In Rolls-Royce, we are conscious that engineering has a reputation, often unfairly, for having a culture that makes it tough for those that don’t fit the perceived norm. For this reason, we’ve been keen to show support for LGBT+ engineers not just in Rolls-Royce, but more broadly across the engineering sector.

One way we have been doing this is by building a relationship with InterEngineering. InterEngineering is an organisation that aims to connect, inform and empower LGBT+ engineers across the UK, and we’re proud to have been working closely with them since their launch in 2014.

Initially, our involvement was attending talks and workshops as we sought to learn ways in which we could ensure our LGBT+ network, Prism, would be successful. Not only did we learn, but these sessions allowed for crucial networking opportunities as we began to establish relationships with other engineering companies. Building on this, Prism has grown and become successful in its own right and we’re delighted to now be able to offer more to InterEngineering and their members.

Over recent years, we have hosted networking events on behalf of InterEngineering at three of our key UK sites – Derby, Birmingham and Bristol. These events have brought together a mix of engineers from across engineering disciplines, of all ages and experience – from students to senior leaders, such as the Rolls-Royce Group Chief Engineer and Prism co-sponsor, Ian Ritchey. We have found networking events such as these a tremendous way of sharing and learning good practice, and the connections they have created have been invaluable.

More recently, we have provided speakers for InterEngineering events hosted by other companies. In Manchester, Warrick Matthews gave a talk on the role allies play in supporting LGBT+ networks, and as Prism co-sponsor, he is well aware of the importance of this.  In Birmingham, Improvement Manager Sarah Gould shared her experiences of coming out at work and advised others on how to deal with this situation.

InterEngineering co-founder Mark McBride-Wright has since launched EqualEngineers, which seeks to attract more diverse talent into STEM careers. We were keen to continue building our partnership with Mark, so not only have we already attended their Apprenticeship Fairs, but we also sponsored the inaugural EqualEngineers graduate recruitment event.

At Rolls-Royce, as with other engineering companies, innovation is critical to our future success. Studies show a diverse workforce is much more innovative, so the importance of LGBT+ inclusion is absolutely clear to us. But just as importantly, an inclusive environment means employees can be themselves and that in turn results in a lot of benefits – greater productivity and fewer mental health issues to name two. This is why we are supporting both our own LGBT+ colleagues, and InterEngineering.