UK Construction Week announces 2021 role model

Christina Riley, senior planner at building contractor Quinn London, has been awarded Role Model of the Year at UK Construction Week.
UKCW Role Model of the Year Winner - Christina Riley Quinn

Christina Riley, senior planner at building contractor Quinn London, has been awarded Role Model of the Year at UK Construction Week (UKCW).

Christina has worked in the construction industry for 30 years for Tier 1 contractors such as Balfour Beatty and Kier, initially in site engineering and management roles, and more recently as a senior planner.

Recognised for her high-profile campaigning work around equality, diversity and inclusion in construction since coming out as transgender in 2014, Christina is a well-known ambassador for STEM careers, LGBTQ+ rights and promotes increased awareness around disability, non-visible disability and neurodiversity too. Christina is co-founder of Building Equality (LGBTQ+ network), Construct-Ability (educating on non-visible disabilities) and EDI Construct (campaigning on diversity and inclusion). She is also a FIR (Fairness, Inclusion and Respect) ambassador with the Supply Chain Sustainability School, supported by the CITB.

The UKCW Role Models awards scheme provides both personal and wider community benefit, offering a student and college contact programme, as well as a public platform to professionals of any age and background. It presents a way for them to network, teach, and share inspiring stories and invaluable experiences of how they came into their career, what it entails, their journey so far, and why they love what they do.

Nathan Garnett, UKCW event director, said: “It was a pretty clear decision. Christina’s career and campaigning filled the judges with pride and inspiration about what is possible in this sector, and how one person can use their story to force an industry to confront its prejudices and misunderstandings. All the UKCW Role Models are inspiring people who have a strong story to tell and can help to attract others into similar roles. They also act as mentors. Previous years’ Role Models have been out visiting schools and meeting young people to encourage them into construction as a rewarding career.

“There can of course only be one winner, but all those shortlisted can be proud of the hard work, dedication and ultimately, the change that they are bringing to the construction industry.”

Christina said: “Culture change is coming. For example, there is greater visibility for women in construction today than there used to be. However, there is still so much more work to do, across additional issues such as ethnicity, disabilities and LGBTQ+ identities. Awards like this raise awareness of the vital importance of inclusion too – the way that more diverse people, sitting in the room, are fully listened to and experience a genuine sense of belonging in this industry.

“We are facing a massive skills shortage and tackling these issues will bring many benefits to business and society. I want to see the day when all people have equal opportunities to progress and to reach the boardroom. It’s a privilege to be able to become a role model for other talented people who can find wonderful careers in construction.”

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