Giving people the best reasons to choose construction

As the market starts to grow again construction begins to look for people once more.

During the recession we have just come through, little was done to ensure a steady stream of new talent was nurtured and those who have failed to see pay rises and promotions since 2007 are now looking to capitalise on the financial benefits of jumping ship.

This is a situation that is only likely to worsen and before long money will not be enough; employees will be attracted to, and more likely to stay, in those businesses who gain a reputation for treating their staff well.

Employers need to start now to put procedures and practices in place that will see them as an ‘employer of choice’, because ours is an amazingly close industry especially considering we employ just under 3 million people, and those people talk. If you want to know who to work for, you ask those that work for them.

The most cost effective way to do this is the CITB Be Fair framework, which is proven to increase staff engagement and satisfaction. Get in touch to find out how we can help you become and stay an ‘employer of choice’.

Thank you for a great 2014 - see you in 2015!

To gain one hour of CPD credits and the chance to win £20 of John Lewis vouchers, just answer 5 questions based on the information contained within this newsletter by entering the Diversity Equals Quiz.

Last month's winner was: Kharima Dada

Twitterer of the month: WISE Campaign

Tweeting as @thewisecampaign

WISE Campaign who tweet about promoting women in science, technology and engineering.

MORE NEWS - Skills Shortage Continues To Bite

*Skills Shortage Continues To Bite

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With the market showing signs of picking up, more companies are being affected by difficulties finding skilled workers. While bringing more new talent into the industry is definitely a start, companies are increasingly looking to not only appeal to the usual demographics when recruiting, but also to retain the workers that they have.

This is where areas like Fairness, Inclusion and Respect are becoming more important. With skilled employees being in demand, issues such as workplace culture and respect are high on the agenda for businesses wishing to be 'employers of choice'.

One method that companies are exploiting to help make the workplace a more appealing environment is to provide expert training to their staff on topics such as professionalism, language at work, and supporting each other.

A cost effective way to roll this type of training out is to take advantage of modern educational techniques and computer technology to provide eLearning across the business. This will help embed positive cultures across a company and it demonstrates commitment to these issues to clients when tendering for work.

If you would like to find out more about our eLearning courses then please visit the pages on our website.

*Freeing the Construction Industry of Modern Slavery

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According to the latest figures from The Salvation Army, the number of modern slavery victims they help in the UK has risen by 62 per cent. Shockingly, there are more people in slavery today than at any other time in history.

Modern slavery can affect businesses across the UK, whether large or small. Traffickers, slave masters and illegal gangmasters target a range of industries, including construction. The construction sector contributes £83 billion to the UK economy and employs 2.15 million people.

We know that 53 potential victims were referred to UK authorities from the construction sector in 2013. This number might seem small, but these are only the victims who have been referred. Slavery’s hidden nature means the actual figures are likely to be much higher.

It is the responsibility of businesses to undertake due diligence and work closely with suppliers to check supply chains are slavery-free. The Modern Slavery Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, will include a measure which will require big businesses to publicly state each year what action they have taken to protect against slavery.

We all have a responsibility to stamp out this evil trade and together we can work to free the construction industry of modern slavery.

Article by Karen Bradley (minister for modern slavery and organised crime). First published by Construction News

*We’re on the road to…everywhere apparently!

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The last month has seen Chrissi and Caroline travelling the country to speak to different groups on a range of subjects.

At the beginning of November Chrissi spoke to the UKCG Diversity Group about the CITB Be Fair Framework and how we assess companies undertaking it. Then she went to visit CECA for the launch of 'The Infrastructure Decade', stopping off on the way home for Seddon’s Building Skills awards event.

Whereas the early part of November saw Caroline meeting with FMB in Leeds to talk about how we can best help them support their members  through Be Fair Framework assessment and with our eLearning and face to face workshops for fairness, inclusion and respect.

The middle of the month saw Chrissi heading over to Lincoln to talk to a number of councils about corporate social responsibility, the Social Value Act, and how our Social Return On Investment tools can help clients and companies demonstrate the real benefits of their initiatives to local communities.

