Mon,11 Oct 2021

Employers and Employment #AntiRacismInAction – Episode 2

#AntiRacismInAction: Employers and Employment with  Grace Haynes,  Amarjit Dhillon and  Robin Ghurbhurun

Episode 2 of 9 BFELG Livestreams #AntiRacismInAction – Making the Most of an Ethnically Diverse Britain, was aired today, Monday 11th October and co-produced by BFELG and FE News

In a poignant and passionate introduction to the Episode, Grace Haynes, Head of People & Culture, Coventry City Council, said ‘Anti-racism means everything to me’. Juxtaposing racism to Covid 19, she also said that we might have to learn to live with the latter, but we must never accept living with racism. She called for collaborative action to fight to ensure that eradicating racism is at the forefront of everything that we do.

The Episode focused on #AntiRacismInAction: Employers and Employment. Co-anchors Gavin O’Meara  (CEO and Head of Digital, FE News) and Stella Ngozi Mbubaegbu CBE, BFELG Executive Member, were in conversation with the featured Guests, Amarjit Dhillon,  Turning Point’s Chief Information Officer also with accountability for Commercial Ventures, and Robin Ghurbhurun, Managing Director, further education and skills at Jisc. 

Turning Point is a leading social enterprise with over 4,500 staff. It provides health and social care services that help  over 100,000 people annually in over 300 locations across England, live they life they want. The organisation’s vision is to constantly find ways to support more people to discover new possibilities in their lives. Amarjit Dhillon belongs to a small group of business leaders brought together by Sir Ken Olisa OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, and Dan Brown, Founder and CEO of Positive Transformation Group. The purpose of the small group is to create cross-industry sector support for the message of Anti- racism in the business community throughout the UK in support of the BFELG’s mission, working alongside Education.  

With a staff of approximately 900, Jisc is the UK higher, further education and skills sectors’ not for profit organisation for digital services and solutions. It champions the importance and potential of digital technologies for UK education and research. Its vision is for the UK to be the most digitally-advanced higher education and research nation in the world.  Jisc also welcomes customers from local government, public sector, non-profits and industry. Robin Ghurbhurun has been an outstanding supporter and advocate of the BFELG from its inception and Jisc as an organisation is also a strong supporter and ally.

Responding to questions, both Guests talked about their personal and respective organisations’ response to ethnic diversity, the steps they are taking to move forward on this agenda, their engagement with the BFELG and how the Corporate and Education sectors can work together. There were interesting observations about why given the ‘business case’ for ethnic diversity in corporate leadership – referencing the McKinsey Report 2020, Diversity wins: How inclusion matters, there appears to be very little progress in this area in UK plc.

Amarjit highlighted the important role of wellbeing practices to address the race agenda and how Turning Point as an employer is applying  these practices in the workplace and with their our own apprentices and are working with training providers to support them to apply the same offering to their schemes. 

Jisc has an interesting approach whereby Diversity & Inclusion and Race Equality are pursued as two separate strands of activity. Robin spoke about challenging staff recruitment, selection and development practice and also shared how the BFELG 10 point plan is being implemented across Jisc.

Watch the Livestream for Amarjit Dhillon and Robin Ghurbhurun’s suggestions for accelerating ethnic diversity in the workplace and their call to action to Employers!