On 4 October, network leaders, engineers, HR and safety professionals from across the engineering and technology sectors will come together to discuss making the sectors more inclusive for all people.
The one-day conference in London builds on the success of the 2018 conference bringing industry leaders together to equip, inform and inspire towards greater diversity and increased inclusivity in the traditionally white male industries of technology and engineering. Themes will include inclusive design.
The conference is the creation of Dr Mark McBride-Wright, who founded EqualEngineers, after years of working in the sector and seeing not only the challenges that the lack of diversity can bring, but also the risks posed to health, safety and wellbeing.
Being a gay safety engineer himself, and setting up networking group InterEngineering for LGBT+ engineers gave him the drive to set up an organisation covering all aspects of diversity.
He said: “For me, inclusivity in the workplace is a health and safety issue. Not being able to be open about who you are, because of attitudes and lack of diversity around you can lead to mental health issues and decreased wellbeing.
“In construction, for example, an industry where suicide rates among men are more than three times the national average, more needs to be done to ensure that commitment to these issues goes much further than token inclusion policies.
“My hope for this conference is to hone in and focus on ways to engage the male-majority of the engineering profession on efforts around diversity and inclusion, centred around wellbeing. We want to get people to think about their own differences and consider how they can support others.
“We need to challenge the perceptions of who engineers and technologists are, and rapidly overhaul the way in which we approach culture change programmes within our industry.”
The conference, organised by EqualEngineers in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Engineering & Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB), features various workshops and panel discussions.