On the 19th November Chrissi was invited to talk to Meg Munn MP (Vice-Chair of the Engineering and Information Technology All Party Parliamentary Group) about the CITB Be Fair Framework and its place in the future of the construction industry.

On the same day Caroline visited NERTG (North East Roof Training Group) in Chester-Le-Street to give a presentation on how we assess the Be Fair Framework, and give details of our construction specific online learning courses.

We are increasingly being booked to speak to a variety of groups on our areas of expertise. If you are part of an organisation that you think would benefit from hearing us speak at an event then please contact us by either emailing Patrick, calling on (0151) 706 8132 or visiting our website

*Human Rights Committee report on Modern Slavery Bill

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On 13 November 2014, the Joint Committee on Human Rights published its Third Report of the 2014–15 Session, Legislative Scrutiny: (1) Modern Slavery Bill and (2) Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill as House of Lords Paper 62 and House of Commons Paper 779.

The report welcomes the Modern Slavery Bill as an ‘important human rights enhancing measure’.

Of particular relevance to the construction industry is the following statement:

We support the case for extending the remit of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority to cover other areas of work where evidence suggests that abuse and exploitation of workers is taking place, and we recommend that the Government keeps Parliament closely informed about the progress of this review. We encourage the Government to show greater urgency about the review than it has to date and recommend that it reports on the outcome of the review before consideration of the Bill is concluded, so that the potential future contribution of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority can be properly considered by Parliament alongside the Modern Slavery Bill.

The full report can be read on the Parliament website

*Government joins forces with industry to develop engineers

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Vince Cable marked the start of the second 'Tomorrow’s Engineers Week' by confirming the government’s commitment to invest in training the engineers of the future.

The Business Secretary announced that government and employers are working together to develop the engineering workforce Britain needs to compete on the world stage.

Acting on the recommendations of ‘Perkins Review of Engineering Skills’ published in November 2013, the government has established partnerships with employers from across industry with multi-million pound collaborative investments in initiatives such as national colleges for manufacturing, energy and high-speed rail and £30 million of match funding for businesses to design and deliver innovative skills training.

The first £20 million of the fund is currently open for employers looking to develop projects aimed at improving engineering careers and increasing the number of women in the sector. The final £10 million will soon be made available to develop engineering skills in smaller companies.

First published on

*Why those Malmaison hotel images were anything but ‘a bit of fun’

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It’s been really interesting to see the reactions to the images on the boarding of Manchester’s Malmaison hotel.

Some commentators empathised with the seemingly light-hearted attitude of the hotel as reflected in their response that the images were ‘a bit of fun’.

With images such as this being plastered about it’s not surprising that of the 12 per cent of women that work in construction, less than 1 per cent of those work in manual trades.

One of CITB’s most recent campaigns, Be Fair aims to encourage construction employers to create more inclusive working environments and send a message that construction is open to anyone.

The Be Fair framework is an industry-wide initiative that will see all sectors of the industry working together to promote fair, inclusive and respectful work practices.

The framework is currently available for contractors and since the launch in June this year, an additional 25 companies have registered for accreditation to the framework. 

Campaigns such as the one used at the Manchester Malmaison hotel are not only demeaning to women, but to the whole industry and its workforce.

Challenging stereotypes and changing behaviours and attitudes is no mean feat. Progress is being made and things are slowly getting better but images such as the one on the billboard only serve to set us back.

The construction industry is changing, so we appeal to those who continuously use the old stereotypes to please listen and stop stereotyping us as sexist.

Article by Kate Lloyd, from the CITB website

*GRAHAM see 'measurable change' in business performance after undertaking the Be Fair Framework

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Benchmarking performance against national standards has given GRAHAM an opportunity to be recognised for excellence in delivery of this framework. It has also put equality and diversity at the forefront of the business, with high return on investment results.

Measured through direct feedback from staff surveys GRAHAM have noted precise improvements in employee engagement, rising by 5% for feedback specific to the diversity measures that they have implemented.

