I’m Jo, and I’m an engineer turned business psychologist, specialising in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.  I am founder and director of a social enterprise, Inclusioneering Ltd, helping organisations in the tech and engineering industries with EDI.  Within TransFIRe, I am delighted to be working as Senior EDI Project Manager on our EDI strategy and its implementation.  It’s a massively exciting space to be working in, as academics and industry partners come together to solve the biggest challenges of our generation, to reach the Net Zero 2050 goals.

The UK Foundation industries together produce 28 million tonnes of raw material – cement, metals, glass, paper, ceramics, and chemicals – which are the foundation to all the stuff we see constructed and produced all around us.  But together these industries currently contribute 10% of the total CO2 emissions from UK homes and businesses.  We need to find sustainable ways to manufacture these fundamental resources, reducing materials wherever possible, but also continuing to provide for the vast array of construction, infrastructure and products that rely upon them.

Under the leadership of Mark Jolley and Sue Black, and backed by UKRI, TransFIRe has considered EDI as a core part of this industry transformation from the outset.  We see equality, diversity and inclusion as requisite to achieving these vital sustainability goals.  As we consider the future skills needed to take us into this new future of manufacturing, we have opportunity to also think about the people that will be carrying our that work.  How do we ensure that everyone has equal opportunities in careers in the foundation industries, regardless of gender, race, social background, sexual orientation, disability and more?  How can we reconstruct the sector image to be attractive for new entrants?  How can we help upskill people from early careers and throughout the talent pipeline – to meet the skills needs of organisations and support the career paths of a diverse workforce?

We don’t have all the answers yet.  There are many gaps in the knowledge about EDI in the Foundation Industries, and through our work we will be working with individuals and organisations across the industries to listen, to learn, and to collaborate to start making change.