Over the years, Phil Diver has become passionate about gender equity and is now driven by his desire to achieve fairness in the workplace. Yet he has had to undergo some personal challenges to end up where he is.
Starting out in an all-boys school, he was led to believe men were smarter than women. At university, a series of confronting episodes made him doubt this earlier teaching as he noticed his female counterparts being very capable of asking “next-level” questions and demonstrating enviable levels of intelligence. A hard truth needed to be swallowed: he’d been misled.
Since those early years, Phil has become CEO of the Construction Training Centre. One of his most notable achievements has been to pave the way to pay an extra 1% superannuation to all his female employees as well as continuing their full super whilst on maternity leave. Driven by the huge gap in superannuation between men and women at retirement, Phil felt the initiative was justified. His first challenge was to get his organisation and board onside which involved a number of robust discussions. With the support of the board and key sponsor the late Ron Monaghan, the initiative was approved. (Ron was also the driving force behind having the stolen wages for First Nations people repaid by the Queensland government.) However, in order to do so it had to be done lawfully which required arguing the case before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal. QCAT ruled in favour of the Construction Training Centre and the superannuation changes were approved and implemented. At the time, this decision created some media interest in Queensland and the female staff have been enjoying the additional superannuation for over five years.
Prior to this, Phil introduced an accredited breast-feeding room at CTC which has recently celebrated its 10th year. . He admits, “This was one of the harder initiatives to implement as certification by the Breast-Feeding Association of Australia was very stringent perhaps even more so than achieving ISO standards.” For instance, the water needs to be delivered at a consistent temperature. Nonetheless, Phil felt it sent the right message: everyone is valued so well worth the effort
Phil continues to be at the forefront of gender equity today by providing free sanitary products across the precinct under their Caught Short program. The CTC has numerous toilets spread out across the precinct which Phil and his team manage. The idea came up over a “toilet meeting” to discuss the dangerous misuse of the toilets. During the discussion, the important question was asked, “How else can we help our clients?” This led to a number of initiatives, one of which is the Caught Short program which today provides sanitary for anyone who finds themselves…caught short! Another was the transgender inclusive toilet to provide a sense of security and value for those who attend the precinct for training, who may identify as transgender or non-binary
Not all Phil’s initiatives revolve around women. Flexibility in employment is important for all genders in relation to parenting and mental health. The CTC has been a strong advocate of the “Mates in Construction” initiative and managed the grant that led to its establishment. This ground-breaking program raises awareness of suicide issues in the construction sector and provides trained workers across the industry with the skills to identify issues and intervene.
Phil reiterates that it is all about valuing people and being fair. It’s pragmatic business sense. Today when others are struggling to attract and retain their workforces, the Construction Training Centre, led by Phil Diver, is creating an outstanding place to work.