Over the two-year period since starting the Be Fair framework, they have also recorded an improvement in people management skills, with a 10% positive increase in employees’ perception of manager effectiveness.

Overall engagement scores continue to rise with absence rates, a good measure of engagement, standing at 1% against a national average of 7%.

Taken from a case study by Michael Smyth (Head of Human Resources at GRAHAM)

*The Social Value Act – how companies and clients can benefit

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The Social Value Act has been in place for nearly two years now, and more clients are beginning to integrate it into their procurement rules.

The Act, for the first time, places a duty on public bodies to consider social value ahead of procurement.

The wording of the Act states that:

The authority must consider —

  • How what is proposed to be procured might improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the relevant area, and;
  • How, in conducting the process of procurement, it might act with a view to securing that improvement.

Although many companies have systems in place to demonstrate Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), trying to tie these objectives into client requirements are not as simple as could be believed. Also, clients can sometimes set actions for social value that can be detrimental to their goals.

Constructing Equality Ltd. have teamed up with academics to design a set of tools for companies and clients to measure the Social Return On Investment of initiatives designed to demonstrate CSR and Social Value. At the moment these tools are still under development, but watch this space for further details in future.

*Equal Pay Day: women 'work for free' from 4th November

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A rise in the gender pay gap means that women will effectively 'work for free' from today until the New Year - 57 days in total and three days longer than in 2013

The difference between male and female salaries means that from 4th November - known as Equal Pay Day - only men will be paid for their work until the New Year.

It means that this year’s Equal Pay Day has come three days earlier than in 2013, when it fell on November 7.

Women currently earn, on average, £2.53 less per hour than men do. That equates to 80 pence for every pound a man is paid.

The difference based on median hourly earnings for full-time workers increased from 9.5 per cent last year to 10 per cent. For all employees, including part-timers, it rose from 19.6 per cent to 19.7 per cent, according to the Office of National Statistics.

The news comes as it was revealed, last week, that the UK has fallen out of the top 20 countries globally for gender equality.

It dropped from 18th to 26th, mainly due to female earnings and a rise in the gender pay gap, according to the World Economic Forum ‘Global Gender Gap Report 2014’.

First published in The Telegraph

*Launch of LGBT Manifesto

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Launched in September 2014, the LGBT Manifesto calls upon all UK political parties to embrace key community messages and sign up to two key community asks:

  • To ensure all children and young people leave school with a thorough understanding of gender & sexual diversity;
  • And to improve the mental health of LGBT people through greater awareness raising of the issues faced, with better access to public services.

From Equality and Diversity Forum

GOOD PRACTICE - Carillion focus on 14-16s in Your Life Campaign

Carillion focus on 14-16s in Your Life Campaign

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Carillion is one of eight major employers backing the Your Life campaign, which aims to increase the number of young people, particularly girls, studying science, physics and maths at A-level.

Currently, just 8% of girls take A-level maths and 2% opt for A-level physics, but studies show that pupils who study maths to A-level will earn 10% more over their lifetime.

Carillion is the lead corporate partner for construction and the built environment, and has committed to developing a tailor-made “introduction to engineering and technology for girls” module for local schools in the West Midlands, increasing its reach year on year over a five-year period.

The campaign has also received the backing of more than 200 business organisations, including Arup and Laing O’Rourke, which have pledged to offer their support to young people interested in pursuing a career in STEM.

Speaking at the launch event, chief executive Richard Howson said: “We welcome this campaign as part of a drive to ensure that young people are equipped with the science and maths skills the country requires to maintain its competitive edge on a global level. We also see this as an important part of our long-term strategy to help develop the skills that will enable our business to success in 10 years’ time”.

In separate commitments, it has undertaken to improve the retention of women engineers, by setting up a network of support for women in operational roles. This will be called Project SNOWE, or the Support Network for Operational Women Engineers.

It will also commit to increasing the number of women in apprenticeships to 5% over the next five years.

First published in Construction Manager


*Macform Ltd. - A happy workforce is a productive workforce

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Making the leap from considering themselves a “fair and decent employer” to formally evidencing that commitment was one of the main motivators behind Macform’s involvement in the Be Fair accreditation.

