The University of Hertfordshire is an incredibly diverse institution; we are very proud of the richness in experience, perspective and outlook that our students have, and we are keen to ensure that we provide them with information about career opportunities that are accessible and welcoming to people they can identify with. As such, we are making a conscious effort to work with employers and alumni who reflect our student body. It can really inspire a student to enter a profession on graduation or to aspire to work with a particular organisation if they can see people already in those roles who followed a similar path or share similar characteristics with them. You may be familiar with the term “positive action” from the Equality Act 2010; this is the introduction of measures to eliminate or reduce discrimination, or its effects. Proportionate measures may be put in place where there is evidence of disadvantage, different needs or under-representation in relation to one/some of the protected characteristics. When we approach you for a member of staff to represent your organisation at a Careers Fair, we may ask you to volunteer a member of your team that has a particular protected characteristic, usually because that characteristic is under-represented in the profession. This could be women in engineering or men in primary teaching for example, or because many of our students have a protected characteristic not typically visible in that profession or industry such as Black British civil servants or sports coaches with a disability. We appreciate that it might not always be possible, but we hope that where it is, you will help us to make it happen. After all, a diverse workforce that represents the clients and customers your organisation works with is a key component of business success, and we hope that by working with us in a diversity positive manner you will see the immense benefits to your team and your business.
Diversity matters but action matters more
Judith Baines, Head of Careers and Employment and Sarah Flynn, Associate Director of Learning and Teaching have recently published an article in the summer issue of The Student Employer (Institute of Student Employers publication) which discusses diversity and the work the Careers and Employment team have been doing with both students and employers to reduce the BAME attainment gap.