Highways England, TfL, HS2 Ltd and Network Rail join forces to help SMEs with equality, diversity and inclusion

Highways England, Transport for London, HS2 Ltd and Network Rail are encouraging SMEs to register for free training courses, designed to improve equality, diversity and inclusion in their businesses.

The four organisations have joined forces to work in partnership with the Supply Chain Sustainability School, the four transport bodies want to make it easier for companies to demonstrate their commitment to the equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) agenda.

The Supply Chain Sustainability School is recognised as a leading training provider and has supported SMEs with accessing free training since 2012.

The Fairness, Inclusion and Respect (FIR) Programme has been developed for the construction industry to provide an industry context to the EDI agenda.

Through the FIR programme, The Supply Chain Sustainability School has supported over 2,000 businesses, helping them to improve their understanding of Fairness, Inclusion and Respect, and its importance in the workplace.

All four organisations outline good practice standards and requirements expected from suppliers to win work and collectively they are now supporting UK businesses to get ‘contract ready’ by providing access to a consistent source of training. This removes the requirement for businesses to complete numerous training and assessment programmes to satisfy multiple clients.

The CITB have funded the FIR Programme for five years, but with the economic impact of Covid, they had to reduce funding for this financial year, which meant the FIR programme faced challenges in sustaining its full offer of training.

Businesses can access free online EDI/FIR training pathways at www.supplychainschool.co.uk/fir 

Mark Lomas, head of EDI at HS2 Ltd, said: “We’re passionate about improving EDI and FIRs outcomes right across our supply chain. A project the size, scale and longevity of HS2 offers a unique opportunity to deliver measured improvements that can improve people’s working lives and career prospects. We’re proud to be supporting this initiative and hope to see many SMEs registering to take part.”

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