VGC has won the Construction News Diversity and Inclusion Excellence award.
The award recognises industry-leading efforts to develop a diverse and inclusive workforce culture.
Our entry described Go Beyond the Gates, our programme to support ex-offenders into sustainable employment. The judges said
This was a strong submission, with real focus on people, showing passion and care in this field; and this really shone through.
Our winner here looked to go beyond the more traditional view of diversity and inclusion, specifically focusing on getting ex-offenders into construction. They demonstrated practical real change in a niche area with a great success rate.
The judges said that this was a great CSR model, which fully addresses and represents communities with direct social wide benefits.
Sponsor Trad-UK described the project as “industry-leading”.
Group services director Ciara Pryce said: “We are honoured and delighted to have won this Construction News award. Go beyond the gates is a project that we’re incredibly proud of. Now, more than ever, we need to create pathways to encourage under-represented groups to enter the construction industry. I’m so proud of the achievements of the VGC team.”
Go beyond the gates is led by CSR manager Kimberley McGinty, who began the programme in 2018. She said: “I’m very proud of all the people who take part in the programme, and our results speak for themselves. The ex-offenders I’ve spoken to are so appreciative that we’re prepared to listen to their needs, and work to give them the opportunity for a sustainable career.” During 2019, VGC supported 1109 offenders, with five volunteers visiting 17 prisons. By the end of the year, 27 ex-offenders were working on VGC sites across the UK.
Ex-offenders are supported on site by VGC labour managers like James Andrews. “It’s really important that we give some of the UK’s most vulnerable people the chance to gain a sustainable career in construction,” he said. “The people I work with are truly grateful for a second chance, and I’m pleased to help them to grow their new careers.”
Virtual awards ceremony
The winners were announced at a virtual ceremony on 26 November (postponed from the usual July date).
The shortlisted companies in all 21 categories are listed on the CN Awards website. VGC was one of just eight shortlisted in the Diversity and Inclusion Excellence category. The other shortlisted companies were Kier Construction, Kier Highways, Sir Robert McAlpine, Imtech, Encon Construction and Willmott Dixon.
This is the third award win for VGC this month. We have also won the Balfour Beatty Highways social value award and received Highly Commended in the Community Engagement category of the CN Specialists awards. All three were virtual events, which meant a large number of VGC staff were able to attend.