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by Jeanette McLean

The construction ‘skills shortage’ has been at the forefront of our minds and plans for a number of years.  As an industry we face a huge challenge, but also a huge opportunity.

A recent Construction News survey highlighted that homophobia is still commonplace in the industry and that many still feel their mental well-being is strained by having to ‘self-regulate’ and hide elements of their selves, despite improvements in the last few years.  In addition, women make up only 14% of the construction workforce.  Black, Asian, and minority ethnic groups make up just 5.4%.  Gender and ethnicity pay gaps remain an issue across the UK, and in the news recently we have witnessed the shocking threats to civil rights across the world that still exist.

Whilst June is a time for celebrating our #pride, we must also acknowledge the sacrifices that have been made and the progress that still needs to happen in our industry and beyond.  If the construction industry is to tackle the skills shortage, it needs to show young people from all backgrounds that a career in construction and the built environment is right for them and welcomes them with open arms.

The Pride flag has been a symbol for decades of hope for the future and in finding beauty and light after the storm.  However, we must remember that among the first to take a stand in the Stonewall riots of 1969 were lesbian and trans women of colour; Stormé DeLarverie, Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson.  To celebrate Pride this year without acknowledging the suffering of the Black community across the globe would be a disservice to both movements.

FACT will be donating a proportion of our net profits from every course booked and paid for in June 2020 to Stonewall, a charity that works to empower individuals in the LGBT+ community and help institutions create inclusive and accepting cultures.

To find out more about the wonderful work that Stonewall does, visit

Whatever the size of your business, there are a number of ways you can support underrepresented groups into careers in the industry.  Whether it’s engaging with local schools or volunteering with organisations such as Construction Youth Trust, your words and experiences could inspire the next generation into careers full of potential and growth.

Now more than ever, it is essential that we stand together and support each other to make the future a brighter place.

To find out how you can support LGBT+ and Black communities right now, please take the time to read about and/or donate to the following charities and organisations:

Stonewall Information Service

Galop, LGBT+ anti-violence charity

MIND resources for young black men

American Civil Liberties Union

LGBT Switchboard helpline

Minnesota Freedom Fund

Show Racism the Red Card