Safety matters, diverse social enterprise

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Safety Matters | Morson Backs Diverse Social Enterprise

Jessica Tabinor news

Safety matters, diverse social enterprise

The Diversity Hut has become the latest enterprise to receive support from Morson and Vital for the inspirational work that it does and in turn, is using its unique experience and insight to foster a more diverse workforce and culture of inclusivity throughout the Group.

Led by founder and social entrepreneur, Usman Shah, Diversity Hut taps into hard to access communities, cultural and religious groups to find talented individuals seeking skilled employment opportunities, and match them with businesses who believe in and value the benefits that a workforce that represents society will bring.

So tell us what inspired you to set up the Diversity Hut?

I grew up in Newham - one of the most diverse London boroughs but also has the highest unemployment rate - in a typical Asian family who believed that to be successful in life, you had to become a doctor.

I did a month of work experience for a construction firm and they were so impressed that I received a full scholarship to study quantity surveying at university - without any backing or support from my family. I then went on to work for Costain, where I won a number of national awards and became amongst the youngest BAME professional in the world to become chartered in quality. Yet working in this industry made me really notice the lack of diversity, which became the driving force behind the Diversity Hut.

What makes the Diversity Hut different?

There are lots of organisations talking about diversity but I wanted to actually walk the walk, not just talk the talk. My goal is to change people’s perceptions of diversity and enable them to see that being diverse or a minority isn’t a disadvantage, but rather an advantage that provides empowerment and strength.

We are also a social enterprise as I didn’t want to profit off of what we did or make ourselves into a charitable cause, as that’s not the intention and brand that I wanted to build.

Describe a typical week?

As well as the Morson Group, I work with a number of leading engineering and construction companies, including many of Morson’s clients, to train them in the best diversity and inclusion techniques and methods. I’ve so far trained more than 130 people in unconscious bias, cross-cultural management and thought leadership.

In addition to improving knowledge and understanding of the value of diversity, we’ve also become a leading broker of skilled, diverse staff for technical sectors. I look for potential employees in places that other businesses do not go, such as churches, mosques, community groups and charities. We’ve created 43 new jobs, and more than half of those were previously unemployed or going into work for the first time. 

Click here to download your copy of Morson's Safety Matters magazine Summer 2018 to read more about our involvement in the community and much more.