Over the next decade, the construction industry must ensure it can meet current and future skills demands. Organisations that value Equality, Diversity and Inclusion attract and retain the best people, perform better and ultimately are more successful. Creating an environment where differences of thought and perspectives are encouraged isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s essential for future skills needs.
The next generation will expect and choose to work for organisations that encourage and embrace differences in backgrounds, opinions and thoughts. Businesses that fail to focus on workplace inclusion will undoubtedly get left behind. The CIF believes that the construction sector is one of the most diverse but the retention of people and expansion of talent are critical to industry growth.
To begin this EDI conversation, the CIF has created a new lunchtime series where the CIF team speaks with a wide range of individuals from within business, policy and governance about their challenges, opportunities and ultimately their stories. The CIF hosted the first in this new series of EDI focused webinars just ahead of International Women’s Day.
This month’s ‘In conversation with …’ was hosted by CIF Southern Region Director Conor O’Connell featuring electrician and international soccer player Louise Hogan. Hogan spoke candidly about the challenges she’s faced and her drive in a professional and sports career with a hearing disability.
In conversation with … Louise Hogan
Louise Hogan is an Olympic bronze medal winner with the Great Britain Ladies Football Team and a qualified electrician. Born in the UK to Irish parents – her father started out as a carpenter and is now an architect – she spent childhood summers in Ireland, a place she still regularly visits. Now five years in the industry, Hogan recently left a role with a big construction company to become self-employed working in high-end residential. She shared stories about her life and thoughts on the industry with CIF Director Conor O’Connell.
“I went to a deaf boarding school for seven years and when I left I faced the hearing world where people were not educated as to how to interact or communicate with deaf people. When I was at college studying electrical insulation, I had an interpreter that could guide me.
There was a lot going on with 30 people in a classroom so I couldn’t keep up.
Another challenge was trying to get an apprenticeship, it took me two years to finally get a job, thankfully a big construction company took me on as a trainee. From a young age my parents were very hands on in the household, fixing broken washing machines or laying down new flooring, so I always knew growing up that I didn’t want to be stuck behind a desk.
I wanted to have a career that kept me active. Also, my love of sport from a young age had me playing outside come
rain or shine. My dad always told me to always have choices in life and to go down different avenues. I’m a practical person so I choose electrical because you can work independently every day and there is a clear plan of action with tasks to be completed.
It’s also not too reliant on communication with other people. There is now a greater awareness in construction companies that people with a disability can offer the same skill set as a non-disabled and with some adjustment to their standard operating procedure full working inclusion can be achieved.”
How to watch: In conversation with … Louise Hogan | Hosted by CIF Southern Director Conor O’Connell
The webinar is available for members to view in full on the CIF training site – ciftraining.ie