Last updated: 13 October 2021
Our Equality Objectives set out how the University of Gloucestershire is developing a culture that recognises the valuable insight that staff and students from different backgrounds, cultures and experiences bring to the university. They play a key role in supporting the creation of vibrant communities across the university that embrace different views and harness the talents of all.
Our action plan sets out how we intend to meet the needs of individuals as well as embed diversity, equality and inclusion into our day-day activities and decision making.
In line with the Equality Act, and an updated Corporate Strategic Plan, we revised our objectives to ensure they continue to support the university’s strategic priorities and drive the direction of our progress:
We continued to work towards achieving a more diverse community in terms of staff and students. Whilst our black and ethnic minority staff profile has remained the same at 6.5%, we had more success with disability and now 5.8% of staff disclose a disability. Our student profile is more diverse with 20.2% of students disclosing a disability and 12.1% being from a black or ethnic minority.
We built on our pilot with National Star College and their ‘Steps into Work’ supported internship programme, with a further two learners. We had a
learner within the HR Team, for the first time and our Estates Team offered an opportunity for the second year.
The evaluation of our Reciprocal Mentoring Pilot indicated it had been successful for both student and senior leader partners, so we integrated it
into our practice. This Programme sees our home black and ethnic minority students partnered with senior leaders. The partnership enables them to share their lived experiences, as well as gain valuable employability skills and knowledge. Both partners are volunteers. Our Vice Chancellor volunteered along with several members of Council. Given its success we were invited to present a paper at Advance HE’s annual equality and diversity conference in Liverpool and an Open University Symposium on reducing the BAME attainment gap.
Our ‘Call to Action’ Conference last year acted as a catalyst for a number of activities led by officers within the Student Union. The Welfare Officer
organised a Diversity Month during November 2018 incorporating a motivational talk by Musharaf Asghar, ‘Mushy’ (Educating Yorkshire). Our part time BME and International Officers organised the Chinese New Year celebrations distributing red envelopes containing a prayer and a gold, chocolate coin to staff and students. They went on to arrange and deliver a cultural diversity campaign, ‘March Around the World’ in March 2019. Our LGBT+ Student Society hosted an event, ‘Can I Come Out Now’ in collaboration with Cheltenham’s LGBT Partnership as part of LGBT History Month.
We continued to work towards external accreditations to celebrate our successes as well as highlight our areas for development. We progressed our portfolio towards Level 3 of the Disability Confident standard and were successful in gaining recognition as a ‘Going the Extra Mile (GEM) Exemplar Employer’. This accolade recognised our commitment to providing effective opportunities, which enhance employability and life skills, as well as creating a positive impact on the community. We were also successful in securing reaccreditation from the Workplace Wellbeing Charter. This is the national accreditation standard that recognises an organisation’s commitment to improving the lives of those who work there.
In November 2018 the university joined with many other community groups and organisations throughout the UK in celebrating National Inter Faith Week. This was the 8th event we have held at the University in partnership with Cheltenham Inter Faith Group and Cheltenham Borough Council. Our theme was forgiveness, which we explored from the perspective of different faiths and world views. Alongside the event, we staged the powerful F-Word exhibition which contains individual stories of
suffering, loss and trauma and the slow road to forgiveness and healing. The exhibition was on display at our Park Campus for a week and attracted much attention from students and staff.
In February 2019 the Chaplaincy and the LGBT Society teamed up to put on an event for LGBT History month. ‘A time to remember’ included a retelling of the LGBT+ story from the Stonewall Riots 50 years ago, with quiet reflection and simple prayers of lament and celebration.
Colleagues in Student Services developed a tailored induction for our mature students that supported an improved transition into the university and saw an increase in usage of services.
The Equality Team and Student Services developed its social media presence adding a podcast, ‘Talking Inclusion with Anna and Clare’. A student from our School of Creative Industries, John Anderson, volunteered to produce it. It has been well received, with most listeners commenting on the professionalism of its production.
As part of our work with the Institute of Coding, we collaborated with the Tech Talent Charter and National Cyber Security Centre to host an employer diversity event. The morning was packed full of ideas and strategies on driving business growth through diversity. It not only facilitated connections between employers currently working in the space, but provided a great opportunity to learn from each other.
In May 2019 the Your Future Plan team held an all-day event designed to support and empower disabled students and those with mental health difficulties to feel positive about their future career. Students and staff benefited from practical and inspiring workshops, talks from people who have overcome obstacles, and learned about organisations and employers set up to support them.
The keynote speaker for the event was Hayley Mulenda, an author, speaker and advocate for mental health amongst young people and BME groups. Hayley spoke from the heart, with an impassioned talk drawing on her own experiences. Her inspiring talk encouraged students to take practical steps to empower themselves, reassuring them that they weren’t alone in their struggles – and that it’s possible to turn their pain into purpose.
One of our YFP Careers Consultant qualified as a licensed Sprint trainer and, in 2019, led programmes for undergraduate and postgraduate students. Sprint is open to female students of all ages, from all backgrounds and stages in their professional and academic lives. It is designed to help women achieve their goals – and in doing so help put an end to inequality and disparity between men and women’s pay.
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