our attitudes as a nation have dramatically changed in the past four decades, particularly in terms of gender and the roles in which men and women should both assume. A Sky News report discovered that in 1984, 42 per cent of individuals felts as if men should be the sole breadwinner and women should assume the role of homemaker. Fast-forward 35 years, however, and now that figure is five times less with only eight per cent feeling the same way.

Gender, however, is only a small piece in a significantly larger block of diversity. Everything from age to race, religion, disability, and even heightism can factor into this topic on workplace discrimination and the need for a more diverse workforce. This is particularly relevant in terms of the workplace, as no one should be left out of a workplace. Luckily, we’re seeing some fantastic stories coming from trade jobs lately, showcasing not only diversity at work, but success from it.

Quarry Management At 22

Emily Burridge spoke to the BBC about her story. Burridge had entered into the world of construction via an apprenticeship scheme. But this isn’t just an example of a woman getting her foot in the door to a stereotypically male-orientated industry. Burridge hasn’t just gotten into the sector — she’s excelled, making her a brilliant example of why the industry must recognize the importance of equality and diversity.

At 22 years old, Burridge is a technical production manager, having worked on 25 quarries — a considerably impressive feat. Not only is she representing the women in a male-dominated sector, she’s also championing the case for age equality and diversity too. Though she is only in her early twenties, Burridge replaced a man who was of retirement age. Even though her staff are mostly older men, Burridge has had no problem in integrating with and leading her staff.

Apprentice Of The Year Award

Todd Scanlon was awarded the prestigious title of “UK’s Best Apprentice” by On the Tools. Thirty-year-old Scanlon has Down’s Syndrome, but this has proven to be no obstacle for him on his journey to forge a career. Scanlon has always wanted to work in scaffolding, and after talking to a local company and showing his determination, Scanlon has not only become a permanent worker on their team but has been voted the UK’s best apprentice.

According to Scanlon’s boss, he is one of the most valued members of the team. He’s hard-working, enthusiastic, polite, and the customers love him. Taking Scanlon on as a member of the team wasn’t any cause for concern for Coles Scaffolding, and the apprentice has more than proven his skill and willingness to learn over and over again. What more could an employer ask for from his workforce?

“I think it’s mainly because it is thought people with a disability shouldn’t be in our industry,” Martyn Coles, Scanlon’s employer, said of the win. “He’s just shown that you can do it with the right guidance. He’s just a likeable guy.”

Improving the industry As we progress the new year we expect to see even further diversity. And this, says Tom Swinbourne, boss of Skip Hire Birmingham, is exactly what these industries need:

“For too many years the industry has suffered with a negative perception and reputation creating a stigma that has acted as a barrier to entry to a more diverse talent pool of workers. As innovation and technology play its part in modernising ways of working in the sector, together with schemes such as apprenticeships, we’re not only seeing a more diverse workplace, but a more talented, skilled, and varied workforce.”

Workforce Diversity Is Key

Some of the stories featured prove just how important diversity can be at work. Let’s see what 2020 and beyond holds for workplace diversity in the construction industry!