Training students on equality and diversity to get fit for the global workplace
15th March 2017
Training students about equality, diversity and inclusivity may seem to be overkill given how much they already have to absorb and the competitive nature of our modern education system.
But the demographics of higher education reflect a diverse population – students arrive at college from a range of academic backgrounds, with unique social, political and religious affiliations, linguistic preferences, and sexual orientation.
Studying in such an environment of cultural diversity, students need to understand collaboration, inclusion, empowerment, equality and integration in working with and alongside others.
What is the difference between equality, diversity and inclusivity?
To help students begin to understand how they can work well alongside others, it can help to define the terms that they’ll be hearing as they learn more about these issues:
- Equality is about fairness and ensuring everyone experiences equality of opportunity, process and outcome.
- Diversity is acknowledging that people are different and being positive about it.
- Inclusion is about ensuring that individuals or groups can participate fully in the social, economic, and political life of the society in which they live.’
Diversity improves competitiveness on the global marketplace
This is not an issue of political correctness, it’s about the importance of young people, soon to enter the workplace, acquiring the skills and attitudes to fit readily into the modern working environment.
In a multicultural and globalised environment, an understanding of diversity issues engenders an attitude of respect for all in a pluralistic society. The ability to work harmoniously and productively in a multicultural workplace is important as evidence shows that organisations with diverse positive cultures perform better.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission point out that if women’s participation in the labour market increased to roughly the same as men’s, it would add 10 per cent to the size of the UK economy by 2030.
Organisations need employees who create the atmosphere of inclusion and respect that leads to high morale and productivity and a positive corporate identity. Research by the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel Development) found that diversity enabled organisations to attract talented workers and position themselves as an inclusive employer of choice.
Inclusion is a watchword for hiring managers, as organisations move away from measuring minority percentages in the workforce, and instead measure attitudes towards diversity and inclusive behaviours. Orlando Richard, in his research paper “Racial diversity, business strategy and firm performance: A resource-based view”, identified a positive correlation between workforce ethnic diversity and productivity in firms pursuing growth strategies.
Open minded employees are in demand, employers want people who can work well in teams, get on with others, treating them fairly, with dignity and respect, who are aware of equality, diversity and inclusivity issues and have the conflict resolution skills that are valuable in the multicultural workplace.
Preparing students for the workplace
Ethnic minorities account for 13 per cent of the UK higher education community, which is more than their weight in the general population.
This makes the education system the best starting point for encouraging good relations, reflecting the increasing diversity of UK society and the transnational workplace environment.
In tandem with the critical thinking skills and course material that comprise their studies students need to become effective communicators, socially responsible in their speech and behaviours.
At work such attitudes give employees an advantage as they embrace diversity, tolerance, and respect as a business norm, independent of government regulation.
How can equality, diversity and inclusivity training benefit students?
The benefits of equality, diversity and inclusivity training are real and substantial in offering preparation for the real world of work; as the more informed a job seeker is with regards to different perspectives and lifestyles, the more marketable they will be in a diverse society and workplace.
Equality, diversity and inclusivity training is not just an add-on to or distraction from the ‘real’ curriculum but an integral part of an education that teaches one to examine attitudes to others and to appreciate cultural references and use accessible language.
Online equality, diversity and inclusivity training offers an opportunity to consider these issues in the round enabling students to become comfortable in talking about diversity and interacting with people who are different from themselves, appreciating the richness of diversity in all aspects of life.
Marshall E-Learning’s equality, diversity and inclusivity training, produced in conjunction with the University of St Andrews, asks learners to think about the issues and how they can affect working life for the University’s staff and students.
Sukhi Bains, Head of Equality & Diversity at the University of St Andrews, explains how the course has benefits their institution:
“In the current climate of uncertainty around rights on equalities, it’s important that awareness is provided to students entering higher education from different backgrounds domestically and from across the world. Providing awareness helps an institution work towards meeting the Public Sector Equality Duty to eliminate discrimination, foster good relations and advancing equality. The Student Diversity e-learning module has assisted the University of St Andrews in advancing flexible provision where students can undertake training at a time suitable for them. “
Our short online equality, diversity and inclusivity course covers the topic with a thought-provoking approach that uses real life examples, case studies and scenarios which are highly interactive with graphics and audio-visual content using a variety of question types to encourage users to apply concepts and test their understanding.
Learn more about our equality, diversity and inclusivity training course today or get in touch with Marshall E-Learning if you’d like to discuss a customised, bespoke solution to your organisation’s equality and diversity training.