We have brought together our partners from across the skills system to form an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group. The group will help us in reaching young people from all backgrounds and giving them the best start in work and life.

The group, which is made up of representatives from education, businesses and young people who have benefitted from our work, will meet regularly to help increase engagement with our development programmes amongst underrepresented groups.

It has been developed in response to the ‘Championing Difference for a Better Workforce’ research report by The Social Innovation Partnership. Working together, members will aim to address and remove the barriers and challenges identified through the research that prevent young people from accessing our development programmes.

The first priorities that the group will be focusing on are:
• engaging young people and enabling equity
• growing awareness of the group’s mission and engaging more partners to drive positive change
• raising awareness, knowledge and understanding of good equity, diversity and inclusion practices

The group’s members are:
• Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann OBE, CEO, WorldSkills UK
• Marion Plant, CEO, North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College
• Jo Maher, Principal, Loughborough College
• Yvonne Kelly, Principal, Barking & Dagenham College
• Clare Howard, CEO, Natspec
• Sharon Blyfield, Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers, Coca Cola Europe
• Paul Fitzpatrick, Senior Manager, Toyota
• Susannah Lawson, CEO, OneFile
• Elizabeth Forkuoh, The Gleneagles Hotel, Coleg Sir Gar
• John Sweeney O’Hara, Senior Learner Engagement Officer New College Lanarkshire
• Jason Holt, CEO, Holts Group

Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann OBE, Chief Executive, WorldSkills UK said:
“We are ambitious to keep pushing for change, and we know that we can’t do it alone. This group will be a critical friend to support and challenge us to drive change.

“We are driven by the knowledge that raising the bar and widening the gate are not mutually exclusive. Working with our partners we can help ensure that more young people get access to the benefits of our skills programmes and training to achieve higher standards to help them succeed in work and life.

“The make-up of the group is also inclusive, including 50 per cent women, over a quarter who are BAME, members who identify as LGBT+ and have different faiths, and representation of learners with learning difficulties and disabilities, which means we can take a holistic but targeted approach with a bias to action to help drive further partnership working across the sector.”

Marion Plant, Deputy Chair, WorldSkills UK and CEO, North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College said:
“I have seen first-hand how WorldSkills UK’s development programmes have transformed the technical skills and confidence of young people, which is why at NWSLC we encourage as many of our students to take part as possible. I’m excited to be working together with others across the sector, with the joint mission of reaching more young people from all backgrounds and helping to give them the skills needed to create stronger and brighter futures.”

If you would like to learn more about our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group, please contact us.

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