Kier in construction first with disability recognition
Stephen Lismore, head of employer engagement at DWP presented Kier Highways with its certificate at Kier’s London offices
Kier Highways is the first UK construction company to have become a Disability Confident Leader, under a scheme aimed at welcoming people with disabilities into the workplace.
Disability Confident is a scheme conducted by the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) to increase levels of employment for people with disabilities by raising standards and increasing understanding of disability in the workplace.
To gain its status, Kier Highways has committed to practices and behaviours making the business more inclusive, diverse and attractive to people with disabilities. It has launched: an inclusive recruitment policy; equality, diversity & inclusion steering and action groups; a Disability Confident Forum for employees with disabilities to test practices and procedures; and introduced bi-annual inclusion weeks.
As well as the number of initiatives Kier Highways has in place to support people with disabilities, its NORDIS Signs business has been established to provide meaningful employment for disabled people in the Northamptonshire area. It currently employs 15 road signs specialists, 14 of whom have a disability.
Dave Wright, executive director for Kier Highways, said: “I’m thrilled that Kier Highways is the first company in the UK construction sector to be recognised as a Disability Confident Leader. We work hard to ensure our workplace is inclusive for our colleagues with disabilities and to be recognised for this is very humbling.
“I am particularly proud of our NORDIS Signs business and being able to offer our colleagues in Northamptonshire stable employment opportunities. People with disabilities offer a wide range of skills and strengths into our business and this commitment extends beyond compliance; we will be promoting the scheme and its principles to clients, supply chain and peers within the construction sector.”
Tony Hyland, a national account manager with the DWP who has been supporting Kier in its efforts to become a Disability Confidence Leader added: “It is fantastic that Kier Highways has made this important step, and we hope this will be the first of many companies in the sector. People with disabilities can overlook construction as a career path, often because they are unaware of the range of roles available.”