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Insights Supporting diversity within the company and for our clients

As part of our #PeopleDriveResults campaign, this week we have caught up with Louise de Peyrecave, Highways Market Lead for Infrastructure ADE market based in Bristol, UK.

this is an image of Louise

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

I joined Atkins in 2016 as a graduate structural engineer in Building Design in Bristol. I have more recently moved into the ADE Market in the UK and am now the Highways Market Lead for Infrastructure.

I joined the Enable network in 2018 and became co-chair in 2019, striving to ensure accessibility and inclusion for Disabled colleagues in the workplace.

Why is diversity important to you?

At school, I was in a very non-diverse environment – at an all girls school in a predominantly white area. When I moved to University I quickly became the minority, being one of 10 girls on a course of 100.  It was quite a shock to suddenly be someone who “stuck out” and I got just a small insight into experiences others face on a daily basis.

What was your inspiration for becoming an advocate for diversity in the workplace?

I first joined the Enable network as I have autistic family members, however I soon became interested in accessible design and accessible policies and culture. I believe many people are engaged in conversations around gender and race in the workplace, as there is a large societal influence for this, but when it comes to disability there is a quieter voice. This could be for many reasons, but I hope I can help provide a voice to the disabled community and engage the business on improvements we can make for our colleagues.

How do you feel AtkinsRéalis ensures that diversity is embraced?

In the UK we have made huge strides in developing employee networks to support the different minority groups. Wider in SNC-L I have less visibility but the recent video for International Persons with Disabilities day held a powerful message for how we can as a company do even more to support our colleagues.

Can you tell us about a time where diversity made a difference in a project?

Working in building design, we had so many opportunities to make a difference in projects. Whether it was layouts of buildings, interior design or accessible spaces – all made a difference to the end user.

If was just one message that you could pass along to readers about diversity, what would it be?

You don’t have to align with a protected characteristic to be involved. We can all provide a voice for those who aren’t comfortable standing alone in fighting a cause or need some allies to help them through. I only align personally to the Empower network but find great value in supporting others in all the employee networks regardless of if they directly affect me or not.