Two industry groups are to provide £50 000 for a taskforce on women and ethnic minorities in construction, with another £50 000 promised by the DETR.

The Construction Industry Board and the Construction Industry Training Board have agreed to part-fund the group, which is central to construction minister Nick Raynsford’s Respect for People initiative. The taskforce is chaired by John Hobson, head of the DETR’s Construction Directorate.

Two weeks ago, Building reported that the taskforce had cancelled a seminar on race because of a lack of industry funding. CIB chief executive Don Ward said: “We are committed to fully resourcing the next stage of the project. The funding will enable the cancelled seminar to take place.”

The taskforce now has resources to meet firms to discuss how to bring more women and people from ethnic minorities into the industry.

Ward said: “This isn’t about positive discrimination. It is about finding out why women and people from ethnic backgrounds don’t apply to the construction industry.