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MyKindaFuture event takes lead on diversity and inclusion

MyKindaFuture’s Taking the Lead on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) breakfast event was held this morning, 22nd June, and brought together senior leaders to inspire, create impact and educate. The breakfast was held in the creative setting of the Shakespeare’s Globe, London. 

MyKindaFuture’s mission is to give every young person equal power and opportunity to shape their future. MyKindaFuture’s Dee Saker and Will Akerman welcomed 40 senior leaders across HR, recruitment, CSR and D&I from businesses who are all working to create a more diverse talent pool. 

The speaker line up consisted of HR and D&I leaders from Cisco, Mercer, Reed Smith, the InterLaw Diversity Forum, Sodexo, Nestlé and the Skills Funding Agency who all shared best practice, case studies and personal stories. Dee thanked speakers for their on-going progressive work in the field and led a lively discussion forum. 

To kick off the morning Daniel Simons, apprenticeships engagement manager at Education and Skills Funding Agency explored the policy landscape of D&I and apprenticeships. Simons shared insight into how employers are maximising the value of the Apprenticeship Levy (“the levy”) and how the levy and social mobility work together. He also referenced the positive work that is happening with the Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network.

The power of inclusion networks was a focus of for both, Amolak Dhariwal at Sodexo and Daniel Winterfeldt, partner at Reed Smith and co-founder of the InterLaw Diversity Forum which has an LGBT Network, a BAME Network as well as various projects which focus on cultural change and multiple identities or intersectionality. 

Dhariwal leads The Origins Network at Sodexo, which aims to drive the BAME agenda and highlights the importance of having a BAME network for employees. Dhariwal expressed great passion for young talent as he has now taken on a role of governor at a local academy in Birmingham, to encourage the understanding and development of the BAME agenda. A recent report by the University of Leicester showed that ethnic minority students in Britain – such as Chinese, Indian, Black African and Bangladeshi students – have significantly improved their grades over the last two decades and are now excelling at GCSE level.  

Winterfeldt explored how inclusive networks can help career progression, and discussed research from his Apollo Project “Career Progression in the Legal Sector” report from 2012, currently being updated for 2017 across all strands of diversity and social mobility. Those groups which are lower paid or who did not have an elite education are the same groups that are less satisfied with their seniority, less likely to believe that their workplace is well-managed and less likely to believe that achievement and reward are fairly assessed.

Christine Hodges at Mercer and Ellie Ulrich, Cisco highlighted how D&I can be at the forefront of apprenticeship and graduate programmes, and shared how they successfully engage and recruit diverse talent. Ulrich, a former apprentice herself, leads on the apprenticeship programme for the UK and Ireland. She gave practical insights into Cisco’s best practice on attracting, recruiting and - importantly - retaining diverse apprentices including BAME and LGBT+. 

The high-energy line up finished off with first hand evidence from Haleema Baker-Mir, a current commercial apprentice at Nestlé. Baker-Mir shared some honest insight into why she chose an apprenticeship, what being a young person in a big company feels like and why business should engage with talent early. 

The open discussion session explored the impact a diverse talent pipeline can have on leadership and business success, how early employers should engage with students in order to make a difference, and what employers and universities are doing to welcome more diverse intakes and encourage authenticity from applicants. 

Attendees left the session with a clear message of the importance of attracting, recruiting and promoting talent through early careers engagement and the impact this can have in the future on more diverse leadership. MyKindaFuture launched its latest Taking the Lead on Diversity & Inclusion report at the event which gives up-to-date insight on the latest D&I trends in education and the workplace, including:

·         The business case for a more ethnically diverse workforce is strong. Why Diversity Matters – a detailed study by McKinsey in 2015 – found that of the 366 public companies analysed, those in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above national industry medians. 

·         627,000 young people aged 16–24 were unemployed in December 2015 – February 2016 

·         62% of millennials have admitted they go back into the closet when they enter the workplace 

·         Nearly one in five people of working age (7 million, or 18.6%) in Great Britain has a disability 

·         Businesses in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians 

A write up of the event and a copy of the report is available on the MyKindaFuture website.  

William Akerman, founder & MD, MyKindaFuture commented, "Earlier this year, we decided to embrace all aspects of inclusion – such as gender, disability, BAME and LGBT+ as well as social mobility – to underpin our business pillars and the work we do with our clients in supporting diverse young people. We are here to make a change, have an impact and create opportunities for young people in the workplace across the UK." 

Winterfeldt added, “Key to our objectives at Reed Smith and the InterLaw Diversity Forum is to support the pipeline of diverse talent through from recruitment, as well as to ensure support of that talent for retention and advancement of the best talent in the legal sector and beyond.”

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