The 2021 Inspire Awards returned last night to celebrate those within UK construction who have made it their mission to change the industry for the better.
Hosted by TV presenter Owain Wyn Evans, this year marked the first time the Awards had been held in a remote capacity, with people from all over the country tuning in to recognise the achievements the industry has made during the past year to improve workplace inclusion, champion diversity, and promote UK construction as a bastion of tolerance.
After a year out due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Awards, sponsored by Eurovia UK, had much to celebrate.
Keynote: Caroline Gumble
Caroline Gumble, CEO of Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), kicked off the winners’ reveal with a reminder of how important it is to recognise those actively trying to make UK construction a more diverse and inclusive industry.
“These are important awards, addressing one of the most pressing issues in construction in the most positive of ways,” Gumble said.
“It’s wonderful to be able to recognise the people and companies working to inspire greater diversity and inclusion.”
Gumble also sought to highlight the need to attract more people from a wider array of backgrounds into the industry.
“I’ve spoken previously about the arguments for and benefits of increasing diversity in the workforce,” she said, “and the motivation of doing so in an industry in need of new recruits is even more pressing.
“It is essential that including diversity and inclusion is tackled and that initiatives around this are supported by leaders across the industry.”
She added: “An aspect of diversity often overlooked is roots to a professional role for people from a deprived area or disadvantaged background.
“We must provide better access to the opportunities in construction and support to allow people from all backgrounds to make a success of those opportunities.”
Gumble concluded with a call to action for the industry to “build back better”.
She said: “I want us as a sector to maximise these opportunities.
“With more diversity and inclusion, with a richer talent pool, with real leadership, we can build back better and reap the benefits for us all across our industry and in society.”
- Most Inspiring Awareness Campaign – Invisible Disabilities Blue Heart Campaign, N&C Phlexicare
- Most Inspiring Employment Initiative – Go Beyond the Gates, VGC Group
- Most Inspiring Apprenticeship Programme – ENGIE (Highly Commended: VolkerFitzpatrick)
- Most Inspiring Training Programme – Building Futures Programme, SPV Road Carpet
- Most Inspiring Building Project – Old Mill Court, Rural Housing Association
- Most Inspiring Community Project – Luton DART, VolkerFitzpatrick-Kier
- Most Inspiring Mental Wellbeing Initiative – Story Contracting (Highly Commended: Healthy You, Aggregate Industries UK)
- Most Inspiring Supplier – Fortel
- Most Inspiring Consultancy – Curtins
- Most Inspiring Contractor – Higgins Partnerships
- Most Inspiring Housing Provider – Blackpool Coastal Housing
- Most Inspiring Employer – VGC Group (Highly Commended: Cundall)
- Most Inspiring Rising Star – Georgia-Rose Noden, VolkerFitzpatrick
- Most Inspiring Role Model – Emma Nicholson, SLC Rail (Highly Commended: Siu Min Li, Multiplex)
- Most Inspiring Mentor – Emma Porter, Story Contracting (Highly Commended: Rozalind Richardson, Proteus Waterproofing)
- Most Inspiring Diversity Champion – Emma Porter, Story Contracting
- Barry Cullen, Diversity and Inclusion director, RICS
- Julie Musesoglu, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Homes England
- Belinda Blake, EDI manager, Highways England
- Mushtaq Khan, chief executive, Housing Diversity Network
- Vanessa Howell, head of Professional Standards, Chartered Institute of Housing
- Christina Riley, managing director, LGBT Construct Limited & EDI Construct Ltd
- Aaron Reid, sustainable procurement and diversity and inclusion specialist
- Asif Sadiq, senior vice-president for Equity and Inclusion, Warner Media
- Carys Rowlands, head of Professional Standards, RIBA
- Chris Keast, chartered building engineer, fellow of the Chartered Association of Building Engineers, fellow of the Chartered Association of Building, and fellow of the Higher Education Academy
- Harish Bhayani, senior partner, PRM Diversity Consultants
- Mara Makoni, External Relations lead, AFBE (UK)
- Sharon Slinger, director, Constructing Rainbows
- Livia Williams, industry director for Construction, YouthBuild Ventures UK
- Theresa Mohammed, partner at Trowers & Hamlins LLP
- Maria Coulter, managing director, Construction Coach
- Sam Stacey, challenge director (Transforming Construction), UKRI
- Caroline Key, project manager, ERYC; director, Starspan Ltd; co-chair, G4C National
- Rebecca De Cicco, principal (Digital Operations), Aurecon; global chair, Women in BIM
YouthBuild Ventures UK was this year’s chosen charity partner.