The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has called for a redoubling of efforts to improve the diversity in engineering workforces to aid the UK’s economic recovery.
Only 5 per cent of workers in construction-related fields are registered disabled and the BAME population accounts for fewer than 10 per cent of workers across the built environment sector, according to BESA.
Engineering employers were reporting a serious shortage of recruits before the Covid-19 crisis, and it says the sector must now urgently broaden its appeal. It believes that failure to recruit enough people from different age groups, genders, racial backgrounds and religions as well as those with different disabilities could undermine the sector’s efforts to rebuild and recover.
To this end, the body is launching the BESA Academy this month, to champion diversity and make training materials more easily available to a broader range of potential engineering and building services recruits.
The academy will provide a wide range of targeted online courses to help to widen the range of skills available to employers in the building engineering sector. This, BESA says, is designed to make training materials more easily accessible and, therefore, more appealing to people from all backgrounds.
BESA’s director of training and skills Helen Yeulet explained: “Out of every 100 people on construction sites, just one is female. In addition, just 12 per cent of British engineers are women compared to 18 per cent in Spain, 20 per cent in Italy and 26 per cent in Sweden,” she said. “And yet 65 per cent of engineering employers say a shortage of female engineers is a threat to their business and companies are 15 per cent more likely to perform better if they are gender diverse.”
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