Breaking Down the Barriers: lip service to equality or long term business case

5 November, 2015 | 17:30 - 19:30

Breaking Down the Barriers: lip service to equality or long term business case

About this event

We’re excited to announce that this topical event will be chaired by Joyce Watson AM, Chair of the All Party Group on Construction.

Four speakers, from a contractor, a client, a consultant and academia, will explain how issues of respect, fairness and inclusion are being addressed within their organisation.

The four speakers:

  • Cath Schefer - UK Managing Director, MWH
  • Professor David Kennedy - Deputy Director of the Cardiff School of Engineering and professor of Structural Engineering, Cardiff University
  • Alun Davies - Business Executive, Alun Griffiths Contractors Ltd
  • Dawn Turner – Head of Pension Fund Management, Environment Agency

The speakers will give presentations explaining how issues of respect, fairness and inclusion are being addressed within their organisation, and how they intend to deal with the opportunities or problems presented by a diverse workforce.

The event is being kindly sponsored by:

  • Alun Griffiths (Contractors) Ltd
  • Atkins
  • Costain/ABC
  • Welsh Government

David Rowlands, Chair ICE Wales Cymru will give the welcome.
Cynnal Cymru (Sustain Wales) is co-hosting this event.


Dawn Turner

Head of Pension Fund Management, Environment Agency Pension Fund

Dawn Turner
Dawn Turner

Dawn is a qualified accountant with many years' experience in senior finance roles. She has led a number of complex projects involving the creation of new national bodies, mergers and outsourcing, and liaison across Government departments and private sector providers.

Dawn's considerable commercial experience in the private sector started early with a key role in the flotation of Laura Ashley. Dawn became Head of Pension Fund Management in 2013, she is also the national co-lead for the Women's Network in the Environment Agency.


Prof David Kennedy

Deputy Director (Staff), Professor of Structural Engineering, Cardiff School of Engineering, Cardiff University

Prof David Kennedy
Prof David Kennedy

David Kennedy graduated from Cambridge in 1978 and obtained his PhD at Cardiff in 1994.

Working for the computer services company Scicon Ltd, he developed Mathematical Programming software and was awarded a BP Venture Research Fellowship in Non-linear Optimization.

In 1983 he was appointed as a Research Associate at Cardiff University. Funded under a collaborative agreement with NASA, he co-ordinated the development of the space frame analysis software BUNVIS-RG. Further collaboration with NASA and British Aerospace led to the development of VICONOPT, a buckling and vibration analysis and optimum design program for prismatic plate assemblies. Both of these programs use exact stiffness analysis based on the Wittrick-Williams algorithm.

He was appointed to a Lectureship in Civil Engineering in 1991, promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2000, Reader in 2005 and Professor in 2009. He has authored 180 publications, supervised 16 PhD students and held Research Council grants on parallel computing, aerospace panel optimization, local postbuckling and mode finding. He has undertaken secondments at NASA Langley Research Center and Airbus UK, the latter funded by a Royal Society Industry Fellowship.

Through the Cardiff Advanced Chinese Engineering Centre, Professor Kennedy has participated for over 20 years in collaborative research projects with leading Chinese universities, including Tsinghua University, Dalian University of Technology and Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

In 2010 he was appointed as a Deputy Director of the Cardiff School of Engineering with responsibility for staff matters and is playing a key role in the establishment of the University's Academic Workload Model.

Joyce Watson

Joyce has firm links with mid and west Wales and has served her community for many years. She has been Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales since May 2007.

Joyce Watson
Joyce Watson

Joyce sits on three committees in the Welsh Assembly: Enterprise and Business; Environment and Sustainability Committee; and Petitions. She chairs the Assembly Cross Party Groups on Construction and Human Trafficking. She also chairs the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Wales branch.

Joyce has been involved in a number of high profile campaigns. In 2010 she published Bordering on Concern, a report on Human Trafficking in Wales. As a result of her campaign work Wales now has an anti-Trafficking co-ordinator. In 2009 she created the Women in Construction network and she continues to work with employers and trade bodies to get more young people and women into the construction industry. Joyce has also enrolled male sports ambassadors for her White Ribbon campaign work to support the fight against domestic violence, an idea that has since been taken up by the Welsh Rugby Union.

Before entering the Assembly, Joyce was leader of the Labour group on Pembrokeshire Council. She was manager of Women's Voice, the Wales Women's National Coalition, and was a senior member of the Wales Gender Budget Group and the NHS Equality Reference Group.

Joyce was educated at Manorbier School, Cosheston School and Cardigan Comprehensive. She has run several businesses including public houses, restaurants and retail outlets in Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.

In 1990 she went to Pembrokeshire College. Then, in 1993, she read Politics at Swansea University, gaining an honours degree.

Joyce's political interests include promoting rural economic renewal – by working to raise workforce skills, reduce youth unemployment and invest in rural businesses. She is married and has three children and one grandson and one granddaughter.

Joyce is a Welsh learner, and her children were all educated in Welsh medium schools.

You can also read Joyce's bio in Welsh

Cath Schefer

Managing Director, UK Consultancy MWH UK Ltd.

Cath Schefer
Cath Schefer

As the Managing Director of the MWH UK consultancy business, Cath is responsible for delivering all programmes, frameworks and contracts in the MWH UK water and energy businesses. Driven by a passion for people and committed to enabling MWH to achieve its purpose of Building a Better World, Cath is leading the UK operation through a renewed focus on delivering exceptional client service.

Cath joined MWH in 1999. She was appointed director for the northwest region in 2008, and was responsible for negotiating and then overseeing the significant AMP5 contract with United Utilities. In January 2010, Cath was appointed the director of design for Europe-Africa. In this role Cath was responsible for re-structuring the Europe-Africa region and setting up a design group with the aim of improving efficiency, consistency and quality of design across the region (and ultimately globally). A large part of her role involved working with her global counterparts in Americas, Asia-Pacific and India to encourage cross regional working and knowledge sharing.

Diverse in her range of skills, Cath has more than 25 years of experience in design and construction of water and wastewater infrastructure projects, having worked for both client and consulting/contracting organisations in the water utility arena. Cath's key skills lie in operational and client management, having been responsible for the successful bidding, mobilisation and management of multimillion pound work programmes and general management/co-ordination of large, multidisciplinary teams.

Cath holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Leeds. She has chartered status and is a fellow with the Institution of Civil Engineers.