“On paper, we probably knew very little [about Fairness, Inclusion and Respect] although in practice we would have always considered ourselves a fair, decent and approachable employer,” said MacForm’s Health & Safety Advisor, Lynsey Downie.

“I believe that this proves to current employees and prospective future employees that we are an organisation which genuinely cares about and takes an interest in the wellbeing of our staff, above and beyond any statutory limits,” Lynsey said.

Already, Lynsey felt that going through the accreditation – which is flexible to suit all sizes of companies – has boosted morale within the team and given staff “a voice”.

“They are now aware that they are an integral part of the business and their views and opinions really do matter. A happy workforce is a productive workforce!” she said.

From the CITB Website

*Religious celebration - Diwali festival

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An inclusive and diverse workplace culture is viewed by ISG as key to fostering innovation, staff cohesion and retention, and as a differentiator that adds real benefit and value to the business.

Our activities in this area are integrated into our day to day business and reflect the principles of fairness, inclusion and respect, whilst aiming to mitigate unconscious bias. One example of how we attempt to embrace diverse cultures in the Company is through the recent celebration of the Diwali festival in one of our local offices.

Diwali Festival

Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, celebrates new beginnings, the emergence of light from darkness and the triumph of good over evil. It is also observed by Sikhs and Jains, and in many British cities has evolved into a celebration that welcomes all cultures.

How people celebrate Diwali

The festival is celebrated over 10 days with the peak of the festival being the 23 October this year. Modern celebrations incorporate bright electric lights and fireworks and lots of them – India's Diwali illuminations can be seen from space. Sharing and exchanging gifts is also a major event during these times and it includes, sweets, dry fruits, fruits, gifts etc. People tend to forget all types of grudges and difference between each other and come forward to celebrate it. In terms of traditional clothes during the festival, females usually wear sarees and males wear Kurta Pujama or Shervani.

We celebrated the festival in the Bradford office on the 23 October 2014 by a number of staff volunteering to cook a traditional meal for their colleagues which included curry, rice, chapattis, somosas and pakoras. The event proved to be a success with colleagues enjoying the meal together in the office kitchen and we are encouraging others from across the business to suggest other ways we can embrace the diverse cultures.

EVENTS - InterEngineering: Starting Out

*InterEngineering: Starting Out

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InterEngineering: Starting Out
An LGBT Forum for Engineers, by Engineers

18:30 - 20:15 Monday 8th of December 2014
WSP House, 70 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1AF

A free introduction to InterEngineering - a chance for us to share who we are, and what we're trying to achieve; and a chance for you all to get involved and tell us what you want from your InterEngineering group.

18:30 - Welcome Drinks
19:00 - Introduction to InterEngineering
19:30 - Networking and Feedback

InterEngineering is a volunteer led grassroots initiative, founded from the Data Driven Diversity (the facts about being LGBT in the Engineering Profession) event. With support from the Royal Academy of Engineering and Stonewall, we want to help connect, inform and empower LGBT Engineers.

Over the next year we are planning events to discuss how SMEs can better support their LGBT engineers, help engineers in large companies create employee groups and work to improve the image of the profession.

Our main purpose, however, is to connect people and provide the information resources, run the events, and support the schemes that are most important to LGBT Engineers; and finding out what those are is our aim during this Starting Out event.

Find out more about InterEngineering at

RESEARCH - Hate crimes, England and Wales increase from 2013 to 2014

*Hate crimes, England and Wales increase from 2013 to 2014

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In October 2014, the Government published statistics on hate crimes and racist incidents in England and Wales recorded by the police in 2013 to 2014.

Hate crimes, England and Wales, 2013 to 2014 shows that there were increases in all five of the monitored hate crime strands (race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and transgender identity) between 2012/13 and 2013/14.

Read the report here

From Equality and Diversity Forum

*CASE and ISER report: ‘Were we really all in it together?

