Ben Murphy

The winner of the 2017 Verena Winifred Holmes Award is Ben Murphy for promoting the inclusion of the Ben MurphyLGBT+ community within engineering.

Ben has a first-class honours degree in Mechanical Engineering and Arts from the University of Adelaide. He started working for Babcock in their Adelaide office, and transferred to the UK as part of the graduate programme in 2014.

Ben has successfully launched the Pride in Babcock network, and drawn on his own experiences to start an open dialogue throughout the company about LGBT+ issues. He is helping to improve the understanding of where policies can be changed to make them more inclusive whilst aligning the network’s initiatives with the company’s broader Diversity & Inclusion aims. The focus is on behavioural change and promoting positive behaviours, which will ultimately mean that everyone reaches their full potential.

“For LGBT+ people, being yourself at work doesn’t always come easily,” Ben explains. “Most of us have experienced homophobia at some point, and it’s easy to play it safe and withdraw if you’re unsure of your employer’s position on being LGBT+. At Babcock, we’re filling the empty space by taking a stance on this issue. We value our people for who they are.”

The network tackles LGBT+ inclusion on three fronts: Connecting across all sites and business areas; Supporting the LGBT+ community and allies; and Challenging Babcock staff to take action. By fostering open communication, Ben and the members of the network are helping to provide an open platform for different perspectives, and encouraging Babcock to become a fully inclusive organisation. “It is important that we’re not adversarial in our approach. Most of us come to work with the best intentions, but our unconscious biases and knowledge gaps can result in non-inclusive behaviour. Individually, we’re not to blame. Collectively, we’re responsible for addressing the situation.”

He joined the Institution through the Monitored Professional Development Scheme (MPDS) at Babcock which supports young engineers in achieving chartered status. Silvia Boschetto, the Chair of the Institution’s Equality and Diversity Steering Group, proposed Ben for this award. “Ben invited me to be a speaker at the Babcock network launch in Bristol, to talk about what the engineering institutions are doing to increase inclusion and diversity in engineering. I saw the enthusiasm and strong support at all levels for this network something I have rarely seen from the many organisations I have worked with. Although Ben works with a strong team it has been his enthusiasm, perseverance and influencing skills which have ensured success to date. Additionally, Ben values the benefits of including all individuals and understanding supporters' perspectives through engaging with and supporting other inclusive networks inside and outside Babcock.”
“I’m honoured to be recognised with this award,” Ben reflects. “Tremendous efforts were channelled into Pride in Babcock’s development, but this would be for nothing if it wasn’t embraced by the business. I’m immensely proud of the response we’ve had within Babcock, and I’m excited by the future. Pride in Babcock, other networks, and the Professional Institutions can work together to create an engineering profession where everyone thrives.”

Find out more about the Verena Winifred Holmes Award.

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