The Centre for the Study of the Built Environment (ProBE) has organised this event in the light of growing concerns about the exclusiveness of the construction sector and receding well-being and work-life balance. The seminar will be followed by the AGM of the British office of European Institute for Construction Labour Research (CLR), which all are welcome to attend. It is also the occasion to present the latest CLR News (3/12 – on Diversity and Exclusion in Construction.


3.30-3.45pm: Tea/ coffee
3.45pm: Welcome: Linda Clarke (Chair)
Valerie Francis (University of Melbourne): Workers’ work-family experiences in Australian construction
Dr Fred Sherratt (University of Bolton): Well-being and safety on sites
Aletha Holborough (University of Westminster): Transition, apprenticeships and ethnicity
Dr Paul Chan (University of Manchester): Diversity and Exclusion: What matters in construction?
5.45-6.00 Pause
6.00-7.00: CLR GB AGM
7.00-7.30pm: Drinks

Seminar programme

Valerie Francis: Workers’ work-family experiences in Australian construction

Little is known about is the work-life experiences of construction workers and we are very fortunate to have Valerie here to talk about her survey of construction workers and managers on a major Australian infrastructure project. Valerie is a former civil engineer, leading expert on women in construction in Australia, Associate Professor at the famous ‘Melbourne model’ University of Melbourne, and currently visiting ProBE scholar. The results of her survey revealed that, in contrast to managers, workers experienced lower levels of supervisor support, flexibility, family-work enrichment and control as well as longer work hours, and higher levels of time-based work interference with family life - demonstrating the importance of a flexible, supportive workplace for all project-based employees, but particularly for construction workers.

Fred Sherratt: Well-being and safety on sites

Fred worked on sites in the industry for over ten years, starting as the site secretary and eventually working her way up to site supervisor, particularly of the finishing trades. This role gave her unique insight of safety and safety management from the workforce perspective, and Fred developed her research around safety from this position, ensuring the worker and not just the management voice was heard. Her PhD revealed how safety is perceived on sites, and sought to identify potential areas for improvements in safety management systems, with a focus on their operations in practice. She is now developing the findings into practical interventions, further exploring worker perceptions and understandings, and asking managers to take a different look at safety.

Aletha Holborough Transition, apprenticeships and ethnicity

Aletha is a final year Ph.D. student at Westminster Business School. The aim of her research is to explore the underrepresentation of Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority (BAME) workers in the construction industry. Specifically, she investigates the lived experiences of BAME youths as they make their transition from education to employment. The research method is qualitative, seeking the views of construction trainees, colleges and employers.

Paul Chan is Lecturer at the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering in the University of Manchester.

His research expertise lies broadly in the area of human relations in engineering and construction, having done critical studies on inter alia employer engagement in human resource development, skills and knowledge-in-use at the workplace, and queer voices in construction. He recently co-edited with Professor Linda Clarke a CLR News edition on Diversity and Exclusion in Construction. Drawing on this special edition of CLR News and his ongoing work on queer(y)ing construction, his talk seeks to unpack some of the critical, emerging matters that deserve greater research attention by anyone interested in producing and reproducing a more equal and diverse construction industry. The core of his arguments centres on the need to explore individuality and intersections of identity construction in the sector.


Everyone who wishes is welcome to attend the CLR GB AGM, which is concerned to discuss priorities in the coming year. The agenda of the meeting is as follows:

  1. Welcome and introductions
  2. Ongoing projects
  3. Forthcoming priorities and opportunities
  4. CLR-GB Newsletter
  5. Strategy to refresh membership

So do come along with any ideas you have.