Simon Forrester, Regional Health & Safety advisor Ibstock Brick, has worked in a predominantly male environment for decades, and so he’s seen the shift in the modern workplace with his own eyes. Today, he shares his thoughts on what can be done to bridge the diversity gap.
Tell us a bit about you?
I have worked for Ibstock brick since 1981. During this time I have held various job roles in production & management. I am married with two children and I have two grandchildren.
Why is diversity important to you?
It’s important to me as I feel we need to bring the industry I have worked for into the 20th century and if we keep on doing what we have done in the past we will never move forward.
What benefits does diversity bring?
When you are more diverse you have lots of new thoughts and ideas which will only benefit the company.
What challenges do you face when you try to be more diverse?
The main challenge we face are peoples comments in the construction industry is ‘that’s a man’s job’.
What can we do better as an organisation/industry to be more diverse?
We should improve the welfare facilities for female members of the teams in the factories. We should encourage more female to apply for factory roles by promoting the sector as a fantastic career.
How are you trying to positively influence diversity?
By talking to various people at all levels of the business that we need to be more diverse so we ensure that we always get the best candidate for the role and gender does not come into it.
How do you address difficult conversations with male and female colleagues about diversity?
In a calm manner and always there to listen.
What positive females role models have you had in your career/life and how have they shaped you?
In my industry there has been for a number of years a lack of females in the factories. But I will always remember a female teacher who said to me one day - ‘never give up and always be prepared to teach someone as someone took the time to teach you’.
The importance of male advocacy in our pursuit to close the gender diversity gap cannot be understated. If you're interested in another from one of our other male advocacy supports, read our piece on Gavin Slark, CEO of Grafton Group plc.