Dis-ABILITY group launched on international day of people with disabilities


Striving to become a more inclusive employer, Laing O’Rourke has officially launched its dis-ABILITY group aimed at amplifying the voices of employees who live with disabilities.

The Factory

HS2 - Curzon Street

Albert Embankment

Manchester Airport Terminal 2

Tideway Central

The dis-ABILITY group with #PurpleLightUp Backgrounds

Royal Liverpool University Hospital


The launch coincided with the UN’s International Day of People with Disabilities, this year also marked 25 years since the Disability Discrimination Act was passed by the UK government.

Statistics show that 1:5 working adults have a disability and 80% of disabilities are hidden. As a result, the dis-ABILITY group was assembled to start to change conversations within Laing O’Rourke, provide employees with a moment to pause and think, and spread the word on what is possible. Recently Laing O’Rourke achieved Disability Confident Level 2 and is aiming to achieve Level 3 next year.

To mark International Day of People with Disabilities (#IDPD2020) Laing O’Rourke projects across the UK took part in the Purple Light Up and employees switched their Microsoft Teams backgrounds to purple.

The dis-ABILITY group is one of nine committees within the Laing O’Rourke business to help create a more inclusive and diverse workplace for employees. Committees include:

  • Carers
  • Ethnicity
  • Families who live abroad
  • Gender
  • LGBTQ+
  • Part-time workers
  • Single parents
  • Women and menopause

Carol Williams, Laing O’Rourke’s executive sponsor of the dis-ABILITY subcommittee thanked employees for their support in raising awareness of the need to enable and empower people of all abilities in the workplace.

She outlined that: "The dis-ABILITY subcommittee will be looking at how we can create an inclusive environment to recruit and enable people to be at their best in Laing O’Rourke. Our employees support and insights are valued as we identify areas where we can make a difference going forward.”

Gayle Morgan, on behalf of the dis-ABILITY subcommittee, said: “The dis-ABILTY committee would like to thank the people and projects who have celebrated and showcased commitment to the UN International Day of People with Disabilities, through Lighting Up Purple (3 December 2020).

Light Up Purple is a global movement that promotes inclusive working environments for disabled employees, which is fully aligned with the goal of the dis-Ability committee.”

Winston Watson, Project Leader at The Factory, said: “We live in a diverse world and it is our responsibility to recognise that and make sure we are creating an inclusive environment for people to come to work. It was important to everyone on The Factory to show support for International Day of People with Disabilities, so we lit up The Factory and its cranes purple.

The Factory is currently a significant part of the Manchester city-scape and we’re proud that the building stood purple on the 3rd December. We’d also like to thank TFG Stage Technology who helped us with the light up.”