For the first time, Essex & Suffolk Water has been part of a ground-breaking ethnicity programme, to help attract a more diverse workforce.

Over the last six months, the water company has participated in the Workforce Integration Network (WIN) Design Labs programme, launched by the Equal Group and the Greater London Authority.


The aim of it was to tackle the under representation of the Black, Asian and minority ethnics (BAME) community, and in particular young black men, within the infrastructure and construction sectors.


Interactive sessions and workshops were designed to help the eleven companies involved engage with a more diverse talent pool, with a targeted approach towards recruitment.


As part of the programme, a detailed action plan has been developed by Essex & Suffolk Water. Some of the commitments include:


  1. Working with diverse recruiters to increase the representation of the BAME community within the water company and providing diverse interview panels.
  2. Diversifying the supply chain by refreshing the responsible procurement strategy and carrying out sustainable procurement assessments.
  3. Upgrading the company’s HR systems to allow people to self-disclose or update their ethnicity / religion / sexual orientation etc at all recruitment stages from interview to even years into the role, to understand how sustainable recruitment is for diversity, inclusion and equity.


The company also plans to launch a four-year diversity and inclusion strategy, which will see employee network support groups established and a series of online learning events delivered.


Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing Manager at Essex & Suffolk Water, Michael Nicholas, said: “Essex & Suffolk Water is committed to being reflective of the communities we serve but currently we have room for improvement in this area.


“Taking part in this invaluable project and developing an action plan is a positive step forward to creating a diverse workforce and it springboards our commitment to being the national leader on diversity and inclusion within our industry.”


A spokesperson at the Equal Group, said: “We are delighted Essex & Suffolk Water are committed to increasing the representation of young Black men in their organisation through the publication of their action plan.


“Essex & Suffolk Water have been such active participants in the GLA WIN Design Lab programme and we look forward to seeing them, and continuing to support them, in creating a more diverse workforce.”