The Office for Disability Issues, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has issued a progress report for the Built Environment Professional Education (BEPE) project two years on from its inception as part of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic legacy.  The report outlines the project to date and the next steps in passing the baton from government to industry, via the Construction Industry Council (CIC).  These next steps are to embed inclusive design into education and training for built environment professionals at all levels.

The BEPE vision is that every newly qualified built environment professional will have the skills and knowledge to deliver accessible and inclusive buildings, places and spaces; that students will learn the skills that make inclusive design second nature; that educators will inspire students to acquire the know-how, confidence and commitment to make inclusion the norm not the exception and; that professionals will integrate the principles of inclusive design into all projects.

The government has entrusted CIC, as the umbrella body for the professional institutions, with the task of broadening the engagement of industry in BEPE’s objectives and of raising awareness of the need to achieve an inclusive environment, through its current diversity, education and training projects, and its work streams.

They will be achieved by the professional institutions implementing their inclusive design education and training commitments; by assisting the higher education (HE) sector to improve the student and educator approach to inclusive design education; by providing in-kind support to the Royal Society of Arts to run the Inclusive Cities Student Design Award in 2016/17; by encouraging the professional institutions, the HE sector, and others to develop additional educational resources for undergraduates, postgraduates and practitioners; by encouraging members to integrate BEPE project initiatives with initiatives being undertaken to implement the Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) Inclusive Environments Action Plan; by promoting the Disability Confident campaign among its members and with employers in the construction industry to become disability confident and; by putting in place arrangements to enable the BEPE project to be sustained in future years.

As part of its remit CIC has undertaken to facilitate quarterly meetings of the BEPE Project Board and report progress to the Minister for Disabled People twice in 2016/17 and to the Paralympic Legacy Advisory Group as required.

CIC plans for the BEPE project going forward include a new Inclusive Environments Award to be presented at the Construction Industry Summit Dinner at Grange St Paul’s Hotel in Central London on 20 September. This new award will select a winner from among existing award winners for exceptional and inspired inclusive design in the built environment.

Author: Construction Industry Council

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