Building unity: Empowering diversity through networks in the construction industry
An African proverb says that ‘if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’ Several networks exist in the UK and further afield that support efforts to increase Black, Asian and ethnic minority representation in the construction industry.
BAME in Property
BAME in Property helps companies in the property industry to become more Equal, Diverse and Inclusive. Through networking events, consultancy and workshops, employers are shown how they can follow more ethnically diverse recruitment policies, reach candidates from underrepresented backgrounds and ethnicities, and direct potential employees to organisations committed to building inclusive cultures.
Working closely with leading organisations in property and planning, BAME in Property promotes the industry’s latest job vacancies and ensures they are seen by as diverse a range of applicants as possible. BAME in Property also produces resources that can help with its mission of improving ethnic diversity.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
BAME Planners Network
Founded in 2020, the BAME Planners Network is a professional network for people working in the planning sector in the UK and Ireland. It aims to support and raise the profile of planners from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, and to encourage people from those communities to enter the planning profession. The network holds regular events for its members, such as roundtable conferences, and mentoring sessions, conducts diversity and inclusion surveys, and works in partnership with public organisations to achieve its aims.
A friendly platform for engagement, support and capacity building for planning professionals, the BAME Planners Network is relatively new. But it has already achieved much in trying to make the sector more representative of wider society and bringing about change in pay gaps and attitudes to diversity within the profession.
Dedicated to improving diversity in the construction and built environment industry, the BPIC Network has an ethos of empowerment and education. It champions the importance of diversity and increasing the participation of Black, Asian and ethnic minority people in construction, and provides solutions to companies that are finding it challenging to create diverse working environments. Employers can benefit from the consultancy service offered by the BPIC Network, which encompasses equality impact assessments, reviews of existing process and procurement policies, mentoring and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion audits.
Every year the network hosts the BPIC Awards, celebrating the progress individuals and organisations are making towards ethnic diversity within the construction industry.
Paradigm is a diversity network that Go Construct has featured before – and it remains a very important source of professional support for Black and Asian architects and other construction professionals. Its mission is to encourage greater diversity in construction by changing the face of the industry – literally. Paradigm exists to support and help talented architects from Black and Asian backgrounds to progress in their careers, through a variety of means. By providing role models to young people considering architecture and construction as a career, and promoting the development of Black and Asian-led architectural practices, Paradigm wants to increase Black and Asian representation.
Its committee members include some of the brightest talents in architecture and the built environment in the UK today, including Tara Gboladé, who told Go Construct in 2020: “When you start your studies in architecture you don’t see very many people who look like you. Many Paradigm members highlight the challenges they face when they don’t have the support system within the profession – which is why having a network that champions BAME representation is incredibly powerful.”
The National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC) is a US trade association that represents the interests of construction workers in the US from minority backgrounds. It is estimated that around 25 million come from the Hispanic, Latino, African American and other minority communities in the States, and NAMC has given these employees a voice since the association was established in 1969. It is actively involved in the campaign to end racial and economic inequality in the US and works together through a network of local chapters to assist members with building capacity by providing access to opportunity, advocacy and contractor development training.
Another American network, the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) has a rich legacy of activism, fostering communications and fellowship among architects from minority communities in the United States. Its aims and objectives include giving professionals a support network, speaking with a common voice on public policy and inspiring young people from minority backgrounds in the US to make a career in architecture.
Discover more about how the construction industry is becoming more diverse
Find out more about what construction is doing to improve ethnic diversity in the industry, read about successful ethnically diverse women in construction, and how Black, Asian and ethnically diverse history, religion and lived experience make its presence felt in historic buildings.