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Were we really all in it together? The distributional effects of the UK Coalition government’s tax-benefit policy changes by Paola De Agostini, John Hills and Holly Sutherland was published in November 2014

The research by the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE and the Institute for Social and Economic Research found that:

The poorest income groups lost the biggest share of their incomes on average (and those in the bottom half of incomes lost overall).
In contrast, those in the top half of incomes gained from direct tax cuts, with the exception of most of the top 5 per cent – although within this 5 percent group those at the very top gained, because of the cut in the top rate of income tax.

In total the changes have not contributed to cutting the deficit. Rather, the savings from reducing benefits and tax credits have been spent on raising the tax-free income tax allowance.

The analysis challenges the idea that those with incomes in the top tenth have lost as great a share of their incomes as those with the lowest incomes.

From Equality and Diversity Forum

*Resolution Foundation report: ‘Low Pay Britain 2014′

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Low Pay Britain 2014 was published by the Resolution Foundation in October 2014.

This report is the Resolution Foundation’s fourth annual audit of low pay in Britain. It describes in detail the scale of the problem in the latest year for which data is available (2013) and the people it affects.

As with many advanced economies, the British labour market has been characterised in recent decades by a growing polarisation. Employment growth has been strongest at the top (high-skill, high-paying jobs) and the bottom (lower-skill, lower-paying jobs) with a decline in employment rates in the middle. It has therefore become consistent for economies to develop high-skill sectors and achieve strong economic growth, while at the same time maintaining sizeable lumps of low paid work.

From Equality and Diversity Forum

*Global Gender Gap Report 2014

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The Global Gender Gap Report 2014 emphasises persisting gender gap divides across and within regions. Based on the nine years of data available for the 111 countries that have been part of the report since its inception, the world has seen only a small improvement in equality for women in the workplace. According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2014,.

Published in October 2014, the gender gap for economic participation and opportunity now stands at 60% worldwide, having closed by 4% from 56% in 2006.

From Equality and Diversity Forum

*Special Rapporteur’s report: Elimination of all forms of religious intolerance

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The interim report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief was published in October 2014.

United Nations human rights expert Heiner Bielefeldt told the UN General Assembly that freedom to manifest one’s religion or belief without discrimination should also be protected in the area of employment. He urged all Governments to take every appropriate measure to prevent and eliminate all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief.

Mr. Bielefeldt’s report offers a number of practical recommendations, and puts forward the concept of ‘reasonable accommodation’ as a tool to put into context the principle of non-discrimination in such a way that appropriate individual solutions for religious minorities can be found at the workplace.

From Equality and Diversity Forum

*IPPR report and graphic novel on ‘living well together’

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In October 2014, IPPR published Shared ground: Strategies for living well together in an era of high immigration and a short graphic novel, Be here now, which tells six stories about what it means to feel more or less settled in your community.

From Equality and Diversity Forum

RESOURCES - Equality Human Rights Commission – Religion and Belief

*Equality Human Rights Commission – Religion and Belief

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This page has a number of useful downloads concerning Religion and Belief in the workplace. One that contains useful examples is this guide by ACAS, which also features an appendix listing the most important festivals and holy days of the major faiths.

*Briefing: ‘Practical implications of immigration checks on new lettings’

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In November 2014, the Chartered Institute of Housing published Practical implications of immigration checks on new lettings.

These checks are required by the Immigration Act 2014, initially in parts of the West Midlands from 1 December 2014, but later to be rolled out nationally.

From Equality and Diversity Forum

FUNDING AVAILABLE - Government Announces £23m for Neighbourhood Plans in England

*Government announces £23m for Neighbourhood Plans in England

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The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has announced that it is providing new funding to encourage more communities in England to get involved in neighbourhood planning.

Neighbourhood planning enables local communities to determine what types of developments they want in their area and where they should go. So far, some 1,200 communities have begun the process.

AWARDS - Women in science and engineering celebrated at 2014 WISE Awards

*Women in science and engineering celebrated at 2014 WISE Awards

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Nine role models championing the cause of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics were presented with a national award by HRH The Princess Royal in a glittering ceremony to mark the 30th anniversary of the WISE Campaign.

