Race Equality Matters is excited to award the Bronze Trailblazer status to HS2!

HS2 remains a pioneer in the drive towards racial equality, and Race Equality Matters’ independent panellists certified the need to celebrate this and recognise them with a bronze trailblazer status. 67% of judges stated that HS2 is the type of organisation they would like to work for, demonstrating the organisation’s inclusive and diverse workplace values. The judges consistently praised the organisation’s action in “raising awareness” and making an “impact”,  and considered the application in its entirety as “strong” and “clear”.

As a strong applicant in our first cohort of Trailblazer applications, HS2 is making genuine steps in tackling racial inequality. The independent judges- all of whom are ethnically diverse- unanimously recognised that HS2 had taken action to tackle race inequality within the organisation. With just 64% of applications being successful in this round, HS2’s action has withstood the rigour necessary to become a Trailblazer. Through this, other organisations can learn and implement this in their own workplace.


Committing to Action, not just Words earned HS2 the Trailblazer Status

HS2 exemplifies that action, not words, are essential when tackling workplace race inequality. Through their REACH (Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage) network, the organisation has implemented action at an institutional level. With judges praising the plethora of activities and actions taken by HS2, this was the strongest area of their application. Within this action, REACH has committed to “a continuous exploration of intersectionality” too. Some of the action HS2 has taken includes:

  • Space for discussion and feedback: Through regular focus groups, HS2’s ethnically diverse employees have attended and led meetings with REACH’s Executive Sponsor, HS2’s CEO to discuss issues they face in the workplace. This is shared with senior leadership and has established HR workstreams to pursue.
  • Opportunities to share lived experience: HS2’s ‘Courageous Conversations’ offer a safe space for ethnically diverse employees to share lived experiences of racism with allies, ensuring their well-being is upheld.
  • Creating awareness on racism: Internal communications have published articles to facilitate education and awareness on racism, collectively receiving over 17,3001,000 views. Allies have also been offered 1:1 support and guidance sessions, as well as the ‘How to be an ally’ training that is provided.
  • Activities and interaction: Alongside events that have been organised by REACH, other activities have been run. This includes ‘Lunch and Learns’ as well as a book club on Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race.
  • External action within the industry: HS2 have worked with organisations, such as Black Professionals in Construction (BPIC) and Muslims in Rail, to encourage diverse people to join the industry.


One judge praised this action, stating:

“Activity in the organisation over 2022 has been strong and consistent including work through the REACH network, courageous conversations and raising awareness through development and promotion of various articles about racial inequality that have had huge impressions/views. The organisation has also held an impressive number of events with internal and external partners exploring intersectionality.


Meaningful Impact from the Trailblazer HS2

To achieve Bronze Trailblazer status, HS2 has also achieved meaningful impact for ethnically diverse employees. Judges praised their impact-driven approach to tackling race inequality, notably the buy-in secured with senior leadership. HS2 informed judges that:

“Through senior leadership commitment, endorsement and buy in with regards the aims and objectives of the network we have overcome a number of challenges.”

Alongside the attainment of senior-leadership support, HS2’s impact also includes:

  • Positive feedback from the staff and REACH network survey found that ethnically diverse colleagues felt “passionate” about working for HS2.
  • Engagement on issues related to racism had significantly increased at all levels of the organisation.
  • The refresh of their race network brought with it “fresh energy” that was more suited to effectively tackling race inequality.


Next Steps from the Trailblazer HS2…

Looking forward, HS2 plan to continue and develop the action they have taken to achieve greater impact for their ethnically diverse staff. They plan to run another book club, due to the success of the initial one, as well as partner with internal teams to address racial disproportionalities. Alongside this, HS2 will conduct a second network survey to tailor their action to ethnically diverse staff requirements.


HS2 and its REACH network have demonstrated commitment and impact for change. Their Bronze Trailblazer status echoes the impact felt by the organisation’s Black, Asian and ethnic minority employees. Celebrating our Trailblazer community will accelerate the change and momentum towards racial equality, through action not words.


Follow HS2’s Lead: Become a Trailblazer


If your organisation is driving change for Race Equality and you can demonstrate

impact, endorsement from ethnic background employees and share future plans; register your interest for the next round of trailblazers.

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