Group services director Ciara Pryce has been shortlisted for the Women in Rail ‘Inspirational Woman of the Year’ award.
Ciara was nominated for her “inspirational example and support for women in our industry”. Of 138 entries, Ciara is one of just six shortlisted.
Combatting modern slavery
A key reason for the nomination is the way Ciara is leading the way against modern slavery in the construction and rail industry.
In September 2018, Ciara was named one of the top 100 Modern Slavery influencers in the inaugural UK Top100 Corporate Modern Slavery Influencers’ Index. She has presented at several events, including the Modern Slavery and Ethical Labour in Construction Leadership Symposium at RIBA, and SafeStart 2019.
Ciara also leads an intensive internal education programme on modern slavery. This is being rolled out to all VGC office employees, and, in partnership with clients, on sites. See Ciara’s video on modern slavery.
Another reason for the shortlisting is Ciara’s role as chairperson of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) construction sector group. In June 2018 she met Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Esther McVey to discuss diversity and labour opportunities in rail and construction. In August 2018 Ciara took part in an immigration hackathon at the Institute of Government to prepare a document to present to the government.
Supporting diversity and inclusion
Since 2002 Ciara has worked to boost diversity and inclusion in the industry.
In October 2018 she was named as one of the LDC Top 50 most ambitious business leaders.
“Ciara has helped VGC Group build an unrivalled reputation for quality people and ethical business practices, in what is an incredibly challenging sector. She has proven that building an ethical business is a savvy strategy that drives growth – as well being the right thing to do.”
Jonathan Caswell, LDC
VGC has a number of programmes to support women. Wherever possible, staff who have caring responsibilities are supported to work flexibly. Their head office has a 100% record of parents returning to their roles after parental leave.
“Ciara is passionate about fairness, inclusion and diversity,” said Laurence Mckidd, VGC’s managing director. “Thanks to her inspirational leadership, VGC is now hailed as a leading light for corporate social responsibility in the industry.”
About the Women in Rail awards
The Women in Rail Awards aim to showcase and reward individuals and companies who have made a significant contribution to improving gender balance, diversity and inclusion in the UK railway industry.
The awards ceremony will take place at the Roundhouse in Camden on 15 May. The evening will be hosted by Rachel Riley, TV presenter and STEM ambassador.
The ‘Inspirational Woman of the Year award was won by Leanne Gregory. Jenny Wai from Mott MacDonald was named Rising Star of the Year, and Gemma Gillman from HS2 won Apprentice of the Year. The Top Employer of the Year was Direct Rail Services.
At the event, Adeline Ginn, Women in Rail founder, said: “If we are to deliver a first class service to our customers, we need to understand them better. This means welcoming diversity and a truly diverse workforce.”
The keynote speaker was Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani. She said: “No industry or country can reach its full potential if it only recruits from a fraction of talent on offer.
By not delivering enough opportunities for women, the industry is letting Britain down by not ensuring the broadest talent is working on our network. It’s time for the whole industry to step out of the 1950s into the 21st century.”