College spearheads new training programme to create diverse workforces

College spearheads new training programme to create diverse workforces

Blackburn College have delivered a new programme designed to give Lancashire’s employers access to skills, training and resources that will enable them to develop harmonious and diverse workforces.

Delivered by Blackburn College’s own Human Resources and Organisational Development team, the training programme has helped provide delegates with tactics they can employ in their own businesses to support the creation of a diverse workforce.

Delegates taking part in the programme have come from a varied set of businesses across Lancashire including: PM+M accountants, East Lancashire Hospital Trust,  Blackburn with Darwen Carers, Herbert Parkinson, Forbes Solicitors and Together Housing.

Delegate Zed Ali of Lancashire Equalities, a registered charity, said: “I’ve enjoyed the guest speakers and presentations as well as the opportunity to network.

“I have had the opportunity to be mentored and coached by Blackburn College’s Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development Sharon Germaine-Cox, and been provided with strategies to engage with a diverse range of people.

“This has enhanced my knowledge and given me new ideas about workforce integration. I am hoping to promote and be an ambassador for the programme in order to champion this agenda.”

Blackburn College has devised the Workforce Integration Ambassador programme on behalf of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council as part of 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.

Blackburn with Darwen is one of five national Integration Areas invited by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to work closely with them on innovative plans to address social integration.

The Borough was selected because of its strong track record for building bridges between diverse communities and its willingness to try new approaches.

One of these new approaches focuses on the workplace and the crucial role it plays in connecting people from different backgrounds who otherwise may not regularly come into contact with each other.

By engaging and working with employers within the Borough, the intention is to support activities that increase levels of diversity within the Borough’s workforce.

As part of the project, the training programme to develop Workforce Integration Ambassadors was specified focussing upon cultural and practical barriers to achieving a diverse and harmonious workforce.

Blackburn College was selected to develop this part of the programme through a competitive bidding process.

Blackburn College was praised by Ofsted in its latest inspection report for its approach to equality and diversity.

The inspection team reported: “Curriculum leaders, teachers, assessors and staff promote a culture of mutual respect and tolerance.

“Students behave well, they respect other people’s views and work cooperatively together. Teachers develop students’ and apprentices’ understanding of equality and diversity and British Values well.”

We felt it was important to include a larger employer

I felt it was important to highlight why there is a focus on the workplace in our integration programme.

I think this has been lifted from the strategy and doesn’t fit right here.

3 Oct 2019, 13:26 PM