Increasing Fairness, Inclusion and Respect (FIR) throughout the construction sector supply chain is one of the challenges facing Julie Timothy of Bouygues UK, as she has been appointed one of Wales’ first FIR ambassadors.
As part of the work of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, FIR Ambassadors have been trained and appointed in the construction sector to imbed principles of equality and diversity into their companies.
With that in mind, Julie Timothy, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Manager for Bouygues UK for South Wales and the West, has been appointed as a FIR Ambassador.
Speaking of her new role, Julie said: “Bouygues UK is already a forward-thinking and inclusive company, but with my FIR Ambassador role I can work to further imbed these practices into our supply chain, to ensure that all who work with Bouygues UK, whether a sub-contractor or employee, are treated with fairness and respect.
“Construction is seen as a bullish and macho industry, but in truth it is a professional and highly skilled sector which employs a diverse and varied workforce, which is why I feel it is even more important that FIR Ambassadors are in place to ensure these key behaviours are maintained.”
The Supply Chain School in Wales has been created to provide support to organisations by providing free resources enabling construction companies to understand what sustainability in construction means in Wales. It is funded by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).
The CITB predicts that Wales will lead growth in the UK’s construction sector until 2020, with an estimated 12,250 jobs created over the next five years. The industry also has to tackle the challenges of different regulations on building sites in Wales because of devolution.
FIR Ambassadors are important for the future of the construction sector; the skills shortage in the industry means that organisations need a wide talent pool so increasing diversity in this talent pool helps to address this – and a diverse workforce also ensures that companies are able to reflect the diverse needs of their clients.
Small to medium construction businesses are being encouraged to join the FIR Ambassadors scheme, to help encourage these good behaviours throughout the construction sector, support compliance within the sector and help create an open, positive and inclusive working environment. As the FIR Ambassador scheme is funded by the CITB, e-learning modules, workshops and training are all free to access.
The benefits to SME building businesses in embracing the FIR scheme include better productivity, improved staff engagement and innovation, a way to attract new talent to the business and an improved reputation.