Category: Gender Focus, Disability Inclusive, Diversity and Inclusion Champions, Disabilities
HS2 and JV partner SCS have been recognised for their incredible efforts in improving equality and inclusion in our industry in a series of award shortlists.
Maria Grazia-Zedda, EDI Manager at HS2, has been shortlisted for Women in Rail’s Inspirational Woman of the Year award, while HS2’s Women into Construction project has been shortlisted for the Social Inclusion award.
The Women in Rail Awards aim to showcase and reward individuals and companies who have made a significant contribution to improving gender balance, diversity and inclusion in the UK railway industry.
Maria has been recognised for her many years championing gender balance, equality, diversity and inclusion in all areas of UK rail, including developing e-learning and delivering workshops to train operating companies to help promote inclusive customer service and recruitment practices. She performed design access audits for 12 train stations on the East Coast and audited the new Caledonian Sleeper train being produced in Spain. Whilst working for HS2 she has been listed as one of the Power 100 Most Influential Disabled People in the UK and has been relentless in promoting EDI values in a positive and engaging way.
Maria said: “I’ve worked in EDI and rail for many years and this nomination has been a wonderful surprise. I will use any acknowledgement that comes my way to help the EDI team achieve even greater inclusion in the way we recruit and retain our staff, so that we can deliver HS2 and continue leading the industry on Equality and Inclusion.”
Recognising the gender imbalance in the rail and construction industries, the Skills, Education and Employment (SEE) team at HS2 sought to help get unemployed women from across the West Midlands into sustainable employment while increasing their skills, through the highly successful Women into Construction project.
As well as the Women in Rail Awards, the efforts of the SEE team have also been recognised in a number of categories in The Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion Awards, which celebrate the innovative ways in which employers are challenging discrimination and working inclusively to tap into their talented workforce.
The Women into Construction project has been shortlisted for the Community Impact award, which recognises where an organisation has reached out to and engaged disadvantaged/minority groups in the community.
The Advancing Social Mobility in the Workplace award recognises the steps an organisation has taken to reach individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Our entry demonstrates the relationships we have built with schools and young people to open up our opportunities, particularly targeting institutions with above average levels of disadvantage.
Julie Venn-Morton, Skills Manager at HS2, said: “We’re thrilled that our work to support and empower people from disadvantaged backgrounds has been recognised through the Women in Rail and ENEI Awards. The Women into Construction project in particular has delivered beyond our expectations. We've had the pleasure of seeing individuals flourish and self-esteem raised as well as attitudes changed. It’s a project that we would want to grow and develop for the future in order to continue to support our under-represented groups. Thanks go to the Gender Balance Network for co-ordinating the various nominations on behalf of HS2.”
Our JV partner, SCS, has also been successful in shortlisting for the Women in Rail Awards. Gemma Andrews, Design Manager at SCS, has been shortlisted for their Rising Star of the Year award, which recognises remarkable women who are in the early stage of their career but who have made an impact on their colleagues, peers and customers. SCS has also been shortlisted for the Top Employer award, which recognises employers who have taken proactive steps towards female talent retention in their organisation and in the rail sector.
You can find out more about the various awards and when we’ll get the results by visiting the Women in Rail and ENEI websites.