Laing O’Rourke’s UK business becomes first tier one contractor to be awarded Level 3: Disability Confident Leader


Laing O’Rourke has become the first tier one contractor to have been awarded Level 3: Disability Confident Leader, the highest level in the UK Government’s Disability Confident scheme, across its entire UK business operations.

The scheme supports employers to make the most of the talents that people with disabilities can bring to the workplace, with level 3 recognising the contribution that Laing O’Rourke makes to championing positive employment experiences for people with disabilities within our sector and local communities.

Carol Williams, Head of Procurement, Europe and executive sponsor of Laing O’Rourke’s dis-ABILITY subcommittee said:

“I am incredibly proud of the team of people across the business who have helped us achieve this. It is testament to their hard work in response to the recommendations made at our previous assessments at Levels 1 and 2.”

There are more than 14 million disabled people in the UK and 21% of working age adults in the UK have a disability. Yet, in the construction sector, with its well-documented skills shortage, just 9% of the workforce have declared that they have a disability.

Carol added:

“We’re delighted to have been recognised by the Disability Confident scheme and the validation process is hugely beneficial to us, giving us a springboard to drive forward further change. Some of the changes already implemented have seen us improve our recruitment processes, for example, by tailoring our early talent open days to be more inclusive. These adaptations ensure that everyone has the opportunity to shine, and it means we’re recruiting the best people for the role. We have provided our line managers with direct access to support information in relation to disabilities, enabling them to create teams that thrive. And our dis-ABILITY subcommittee, made up of colleagues who consider themselves to have a disability or who are an ally, have been empowered to drive change through the organisation. By raising awareness we have been able to build understanding and more people are now coming forward to share their situation enabling us to ensure we can create a more inclusive workplace for all people of different abilities.”

As part of its commitment to the Disability Confident scheme, Laing O’Rourke has also become a member of the Business Disability Forum. The organisation supports employers to be disability-smart by providing advice and guidance on best practice to attract, recruit and retain people who have disabilities.

Rae Avatar Barnett, Head of People, Europe added:

“We’ve set ambitious diversity and inclusion targets. To meet them we need to ensure we are attracting people who wouldn’t have traditionally considered a career in the construction sector. There are people with disabilities who have the talent and skills we need who can help us to modernise the industry. There is such a wide variety of careers available in construction, and we need to work together as a sector to inspire many more people to join us.”

The award comes just as Laing O’Rourke marks UN International Day of People with Disabilities on 3 December. Some of Laing O’Rourke’s workplaces will be taking part in the global movement #PurpleLightUp, from 1 December until 3 December, which celebrates the economic contribution of more than 380 million disabled employees around the world.