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Diverse award is industry first

25 August 2011

The construction division of Interserve has recently been officially recognised as ‘Investors in Diversity’. The first UK contractor to obtain this accreditation, Interserve has been recognised for its promotion of diversity across its construction division, which employs over 2700 staff in the UK.

Employees at the organisation have spent the last 12 months and invested considerable resources in working towards gaining the stage 2 Investors in Diversity accreditation - being officially assessed and awarded the accolade in July by the National Centre for Diversity.

Julie Bradley, Interserve Construction’s Head of Human Resources, said: “The construction industry is not known for its focus on diversity and this is why embracing the Investors in Diversity programme was so important for Interserve. We wanted to lead the change that the industry has to make over the coming years and show how embracing diversity can make a positive difference to the business as a whole. By promoting diversity and gaining a greater understanding of how an empowered workforce can benefit from the skills, culture and knowledge of fellow work colleagues, we are able to change and challenge the future shape of the business.”

The intensive six-month process began with an initial survey of staff about equality and diversity, and the evidence showed that most already felt they were working in a diverse environment with supportive management.

The results were compiled and a focus group of key people within the business was set up to establish a strategy to embed best practice in equality and diversity into Interserve’s business procedures.

Julie Bradley added: “Investing in Diversity is about treating people with dignity, respect and as individuals. Because of Interserve’s varied portfolio of clients across both public and private sectors, we are in a unique position to see the relevance and importance of being diverse. We can demonstrate to our customers our commitment to equality and diversity and highlight the benefits this can bring to partnership working.

“We want to ensure that our staff have a full understanding of what equality and diversity mean in all that they do. This doesn’t just relate to obvious areas such as gender, ethnicity and minority groups- but also the more subtle nuances like age, personality and culture.”

Julie added: “As an industry we have to wake up to the importance of diversity at a grass-roots level – more minority groups are coming into the industry and we have to recognise this as a step change - especially across the next generation of staff who will take our industry forward.”

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