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Building People appoints diversity and inclusion specialist to address representation in the sector

Building People – a social enterprise which ‘joins the dots’ to increase diversity across the built environment – has appointed Marsha Ramroop, the global award-winning inclusive culture specialist, as its new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Executive Director.

Having spent several years supporting the BBC, Marsha is the former Director of Inclusion and Diversity at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and currently runs her own Culture Change and EDI business, Unheard Voice Consultancy.

Marsha will apply her experience leading high-profile campaigns to bolster Building People’s product, services and leadership offering, whilst positioning the social enterprise as a centre of excellence for equity, diversity and inclusion in the built environment.

Through its free-to-use online hub, Building People aggregates work opportunities, events and knowledge, making it easier for people from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds to find careers opportunities in the built environment, whilst enabling businesses to access a more diverse talent pool of candidates.

Over the last year, more than 90 member organisations have backed the social enterprise in its mission to tackle representation in the sector.

Since its establishment in 2018, Building People has created a Network of Networks of over sixty organisations that provide built environment careers support to the diverse and under-represented individuals that the sector desperately needs.

According to recent figures, women make up just 14% of the workforce (dropping to under 2% for on-site operatives), just 5.9% are people from racialised communities and only 9.6% of workers are in the 18-25 age bracket. This is despite figures showing the industry requires 216,800 more construction workers by 2025 to meet increased demand, suggesting the built environment is facing a significant skills gap which is stifling growth and economic recovery.

At RIBA, Marsha was a key player behind the Joint Institutes Memorandum of Understanding and Plan, and the establishment of RIBA Radio in 2021, and through her consultancy, is currently writing the ‘Handbook on EDI in Architecture’.

Marsha has gained recognition for her inclusive culture change work, which includes global awards from the International Federation of Training and Development Organisations and Brandon Hall’s Gold Medals.

Commenting on her new role, Marsha Ramroop, said: “I’m delighted to have this tremendous opportunity with Building People to drive forward and lead useful and practical EDI support for the built environment sector. I know it is crying out for the right input and expertise which will lead to better results for organisations across all trades and professions.

“In this role – with an initial focus on aligning the professions and working towards shaping inclusive communities and an inclusive world – I hope to help the sector move forward with better behaviours alongside practical policies, procedures and practices that will result in improved outcomes we all want to see.”

Building People CEO Rebecca Lovelace commented: “Marsha joining us as Executive Director of EDI is a significant step forward for Building People. Our goal is to be the centre of excellence for equity, diversity and inclusion in the built environment, and the knowledge and expertise that Marsha brings to the table will enable us to bolster our offering and impact in 2023.

“We’re looking forward to beginning our collaboration with a series of ‘EDI Briefings for the Built Environment’ in January, starting with ‘Answering Your Organisation’s Pain Points: EDI 101’. Marsha is not only a leader in her field but is also committed to the core Building People beliefs of collaboration and collective effort.

“There’s a huge amount of activity taking place in the built environment sector, and Marsha joining Building People means that we can dramatically scale up our work to provide the leadership needed to join together these disparate activities and achieve a more equitable, diverse and inclusive built environment sector. This is a very exciting time and I know that we are going to make a simply amazing team that will drive significant change.”

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Press contact: • Jake Setterfield | [email protected] About Building People: • Building People is a hub for equity, diversity and inclusion in the built environment. Collaboration and not duplicating effort sit at the heart of Building People. • The Building People platform aggregates careers opportunities (events, vacancies and knowledge), simplifying user journeys through a ‘single portal’ approach and enabling equality of opportunity across a fragmented careers landscape. • Its ‘network of networks’ brings together over sixty organisations that provide built environment careers support to diverse and under-represented audiences. Building People enables joined-up collaboration and practical action between these disparate groups, significantly amplifying voices to ensure a ‘bottom-up’, as well as ‘top-down’, perspective. • Building People also delivers strategic input and lobbying at leadership level, with representation on the Construction Leadership Council and other industry groups to consistently bring equity, diversity and inclusion to the top of the agenda. • The Building People goal is to be the leading platform enabling diverse people and organisations to thrive in the built environment. About Marsha Ramroop: • Marsha Ramroop is a global award-winning Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strategist, and Founder Director of Unheard Voice Consultancy Ltd. She has formulated an inclusive culture change methodology which has been recognised as successful with an international prize from the UN-backed conglomerate of best practice for personal and organisational development, the IFTDO, and Brandon Hall HRD Gold Medals. • She was the inaugural Director of Inclusion and Diversity at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) so has a clear understanding of how a traditional profession has been operating and the challenges it faces. • Marsha was commissioned to write the ‘Handbook on EDI in Architecture’ in July 2022 and it should be available in early 2024. • In addition to inclusion expertise, Marsha has a post-graduate degree in Business Management, which included organisational behaviour, as well as a degree and post-graduate in Journalism – originally having a 30-year career in broadcasting; skills she now uses to ensure clear communication. Whilst working at the BBC, Marsha led inclusion efforts across the Midlands and developed a pioneering inclusive recruitment pilot for presenting staff, and an inclusive reporter scheme. • Marsha is also Vice-Chair of the Institute of Equality and Diversity Professionals, an institute which strives to verify and set standards for the growing vocation of EDI practitioners. • She works with the Cultural Intelligence Center, the global headquarters of cultural intelligence (CQ) as one of their published and highlighted thought-leaders on impactful organisational change, also as a worldwide trainer and facilitator.

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