Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) are vital considerations for all organisations, but even more so for further education providers. The sector aims to drive social mobility and improve lives, so it is vital that learners from all backgrounds are treated fairly and are given the best chance of success.
Training and Continued Professional Development (CPD) are some of the tools that organisations can use to improve EDI within their workplace.
Professional development can provide staff with the knowledge and strategies needed to support their colleagues and learners effectively.
Networks, webinars and training sessions
EDI and related topics are regular themes in the Skills and Education Group’s events programme, which is designed to support further education staff.
This year, for example, we launched a new Action for Diversity and Inclusion Network, which combines our previous EDI and LGBTQ+ Networks. The new network promotes social inclusion and provides guidance for tackling all forms of discrimination within education. It is particularly relevant to staff with responsibility for equality matters and for improving the progression and career opportunities of staff and learners.
Sam Hope has delivered many of our LGBTQ+ networks and webinars. A writer, person-centred therapist, and professional EDI trainer, Sam specialises in minority stress, trauma and gender. Commenting on the importance of using professional development to promote EDI, they said:
We know that people under pressure and in stressful times can lose their empathy or revert to older and more simplistic ways of thinking that were ingrained in our society. EDI becomes increasingly important at these times to help us regain our empathy and update our thinking, ensuring that diverse staff and learners are able to fully participate and contribute, leading to the vibrant organisations we deserve.
Our first Action for Diversity and Inclusion Network, held in May 2022, provided practical tips and examples for how to proactively drive an EDI agenda in the aftermath of the pandemic, which has widened the gap between the advantaged and the disadvantaged.
The network featured input from Sam Coles, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Birmingham Metropolitan (BMet) College, who shared progress on measures taken by BMet in their efforts to become an anti-racist college.
Our EDI events frequently receive positive feedback from attendees. Comments from past sessions include the following:
“Gained a better understanding of language and terminology…considerations about assertiveness, internalised oppression, reverse mentoring, cognitive dissonance. This will be used to inform other staff within the organisation and in setting up CPD and guidance.”
Skills and Education Group Event Delegate
This academic year, Skills and Education Group has introduced a new EDI professional development opportunity as part of our bespoke training offer.
Our Diversity Mentoring programme has been designed to create awareness of one’s own cultures and differences, focusing on individualism and collectivism whilst increasing awareness of stereotypes and taboo subjects.
Those taking part in the programme undergo training around all protected characteristics with an emphasis on positive action and skills development. The training enables individuals to engage through probing questioning and problem-solving techniques, so that they can then transfer and apply these skills within the workplace.
This programme is aimed at all further education staff and is delivered by Rajinder Mann OBE DL. Rajinder is an expert in EDI training and has over 30 years’ experience in education. A former Chief Executive of the Network for Black and Asian Professionals and former Executive Director of the Black Leadership Initiative, she is passionate about social justice in the workplace.
For more information about this and many other bespoke training programmes, visit our Training page.
Find out more
To find out more about our professional development services, get in touch with our team via firstname.lastname@example.org.
8 February 2024
Robins Wood House
Robins Wood Road
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Network
29 February 2024
Robins Wood House
Robins Wood Road
7 February 2024
Birmingham Metropolitan College (BMet)
Matthew Boulton Campus