Construction industry proud to display its softer side

Global infrastructure company Webuild (previously Salini Impregilo) operates in almost 50 countries – including Australia – and employs 35,000 people from 110 national backgrounds on some of the world’s biggest and most complex infrastructure projects.

For Milan-based Webuild, which traces its origins to 1906, these are more than statistics.


For us diversity is not just a policy. Diversity is in our DNA. Our respect and regard for people from diverse backgrounds is part of our physiological make-up. We make no distinction on the basis of race, religion or culture because we are exposed to diversity every day and we celebrate it


This year, for the third successive year, Webuild was named Italy’s “Best Employer of Choice” among young Italian engineering graduates.

The company views its investment in recruiting and training young talent as integral to its growth, but it is also a social responsibility that it feels very strongly about as one of the world’s leading infrastructure companies.

Gian Luca Grondona, Group HR & Organisation Director at Webuild, says the recognition as an employer of choice “brings us enormous satisfaction”.

We are investing a lot in programs, whether they be in-house initiatives to help develop the careers of our people or promoting ourselves in the market and hiring new recruits: whether they be juniors who are in need of training or seniors with more experience”, he says.


As a company with a global presence, Webuild attracts a lot of interest from graduates who share our mission to support and improve people’s quality of life in many countries


In 2019, for the third consecutive year, Webuild was also named as among Italy’s five best places to work by HR consulting group Cesop.

Webuild has brought its focus on inclusivity to Australia.

In Perth, the company, with joint-venture partner NRW Holdings, is building the Forrestfield-Airport Link, an 8.5 kilometre light rail transit line that will link the eastern suburbs to the airport and the Perth city centre. The $1.86 billion project has created 2000 direct jobs, among whom are workers from 27 countries. Women make up 16% of the workforce.

Earlier this year Webuild made the ABC news – for all the right reasons – when one of its employees, site supervisor Korey Penny, was featured.

Penny, a 31-year-old Noongar man, had unsuccessfully applied for more than 20 jobs when he was released from prison after serving time for drug offences. Ngalla Maya, a Perth employment service that helps Aboriginal people who have served time to find employment, introduced Penny to Salini Impregilo. Penny is now a supervisor on the Forrestfield-Airport Link project.

When Webuild won the $5.1 billion Snowy 2.0 contract to expand the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme, Marco Assorati explains that “the first people we met in Cooma [where the project is based] was the local Indigenous people. In each of our Australian projects, the first people we meet with are the Indigenous people, for the simple reason that we are going to occupy their land for the duration of the project”, he says.

Engagement with local Indigenous communities also extends to recruitment and identifying opportunities to do business with Aboriginal-owned businesses.


Focus on inclusivity to Australia: Korey Penny's case

Find out more

Salini Impregilo wins Snowy 2.0

Find out more

Joint-venture partner NRW Holdings

Find out more

Melbourne-based civil construction company Winslow Constructors has been in business for more than 30 years and CEO Trevor Lockwood says the company has strived to be a responsible corporate citizen by “giving back” to the community.

When we extend our business into a new region we make it a priority to connect with the local community”, Lockwood says.

In the Victorian regional city and surrounds of Geelong, where Winslow’s presence has been growing in recent years, the company has become progressively engaged with community support services and their activities. Winslow was recently the major sponsor of the Run4Geelong community fun-run to raise funds for the regional health service Barwon Health.


Our support for Run4Geelong is an example of our on-going and growing involvement with the Geelong community. We are involved in several major projects that employ many local people from the Geelong area and we couldn’t think of a better way to support our employees and their families and the people of Geelong


Being active at a community level also means reaching out to Indigenous communities.

Winslow is playing a key role in Stage 2 of the $323.7 million Echuca–Moama Bridge Project, the largest ever infrastructure project in northern Victoria, constructing four flood relief bridges, a new roundabout, a new service road and a new shared walking and cycling path.

Recently, the elders of the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation, senior Winslow management and representatives of the Victorian Government gathered for a ceremony to acknowledge the partnership formed as part of the works project.

The ceremony included the unveiling of artwork by celebrated artist Clive “Bidja” Atkinson, a descendant of the Yorta Yorta, which is used for the fencing around the site compound.

 “The artwork represents our respect and recognition for the Yorta Yorta people, the traditional owners of the land that Winslow is reshaping, and the sacred nature of the land on which this important project is being built”.

Winslow also has a partnership with mental health not-for-profit organisation Beyond Blue to highlight the high incidence of mental health issues in the construction industry.

Mental health issues are prominent within the construction industry so as a company that cares for our workforce and our industry, we are determined to make a difference”, Lockwood says. 


Construction workers generally find it difficult to talk about mental health struggles. By shining a light on this issue we hope to create an environment in which people feel comfortable and supported to turn to their friends and colleagues and organisations like Beyond Blue for support


Simon Cock, Managing Director of Melbourne-based ACE Contractors Group, says being a family business has underscored the importance that the business places on inclusivity, diversity and employee wellbeing.

ACE was started by Graham Cock – Simon’s father – in 1971. The early business was involved in house excavations, block clearing and agricultural contracting. Today, ACE is an integrated contractor with clients around Australia in the civil, infrastructure, electrical, landscape, water and environment sectors.

From the very beginning it was my father’s view that we had a responsibility to employ people irrespective of where they came from. It remains our ethos to give people a go in life, to give them an opportunity to flourish”, Cock says.

ACE’s fiercely loyal workforce of 265 full-time employees includes people from 40 different ethnic backgrounds. ACE has 10 engineering graduates, recruited over two intakes in the past 12 months, three of whom are women. The company has Indigenous employees and “a couple of female construction workers” – and on both counts is “pushing for a lot more” – as well as employees who were previously long-term unemployed.

ACE was named “Employer of Choice” in the 2016 Australian Business Awards. Although a mid-size company its range of employee services rivals its biggest Tier-1 peers.

ACE’s offering includes on-site classes in English as a second language, weekly mindfulness sessions and access to free counselling services.


Being a family business has shaped our relationship with our employees. There’s a genuine care for the wellbeing of each individual and their families. We’re a growing business but our focus on the health and wellbeing of our employees will remain. Quite apart from being a competitive advantage it’s also the right thing to do


Construction industry proud to display its softer side

Information material - Bridge project over the Strait of Messina
(*) Required information