We recently sat down with Jade Horton, our EPA Relationships Co-Ordinator at SIAS, to discuss her attendance at the AELP Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Summit. We were eager to hear about her key takeaways from the conference.
Could you provide some insight into what the conference covered?
“The conference began with an inspiring speech by Tim Campbell, creating a sense of belonging and empowerment among attendees.
The panel discussion on overcoming barriers provided valuable insights into driving change. BPP emphasized the importance of data in identifying gaps and making improvements. They established advisory groups and removed barriers such as experience and qualifications to create a more accessible employment selection process. The panel agreed that achieving equality and diversity requires a long-term commitment to cultural change.
Maureen Dairy discussed the expectations of Ofqual inspections, highlighting the significance of positive relationships between apprentices and training providers and emphasising the importance of meeting individual needs to create engaging learning spaces.”
In comparison to other events that you have attended, what set this particular one apart?
“Compared to previous events, the speakers and attendees demonstrated incredible passion. It was an honour to hear about their journeys and to hear about people just like me, who want to make a difference to ensure everyone in the world has a place, supporting them and giving them the opportunity to find it.”
What were the main takeaways or lessons that you gained from the conference?
“Understanding people’s starting points is crucial. Several speakers shared stories of overcoming odds to achieve incredible things. It made me wonder how much more they could have accomplished if given the initial opportunities they deserved. When I applied for the role at SIAS in my early 20s, I didn’t believe I stood a chance. I felt inadequate compared to the other experienced individuals. However, I was given a chance and today I am here. The conference taught me the importance of taking responsibility for ourselves and each other, and that making small changes can lead to significant actions.”
Could you give some details about the workshop you attended and explain how it impacted you?
“The event focused on achieving outcomes through learner and neural inclusion. It emphasized the significance of understanding neurodiversity. I learned about the services provided by the cognassist, which enables learners to engage in ways that suit their individual needs.
I strongly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Our different ways of thinking, working, and learning should not be seen as limitations.”
How do you plan to apply the knowledge and insight you gained to benefit both SIAS and your customers?
“The importance of listening was a major takeaway. We should always listen to people’s specific needs, whether it’s a colleague, apprentice, employer or training provider, so we can tailor our approach accordingly.
Another aspect is analysing data to identify areas that require attention. For example, the significant gender disparity in the STEM industry is well-known and we need to take action to bridge this gap. However, it’s essential to remember that promoting change within a culture takes time and patience. By making small changes and understanding our customers’ needs, we can gradually work towards achieving our ultimate goal.”
Were there any notable quotes or facts from the event that particularly stood out to you?
“Tim Campbell emphasized the significance of not allowing our attire to become a shield, to demonstrate that we possess unique experiences and stories to share. This helps break down barriers and foster inclusive environments. It was highlighted that our postcodes do not define us, underlining the importance of avoiding judgment based on the area we come from. Regardless of our background, we have the potential to achieve remarkable things. This message resonated powerfully.”