Key membership bodies in the built environment sector signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to drive forward the creation of a more diverse, equitable and inclusive sector in the Spring of 2022.  

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This collective, which will now be referred to as B.E.Inclusive, updated CEOs of the respective institutions on progress made against their agreed action plan, May 8.  

B.E.Inclusive brings together six organisations from across the sector: the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Landscape Institute (LI), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) – collectively  representing around 350,000 members.  

The agreement focuses on: 

  • Data collection – To create a consistent approach and standard model that will allow meaningful comparison between and across respective memberships and help to formulate a clear picture of the built environment sector more widely. 
  • Improve understanding of transition from education into employment - To develop a robust, evidence-based understanding of the disparity between the diversity of students that start on institute accredited courses and the talent that makes it into the workforce. To build on existing good practice from individual institutes to improve our collective understanding of retention rates and awarding gaps on accredited courses. 
  • EDI competencies – To develop understanding and guidance for the sector, supporting organisations, individuals and institutes to improve and maintain professional standards.       

Over the last year the collective organisations have kept on track with the agreed action plan, delivering against all three pillars.  

  • Data collection – An agreed demographic data collection questionnaire was developed and shared with industry stakeholders for wider alignment. This questionnaire includes guidance and frequently asked questions to support organisations in understanding and implementing the questionnaire in their own organisations. Additionally, a paper discussing the challenges and providing guidance for global data demographic data collection was also produced and will be shared with industry.  
  • Improve understanding of transition from education into employment – the group have been successfully awarded a grant from the Academy of Social Sciences to conduct more detailed research around the education to industry pipeline. Findings of this research will be delivered in a report later in 2024, which will be used to develop a more detailed and collaborative action plan to address leaks in existing pipelines and explore new opportunities to ensure pathways into the built environment are open and accessible to everyone.  
  • EDI competencies – To date, the group have delivered three combined large-scale industry events focusing on important topics like gender and racial equity, and LGBTQ+ inclusion. The next event will be held in July 2024 and will focus on disability inclusion in the workplace. These events bring together members, networks and experts to share best practice, increase understanding and inspire collective action to shape a more inclusive culture in the industry.   

Looking forward, B.E.Inclusive will explore more areas for closer collaboration and coordination around learning and development, inspiring and retaining new talent, and providing stronger support for those who have taken career breaks coming back into the industry.      

Justin Young, RICS CEO, said:  

“Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) remains a big priority for all of our institutions as we strive to attract, develop and retain diverse talent and shape a more inclusive culture in the built and natural environment. A tremendous amount of work has been accomplished by this collective and I am proud of the work they are continuing to do to engage widely and inspire greater collaboration and unity of effort across the industry.”  

Caroline Gumble, CIOB CEO, said: 

“It was heartening to be part of such a positive and energising meeting. It’s vital to keep this topic on the agenda and recognise that our collaboration will help across the built environment, as it impacts on so many areas of the industry, not least at a time when the skills shortage still needs to be tackled.” 

Robert Hughes, Landscape Institute CEO, said: 

“The Landscape Institute is proud to continue the work of this important cross-sector partnership. Creating more diverse, equitable and inclusive public spaces simply isn’t possible without a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce delivering them across our collective organisations and membership bodies. 

Given the green skills shortage we currently face in the UK, our industry must be more accessible, inclusive and welcoming than ever. B.E Inclusive’s forward focus areas of learning and development, talent retention, and returning to work after careers breaks, will be essential for bringing about the positive change we need.” 

Dr. Valerie Vaughan-Dick RIBA CEO said:   

“We know there is still work to do to create a fairer and more inclusive built environment sector. RIBA remains committed to working collaboratively with our colleagues from across the industry to help make it a place where everyone is welcome, and I am pleased with our progress on our EDI commitments. Our professions face similar challenges, so by combining our efforts to address the systemic barriers that perpetuate discrimination and underrepresentation, we can drive change at a faster rate.” 

Victoria Hills, RTPI CEO, said:  

“Inclusion is at the heart of RTPI’s vision for our profession and the wider sector. However, achieving this goal requires meaningful collaboration. I had the pleasure of catching up with my fellow CEO to discuss the excellent progress we have collectively made in creating a more inclusive sector.  

“While a significant amount has been accomplished, there is still much work to be done. But I believe that, if we continue to work together, we’ll be able to shape the profession and the wider sector into being more inclusive for everyone.” 

Janet Young, ICE Director General, said: 

“The ICE is fully committed to continuing to collaborate on EDI with partners across the built environment sector. Achieving a diverse and representative workforce is not only crucial to tackling those global challenges posed by climate change but is also both morally and ethically the right thing to do. We continue to prioritise steps that ensure underrepresented groups join the profession, and the insights gained from working with other professional bodies are invaluable.  

“The partnership enables a much greater impact on outcomes than can be achieved by organisations acting alone. In key areas such as data collection and the coordination of events, we are stronger and more effective together. The differences between professional bodies are often unrecognised by the young person considering a built environment career and in this spirit the partnership sets aside parochial interests and instead focuses on the needs of society.” 

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