NORTHERN Regional College has been awarded the NI Diversity and Inclusion Charter Mark in recognition of its commitment to promoting equality for all.
The College’s Equality and Wellbeing Manager Fiona McDowell said the award was an acknowledgement of the work being done throughout the College to promote diversity and inclusion among staff and students.
“One of the College’s underpinning values is respect for all. We are committed to the promotion of equality in all our activities and are opposed to any form of discrimination so it’s great to have our work recognised in this way.”
Fiona continued: “In addition to our Equal Opportunities Policy for Staff, we have also developed and implemented other relevant policies across all campuses. These include policies covering Good Relations and Cultural Diversity, Accessible Information, Domestic Abuse in the Workplace, Managing Stress, Equal Opportunities for Students, Disability Policy Statement and Transgender Policy Statement.
“Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is embedded throughout the College’s policies and processes, including Recruitment and Selection, Learning and Development, Sickness Absence, Student Enrolment and Admissions.”
The College’s Equality Improvement Plan is reviewed annually by the Equality Commission and when appropriate or relevant, new policies are introduced. Last year, the College implemented Transgender policy and procedures and new guidelines on Menopause and New and Expectant Mothers are being introduced for the 2020/21 academic year.
The College’s Disability Action Plan is also monitored and reviewed on an annual basis. Work is underway to obtain Autism Friendly Accreditation and to develop better placement opportunities for students with disabilities.
Explaining how the College implemented the various policies, Fiona said: “Over the past 12 months the College has taken part in projects such as Peace IV Community Integration Programme, Women in STEM project, Mental Health Charter and the Every Customer Counts Initiative. Throughout the year we organise events to mark international initiatives such as World Mental Health Day, International Women’s Day, Anti-Bullying Week and World Cultural Diversity Week.
Barry Phillips BEM, Chairman, Legal Island, said he was “absolutely delighted” to award the Northern Regional College with the Diversity & Inclusion Charter Mark, covering all nine grounds.
“The assessment panel were impressed by the extensive range of diversity and inclusion activities happening at all levels. This Award is thoroughly deserved and we look forward to hearing more about their Diversity and Inclusion initiatives in the future.”
The NI Diversity and Inclusion Charter Mark is an initiative championed by employment law experts, Legal Island. It covers all nine characteristics protected in equality legislation: age, disability, pregnancy or maternity; gender reassignment; married or civil partnership; religious (or similar philosophical) belief or political opinion; race; sex and sexual orientation.