Inclusive Achievements: Continuous Professional Development for Inclusion and Diversity Professionals

This week marks nine years of Inclusive Employers! As part of our celebrations, we asked our wonderful directors and founders, to share their greatest achievements of the journey so far. First up, we hear from Claire Williams. We hope you enjoy these reflections and learning more about us.

So many amazing experiences – wonderful clients and colleagues, delegates experiencing light bulb moments, working with employers to create truly inclusive cultures. It is a really tricky decision to identify the one thing over the years that I am most proud of. Ask me tomorrow and the answer may be different… perhaps that in itself is something to be proud of – too many moments to choose from!

Today, however, I’m going with a process that has unfolded over the last three to four  years as we have put in place proper continuous professional development for our Diversity and Inclusion, Learning and Development and Network Lead colleagues…and all those who love the subject and want to learn or create a new career!

The role of Inclusion and Diversity manager is often filled by passionate, emotionally intelligent people who care deeply about social justice but they have a host of professional backgrounds: HR, Comms, Engineering, senior manager, police officer, project manager. It’s a long list and historically these people have had to navigate a career without a specific qualification, unless they do a Masters. Some colleagues are “dropped” into the role with no experience – and to be honest, little knowledge of the role – but do bring a personal tool kit of finding solutions, influencing others and caring.

When Inclusive Employers achieved the status of CMI Approved Centre in 2018, we were able to start delivering degree level qualifications to support these amazing people. We thought we might deliver two  or three  programmes a year but they have been running monthly, with almost 100 people having either completed or in the process of completing this our accredited Inclusion and Diversity Qualifications. In 2020, we were going to go nationwide with plans to deliver in eight  cities including Belfast, Edinburgh, Bristol as well as London, Manchester and Leeds, where we already operate. Our nationwide plan has become a wholly online classroom and students in Edinburgh are joining students from Bristol in our zoom classroom!

The feedback on our online classroom has been wonderful! We have also started delivering a new two-day programme for Network Leads, available as an in-house or open course.

These learning opportunities really have changed people’s Inclusion and Diversity game. Our qualifications equip them with the knowledge, skills and tools necessary for them to make huge change. So on reflection, the thing I am most proud of is all those students who took a leap back into education, opened their minds, shared their successes and problems, had a great time in the process of learning and created more diverse and more inclusive workplaces.