Kier Highways is the first company in the UK construction sector to become a Disability Confident Leader. Disability Confident is a scheme conducted by the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) to increase levels of employment for people with disabilities by raising standards and increasing understanding of disability in the workplace.

As part of this, it has committed to practices and behaviours making the business more inclusive, diverse and attractive to people with disabilities. It has launched an Inclusive Recruitment Policy; equality, diversity & inclusion steering and action groups; a Disability Confident Forum for employees with disabilities to test practices and procedures; and introduced bi-annual Inclusion Weeks.

As well as the number of initiatives Kier Highways has in place to support people with disabilities, its business, NORDIS Signs was established to provide meaningful employment for disabled people in the Northamptonshire area. It currently employs 15 road signs specialists, 14 of whom have a disability. It helps disabled people with more complex issues not only find, but stay in, employment.

Dave Wright, executive director for Kier Highways, commented: “I’m thrilled that Kier Highways is the first company in the UK construction sector to be recognised as a Disability Confident Leader. We work hard to ensure our workplace is inclusive for our colleagues with disabilities and to be recognised for this is very humbling.

“I am particularly proud of our NORDIS Signs business and being able to offer our colleagues in Northamptonshire stable employment opportunities. People with disabilities offer a wide range of skills and strengths into our business and this commitment extends beyond compliance; we will be promoting the scheme and its principles to clients, supply chain and peers within the construction sector.”

Tony Hyland is a National Account Manager with the DWP and has been supporting the journey Kier has undertaken to becoming a Disability Confidence Leader. Tony commented: “It is fantastic that Kier Highways has made this important step, and we hope this will be the first of many companies in the sector. People with disabilities can overlook construction as a career path, often because they are unaware of the range of roles available.”

Stephen Lismore, Head of Employer Engagement at DWP presented Kier Highways with its certificate at a reception to mark the event at Kier’s London offices. He said “We are delighted to present Kier with this accreditation. It’s important that employers demonstrate they are open and receptive to employing people from all parts of our communities.”