The RSMA/National Highways Academy initiative, ‘Making the Network Work’, which involved over 300 highways organisations and experts throughout 2016, is now moving into its’ second phase to action some of the 39 key outcomes identified.


This second phase entitled ‘A Working Network’ will involve a series of practitioner workshops, designed to produce practical support for organisations active in the Highways sector.


One of these workshops will focus on establishing a toolkit to support SMEs in developing and implementing practical Diversity and Inclusion programmes to help secure a productive and diverse workforce, post Brexit.


The recent Highways UK Skills Survey defined Skills as the ‘Ticking Bomb’ for the highways sector and that “failure to address diversity will only exacerbate the skills crisis”, however, the majority of work undertaken in this area to date has been limited to Tier 1 and Tier 2 organisations who have already identified this as a concern; Tier 3 and small contacting concerns are predominately disengaged with these issues just at a time where skills demands are likely to rise and the availability of skilled labour likely to drop.


There has been a significant amount of work undertaken in the areas of Monitoring & Measuring, Challenging Bias and Developing Leadership by organisations such as KierBalfour Beatty and FM Conway, amongst others, who all contributed to the CIHT Routes to Diversity & Inclusion Project in 2015.


This follow up project by RSMA and NHA, to be rolled out later in 2017, aims to expand on the guidance from the CIHT project and make the lessons learnt, to date, more scalable and accessible to SMEs further down the supply chain.


Whilst Diversity & Inclusion is only one element of the Skills issue, it is a crucial piece of the overall jigsaw and working with industry practitioners we aim to provide employers with the tools and knowledge to address the challenges that surround development and implementation.


If you are interested in becoming involved with ‘A Working Network – Diversity & Inclusion’, please email your details to and we will keep you up to date about dates for the practitioner workshop.


An online version of the Making the Network Work Report is available in the ‘Resources’ on the RSMA website.