The 2019 entries for the SA Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC) Steel Awards contained an unprecedented level of diversity. This ranges from building type, size, ownership and construction/property value, from cost-effective to high-end. There has also been enormous diversity reflected in both the aesthetic and functional use of steel in construction: from light steel frame building, to metal roofing and cladding, and the use of heavy structural steel.
The level of diversity this year is also reflected ‘behind-the-scenes’: in terms of age, gender, professional discipline and background of the many and varied role-players – such as the project teams, judging team, voice-over artists, SAISC and sub-divisional team members and event sponsors from all sectors of the South African steel supply chain.
“We are very pleased with the rich and multi-layered diversity we are seeing in the Steel Awards 2019. It reflects the nature of the diverse country we live in, and the fact that people are using steel for a range of purposes to suit their needs,” explains SAISC CEO Paolo Trinchero.
This diversity is also a reflection of the contemporary aims and composition of the SAISC. The SAISC seeks to cultivate innovation and ensure that industry as an entity is future-fit, by promoting inclusive representation and diversity. This objective is also practically demonstrated and embodied by its new Chairperson, Nicolette Skjoldhammer, who is the first woman to chair the board – and in its many female staff and members from steel-related companies all over the country.
“To make the most of South Africa’s human assets, we need to empower people by respecting and appreciating what makes them different. This includes aspects such as gender, age, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education and nationality,” says Skjoldhammer.
In order to position industry for the future of steel, the SAISC is therefore aiming through events such as the annual Steel Awards to create a sense of inclusivity and community; and to resonate with a wider audience, including a broad representation of generational and ethnic groups. Recently, in line with this objective, the Institute adopted the marketing tagline ‘See Yourself in Steel’ to promote cultural and corporate transformation and to foster a strong, ‘future-proofed’ South African steel community.
“The SAISC strives to raise awareness of the key role that steel plays in the life of every individual; and also to encourage South African men and women of all ages to pursue a career in the steel industry,” Skjoldhammer explains.
Trinchero agrees: “The reality of South Africa today, is one of diversity in all walks of life. The SAISC therefore encourages a safe, positive nurturing steel industry where differences are not just tolerated but are valued.
Furthermore, placing value on diversity inevitably leads to inclusion. By promoting a culture of inclusion, the SAISC seeks to make all participants in the steel industry feel respected and valued for who they are as an individual or group.
With the economic constraints that South Africa is currently experiencing, we need to make the most of every individual’s potential in our steel construction industry. Through diversity – effectively highlighted and celebrated at the Steel Awards – and resultant inclusion – the Institute is working to create a more sustainable and prosperous future for our country,” he concludes.