BRIDGE (Building Routes Into Degrees with Greater Equality) (HEFCE CATALYST)

Project Details


The construction sector is one of the least diverse sectors in the UK. Among employees only 4% are BAME (compared to a national population of 12%), and the proportion of women in the construction sector remains low at around 13% (ONS, 2018). The project is designed to address these challenges by aiming to gain a deep understanding of the factors affecting the lack of diversity among students on professional built environment programmes; and develop and evaluate a range of interventions designed to address barriers to participation and improve career uptake in this sector by women, people with disabilities, people from disadvantaged backgrounds and people from minority ethnic groups.

Layman's description

To diversity the intakes to our professional construction programmes and ultimately the construction and built environment sector. This will be achieved by working in partnership with young people, their key influencers and the sector itself to bring about a cultural change of the industry and the career opportunities it provides to young people.

Key findings

The team has conducted an in-depth assessment of the current situation through employer, staff and student interviews, enrolment data and a comprehensive literature review. The results show that (1) there is a long-standing under-representation of females, BAME, disabled and lower socio-economic groups on construction programmes and across the sector; (2) the majority of undergraduates are white, male and middle-class; (3) significant differences exist in the diversity of the student population between certain subjects; (4) young people who choose graduate study and careers in the built environment are usually influenced by parents, family or friends working in the industry; (5) there is lack of career knowledge among young people; (6) the sector has a negative image among the public as ‘dirty’, ‘dangerous’ and ‘difficult’ and (7) a culture of bias and discrimination is present across the sector.
Using these results, a theory of change has been developed and used to inform a series of activities and interventions based around seven themes with an accompanying evaluation strategy to measure their impact. Examples include changes to admissions and recruitment practice, workshops for young people to challenge the negative and stereotypical image of the sector, improved career information, and training and awareness raising of staff and employers around stereotypes and equality, diversity and inclusion.
Effective start/end date1/03/1728/02/19


  • Higher Education Funding Council for England: £72,925.00


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