CIBSE creates diversity panel to reflect varied workforce

Diversity in the workplace

Efforts to encourage a more inclusive culture within the built environment appear to have moved up a gear. RIBA President Angela Brady has voiced concerns on the “gender inequality that continues to pervade the profession,” and now the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineering (CIBSE) has launched a Diversity Panel. Formed to encourage diversity in all its forms, whether race, gender, age, sexual orientation or disability, it is made up of CIBSE members who are keen to increase the routes to the profession through educational paths and by promoting a diverse workplace. Commented CIBSE: “The employment and retention of a varied workforce is integral to meet the building services engineering skills gap and to therefore improve building performance.”

The panel was formally launched last Friday at The Building Centre, London by CIBSE Past President, Andy Ford and President Elect, George Adams who welcomed representations from the Cherie Blair Foundation, the Institution of Engineering and Technology and speakers including Chi Onwurah, Shadow Cabinet Office Minister and Labour MP for Newcastle Upon Tyne.

The launch night celebrated the view that diverse workplaces can often deliver more considered approaches to problem solving and therefore business decisions. Diversity not only applies to ethnicity or gender; people can feel held back in their careers because of disability, socio-economic background, age, religion/culture and sexual orientation.

Loraine Martins MBE, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Network Rail, Former Head of Equality, Inclusion, Employment and Skills at the Olympic Development Authority, addressed the audience: “At the London 2012 Olympics our challenge was to change the approach to diversity from a ‘nice to have’ to ‘business as usual’.”

CIBSE has reiterated it is passionate about improving building performance and sharing knowledge. Through encouraging diversity, the Institute says its members can help change behaviour of the industry and work towards a more diverse work place in the future.

By Sara Bean