Over the last 35 years or so, society has certainly changed, particularly over the last ten years. A survey by Sky News in 2019 revealed that in 1984, around 42 per cent of participants believed that men should be the “breadwinner” and women the “homemaker”. From then, this belief has changed considerably — only eight per cent of those surveyed agreed with this statement for men and women.
The issue around gender is only one in the whole discussion around diversity and equality. When it comes to “breadwinners”, the idea of equality and diversity supports a huge number of people. From age to disability, race to religion, these personal factors should not get in the way of pursuing a career. In terms of trade roles, we’re seeing a fantastic response from employers to ensure equality and diversity is honoured in the workplace. Let’s take a look at some of the best examples across a number of industries.
At the start of 2019, the BBC reported on the success of Emily Burridge. Burridge had entered into the world of construction via an apprenticeship scheme. But this isn’t just an example of a woman getting her foot in the door to a stereotypically male-orientated industry. Burridge hasn’t just gotten into the sector — she’s excelled, making her a brilliant example of why the industry must recognise the importance of equality and diversity.
At a young age of 22, Burridge is a technical production manager, having worked on 25 quarries. Not only is she representing the women in a male-dominated sector, she’s also championing the case for age equality and diversity too. Though she is only in her early twenties, Burridge replaced a man who was of retirement age. Even though her staff are mostly older men, Burridge has had no problem in integrating with and leading her staff.
The Best Apprentice
Towards the end of 2019, Todd Scanlon won the prestigious “UK’s Best Apprentice” award from On The Tools. Thirty-year-old Scanlon has Down’s Syndrome, but this has proven to be no obstacle for him on his journey to forge a career. Scanlon has always wanted to work in scaffolding, and after talking to a local company and showing his determination, Scanlon has not only become a permanent worker on their team but has been voted the UK’s best apprentice 2019.
Scanlon’s manager noted that he was an extremely valued member of the team — hard-working, enthusiastic, polite, and the customers love him. Taking Scanlon on as a member of the team wasn’t any cause for concern for Coles Scaffolding, and the apprentice has more than proven his skill and willingness to learn over and over again. What more could an employer ask for from his workforce?
“I think it’s mainly because it is thought people with a disability shouldn’t be in our industry,” Martyn Coles, Scanlon’s employer, said of the win. “He’s just shown that you can do it with the right guidance. He’s just a likeable guy.”
Entering 2020, we’re sure to see more and more examples of diversity within trade roles. And this, says Richard Walker from rubbish removal experts Skip Hire Liverpool, is exactly what these industries need:
“For too many years the industry has suffered with a negative perception and reputation creating a stigma that has acted as a barrier to entry to a more diverse talent pool of workers. As innovation and technology play its part in modernising ways of working in the sector, together with schemes such as apprenticeships, we’re not only seeing a more diverse workplace, but a more talented, skilled, and varied workforce.”
It’s certainly inspirational to hear about successful equality and diversity stories in trade roles, hopefully 2020 will have a lot more in store.