Sparks Programme participants 2022

The Sparks Programme is an iniatitive designed to break down barriers in the workplace and create more inclusive cultures by giving opportunities to under-represented groups.

We are so proud to welcome this first group of participants on this journey with us. Here you can find out from them why they chose to apply and be a part of this barrier-breaking course. Read on to learn about Keeley Tye, Diana Manuel, Alex De Araujo, Rose Dunkley and Denise Bridgeman.

Keeley Tye

Metropolitan Police Service

A profile image of Keely smiling at the camera. She is wearing a black fleece.

Why did you apply for the Sparks Programme?

I have been fortunate to have a career doing the job I have always dreamt of.

I grew up around a time when Operation Trident was formed, and I remember that vividly. As I grew up, I became more aware of my own heritage and wanted to be in a role where I could try and make a real tangible difference.

But I am also acutely aware that the uniform I wear is one that symbolises deep rooted racial injustice and inequality for many communities. I joined all those years ago to be part of the change, but now I need to be at the forefront of change because we have such a long way to go.

What do you hope to gain from this experience?

Sometimes it is hard to believe that things can and will get better. But I don’t underestimate the role we all have to play in this, and I know that I can do more to lead the way for others, not just those I work with but everyone.

This is an amazing opportunity for me to gain the experience and skills needed to support myself, and those around me, to be the best they can be. To really embrace inclusion and stand up to inequality and injustice.

What are you most looking forward to in the Sparks Programme?

All of it! I am really looking forward to meeting new people, hearing other people’s experiences and gaining new perspectives.  I am excited to learn ways that I can support others to be the best they can be, and hopefully show a more humble side of policing. I work with some truly inspirational people, but I know first-hand that the uniform we wear can be a big barrier to having conversations and building trust. Conversation is key to everything, and I am so looking forward to it.

Diana Manuel

DEFRA

A profile picture of Diana. She is wearing a white ribbed jumper, and has long hair, she is smiling at the camera.

Why did you apply for the Sparks Programme?

I applied because it’s the perfect opportunity to kick-start my career in inclusion and diversity.

The fact that it is a sponsored programme made my decision to apply even easier because it meant that I would not have to worry about funding it.

Lastly, from looking on the Inclusive Employers website I was impressed with their work, and I knew this would be a great place for me to get the support and knowledge I need to progress in I&D.

What do you hope to gain from this experience?

I hope the Sparks Programme will help me grow personally and professionally. I am excited to develop my current skills by working with others and have the chance to see some glimpses of what my future career path will look like.

What are you most looking forward to in the Sparks Programme?

I am really looking forward to collaborating with the team, learning and growing my skills. I am excited to start my career in I&D!

Alex De Araujo

Greene King Ltd

Profle shot of Alex smiling at the camera. He is wearing a dark blue shirt and standing against a navy blue background.

Why did you apply for the Sparks Programme?

There are two factors that motivated me to apply:

  • The opportunity to understand how I can become a better leader that promotes inclusion and diversity within my immediate team, and amongst peers.
  • To influence how we shape the I&D culture in Greene King – it surprises me that the senior I&D leaders are mainly from a white background.

What do you hope to gain from this experience?

I feel that I always have to prove myself and work harder than others so I am hoping to improve my confidence, as well as gain a better understanding on how to promote I&D.

What are you most looking forward to in the Sparks Programme?

Gaining knowledge that I can put to good use and meeting other people that are on a similar journey to me.

Rose Dunkley

UNISON

A profile image of Rose smiling at the camera with her arms folded close to her body. She is wearing a yellow top and has glasses on.

Why did you apply for the Sparks Programme?

My colleagues encouraged me to apply after I was sent a link to the programme. I’d recently completed the Garrett Anderson Programme, which gave me the confidence to do more.

What do you hope to gain from this experience?

I hope to become more aware of my own differences, as well as those of others. 

I want to gain enough knowledge, so that I can confidently raise the same level of awareness in others. 

My colleagues and I, who identify as Black, started a Race Equality Group. As part of that, we ran a session at an employee conference about what it was like to be Black at work. We hope to build on this and I’m hoping this course will help.

What are you most looking forward to in the Sparks Programme?

I am looking forward to learning new things and being able to share that knowledge with friends, family and colleagues. I have made a start sharing my own personal experiences with colleagues but would like to be able to understand the difficulties others might face.

Denise Bridgeman

Warner Bros. Discovery

Why did you apply for the Sparks Programme?       

I think Inclusive Employers offer fantastic inclusion and diversity resources and the Sparks Programme was highly recommended to me.

I have lived experiences and have always been very interested in I&D and its importance is highlighted more than ever now. I want to learn so much more about it and make a difference in my little part of the world.

What do you hope to gain from this experience?

I am very involved in the DEI strategy at work. I want to be well equipped with the right tools and skills to enable me to contribute and be instrumental in making lasting changes in my workplace and personal life.

What are you most looking forward to in the Sparks Programme?

Being exposed to the different aspects of the course, learning from it, growing, empowering myself and others, creating an impact and a ripple effect. A whole new world is about to open up and I am excited about the opportunities it will present!

Thank you so much to the Sparks Programme 2022 intake for sharing your motivations for taking part! Learn more about the Sparks Programme and what motivated Inclusive Employers to set it up.