Taking steps to recruit a more diverse workforce

Published Friday 6 March 2020 at 11:44

One of the borough’s largest social housing providers is reviewing its recruitment practices after taking part in a programme to help local workforces become more diverse.

Daniel McKay, a Recruitment Advisor for Together Housing Group, took part in the Workforce Integration Ambassador programme, delivered by Blackburn College.

He joined representatives from other Blackburn with Darwen employers to receive diversity and inclusion training which would benefit their organisations, and give them opportunities to network and share best practice.

The training focused on strategies to recruit, retain and develop a diverse workforce, covering such topics as unconscious bias and the Disability Confident scheme.

The Workforce Integration Ambassadors were recruited from public and private sector organisations of all sizes across the borough.

Since completing the programme, Daniel McKay has worked with colleagues at Together Housing to develop the company’s diversity agenda in the area of recruitment and retention of staff from diverse backgrounds. This includes raising the profile of the wide range of job opportunities available to local people.

Daniel McKay said:

The Workforce Integration Ambassador programme has helped support our ambitions to become a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Most importantly, it has connected us to other local organisations to allow us to provide a joined-up approach across the borough to maximise prosperity and opportunity for all areas of the local community.

Together Housing has also started to carry out diversity focus groups including focus groups within local communities. The company is also in the process of surveying internal views on disability, gender, sexuality and the perceived views of opportunities for people from a non-white British heritage background. The information captured from this research will be used to develop the organisation’s recruitment strategy and ensure Together Housing appeals to a broad group of individuals through a range of diverse employment opportunities.

The company is also linking with other local employers and Workforce Integration Ambassadors to highlight employment opportunities to the borough’s communities. An apprenticeship event is planned to specifically target those sectors of society that are underrepresented within Together Housing Group. Other Workforce Integration Ambassadors will be invited to participate at the event, promoting their own employment opportunities.

The Workforce Integration Ambassador programme is one of many projects being delivered on behalf of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and funded through the borough’s social integration programme. Our Community, Our Future is a three year programme which brings together a wide range of local partners working together to strengthen relationships between people from different backgrounds, to help the borough become a place where diversity is valued, and where people’s faith and cultures are understood and respected.

Councillor Mohammed Khan, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, said:

Providing opportunities for people to come together naturally is a key part of our social integration strategy. The Workforce Integration Ambassador project is a vital part of our plans to bring people from different backgrounds together in workplaces across the borough, and I’m pleased that representatives from a variety of employers have completed the Workforce Integration Ambassador course.

The Workforce Integration Ambassador programme is part of Together Housing’s new approach to equality and diversity, which began with the appointment of a Board Member of Diversity two years ago. Michelle Park, who recently won Board Member of the Year at the National Centre for Diversity Awards, has pledged to drive a more inclusive approach to new developments and tailoring services to tenants by ensuring individual needs and requirements are recorded and acted upon.

The organisation has also teamed up with Progress Housing Group and Housing Diversity Network to pioneer Achieving and Harnessing Board Diversity. The project, which aims to unlock the potential of future leaders by championing diversity, was highly commended in the Housing Heroes Awards and the 24 Housing Diversity in Housing Awards.

To find out more about employment opportunities with Together Housing, visit www.togetherhousing.co.uk/careers.

For more information about the Our Community, Our Future social integration programme, visit the Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council website.

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