In a week where Secretary of State Nicky Morgan launched a campaign to get more young people to study maths and physics, Charlotte Kerr, the only girl in her physics class in the Highlands of Scotland, won the WISE Girl Award, sponsored by Intel.  Her ‘spaghetti and marshmallow workshops’ inspire other students with the wonders of engineering.  “You do not have to be a rocket scientist to succeed in science” says Charlotte, who is determined to make science accessible to all.

Trudy Norris-Grey, Chair of the WISE Campaign, said: “Most girls never think about being an engineer or a computer scientist because they have never met a woman who is one. The WISE Awards change how people think about science and engineering - by showcasing examples of girls and women who love what they do to inspire the next generation to follow in their footsteps.”

Sue Cooper won the WISE Champion Award, sponsored by Research Councils UK, for leading policies and practices which have supported the recruitment and retention of female engineers in Atkins, where she was HR Director for UK and Europe.

Tony Thompson, Construction Skills Manager for the Incommunities Group, won the WISE Advisor Award, sponsored by the Royal Academy of Engineering, for his support to female apprentices in construction.

From the WISE website

*Record response for 'Idiots on Ladders' contest

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Photographs have been flooding in of unsafe practices in this year’s 'Idiots on Ladders' contest.

Organisers the Ladder Association have seen a record response with more than 50 pictures already received of ladder misuse.

The winning entry, with the most comments and likes on Facebook, will be announced in January following a public vote.

Ladder Association Communications and Social Media Officer, Michael Fern, said: “Thousands of people look at these horrifying images each year, and judging by the number of entries received so far, 2014 promises to bring the problem of ladder misuse into even sharper focus.

“The huge response this year shows that people know how ridiculous misusing ladders can be, but it also shows the scale of the problem, with people finding unbelievable pictures all around the UK and beyond.

“Being safe on a ladder can be as simple as taking a one-day or less training course, but many are choosing to take their lives in their hands instead.”

'Idiots on Ladders' is run as part of the Ladder Exchange, a campaign first launched by the Health and Safety Executive and taken over by the Ladder Association in 2012.

It lets people trade in their old, ‘dodgy’ ladders for new ones at a discount, and over the years has been responsible for taking thousands of potentially dangerous ladders out of circulation.

From Construction Enquirer


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Every week we blog on a subject that is of interest to our readers. We will soon be producing a ‘vlog’ (Video Blog) each month based on our most-read topic.

November’s blogs covered a range of topics and can be found by following these links: -

Re-thinking online equality training – 5 reasons why it could be for you and your company

Why modern slavery is a threat to your construction business, and how you can stamp it out 

Constructing Equality Ltd as your CITB licensed Be Fair assessment provider


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Welcome to our popular Diversity Equals monthly quiz. To enter the quiz visit our website for the chance of winning our monthly prize of £20 in John Lewis vouchers. Remember the quiz is now worth 1 hour of CPD.

As always, all of the answers can be found in this newsletter.

This month’s winner of our prize of £20 in vouchers was Kharima Dada.

Question 1
Which of the following is not tracked as a Hate Crime ‘strand’ in the UK?

  1. Race
  2. Religion
  3. Age
  4. Sexual orientation
  5. Disability

Question 2
Carillion are focusing on 14-16 year old school leavers as part of which initiative?

  1. Born To Build
  2. WISE
  3. InterEngineering
  4. Your Life
  5. The Social Value Act

Question 3
According to the latest figures from The Salvation Army, the number of modern slavery victims they help in the UK has risen by what per cent?

  1. 46%
  2. 64%
  3. 12%
  4. 21%
  5. 6%

Question 4
Who caused controversy this month with the hoardings around the site of work being carried out?

  1. Raffles Hotel, Singapore
  2. Malmaision, Manchester
  3. The Ritz, London
  4. The Hilton, Paris
  5. The Adelphi, Liverpool

Question 5
On average, how much less are women paid per hour than their male counterparts in the UK?

  1. £1.02
  2. £8.57
  3. £0.46
  4. £2.53
  5. £6.48