Bola Abisogun OBE FRICS
Bola pursued a career in construction against his parents best wishes in seeking to develop his ‘natural ability’ with all things construction. A straight A-student, he went on to gain a degree in Quantity Surveying & Construction Management, graduating in 1994 as the first black student to achieve a Double-First Class with Honours at the University of Wolverhampton. During his time as an undergraduate [1991 – 94] Bola found that he had to work ‘ten times as hard’ AND often alone having experienced, first-hand, the ‘culturally insensitive’ and at times ‘discriminatory’ culture present within the UK construction industry. He qualified in 1999 and is committed to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors [RICS] where he remains a licensed APC Assessor, nurturing the next generation of aspiring Chartered Quantity Surveyors and a member of the London Regional Board.
A Fellow of Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors [RICS], Bola was appointed as Chair of the Equality & Human Rights Commissions’ in 2010 to lead the Construction Leadership and Diversity Forum [CLDF] developed in response to the EHRC Inquiry “Race Discrimination in the UK Construction Industry”. Bola’s principal objective is to promote the construction sector / surveying profession and increase the retention of ethnic minorities, active within sector / profession, in the UK. He currently Chairs a unique, pan-London project called Moving on Up (MoU), a multi-million pound initiative supported by the (Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan) and jointly funded by Trust for London and the City Bridge Trust. Phase 2 of the MoU initiative is focussing on ‘Employer Engagement’ across three specific sectors
- Digital / Technology; and
Bola’s long term aspiration is to positively influence UK public and private sector policy on ‘diversity of thought’ where opportunities, across the construction sector, in particular are premised upon individual talent and capability. To address the current and longstanding imbalance(s) across the sector, Bola established the first RICS network for BAME surveyors called DiverseCity Surveyors ‘DCS’ [back in 2006], and with full corporate support from RICS was launched ‘formally’ at RICS HQ in October 2017. DCS continues to grow from strength to strength – where ‘difference is both celebrated and empowered through professional excellence’
As a previous Non-Executive Director / Trustee of Construction Youth Trust ‘CYT’ [see here]; Bola is keen to ensure that young people continue to view the construction sector as an aspirational place to start a career. As part of his role on the EHRC Enquiry back in 2010, having successfully cultivated and novated the FIR Agenda [Fairness Inclusion and Respect] under its current administrator, the CITB, working alongside the Chartered Surveyors Training Trust ‘CSTT’ [see here], Bola is focused on promoting the Surveying profession and establishing clear paths to success for young people, with a particular focus on those from non-traditional and BAME backgrounds, with little or no knowledge of what the surveying profession has to offer.
In recognition of his well documented efforts, Bola was awarded the OBE, a Queens Honour, for Services to Diversity and to Young People in the Construction Industry in the 2019 New Years Honours List [published on 28th December 2018].
Congratulations Bola – well deserved.