HS2 Ltd have released their annual Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion report, highlighting their successes within the rail sector as they have beaten industry averages for the number of female and BAME employees working on the project.
The HS2 project now has all three phases of the scheme live, seeing the infrastructure project’s expansion throughout the UK affording for a plethora of opportunities within underrepresented communities. With 2,500 UK-based businesses engaged in its supply chain, HS2 has seen its female workforce reach 37% [40%], whilst the number of BAME employees peaked at 22% [23%].
Natalie Penrose, Head of Legacy at HS2 said:
“HS2’s construction is gathering pace by the day, and we now have a 25,000-strong workforce spread across more than 350 sites. HS2’s scale brings the reality of our challenge to life, given the white male dominance that has gripped the rail and civil engineering sectors for many years.
“But every challenge brings opportunity, and I’m proud of the huge waves we are making to address national skills shortages, the threat of an ageing workforce in engineering and in attracting more women and BAME candidates into employment on the project.”
As HS2 champion change and social diversity within their plans, staff within their eight bespoke networking groups are empowered to share their experiences and expertise on a range of topics from the likes of gender balance, the inclusion of ethnic minority staff to promoting disability awareness. The engagement of employees within the strategy and policy planning for diversity decision making has driven positive change and created a welcoming environment across their individual projects.
In December of 2021, HS2 launched their accessibility policy and digital accessibility hub, in accordance with International Disabled People’s Day. This hub operates with the ambition to address the changing needs of disabled employees in the workplace and enable staff to understand the effect their actions can have in regard to the support of their colleagues and wider workforce.
HS2 have been working closely with a strong network of partnerships with the likes of schools, specialist employment support services and charitable groups, as they attempt to achieve best practices within their work environments. A key example of this can be seen via their work with SEND and specialist schools for the deaf, which help the understanding of design changes that create accessible stations that diversify the rail sector to match the needs of the diverse communities across the UK.
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