Leeds City College has been awarded Investors in Diversity status, making it the first education institution in West Yorkshire to achieve the prestigious equality accreditation.
The Investors in Diversity Award is a nationally recognised quality mark which provides an all-encompassing methodology for improving Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) practices in the workplace.
Leeds City College entered the national top 100 at 50th place in 2017 and moved up a further 18 places in 2018 into the top 40.
The committee has driven forward a programme of equality activities to ensure the organisation has inclusivity at its core. The college has also utilised staff development days to promote EDI topics and messages.
Director of Student Life, Andrea Cowans said: “Leeds is one of the country’s most vibrant and diverse cities and as a college, our key priority is creating an inclusive environment where staff and students from all backgrounds and ways of life feel welcome, respected and valued.” And can achieve their potential
“It is such a wonderful achievement to be recognised for the work that we are doing, particularly for an organisation that supports over 1,300 staff and over 22,000 students.
“We have put a number of comprehensive measures in place to ensure that staff and students are in an environment that celebrates their individuality and we will continue to work towards highlighting and celebrating the fantastic work that we do at the college.”
There are plans to deliver further training for staff and governors in the autumn term and the college currently has a teaching apprenticeship initiative to support with the recruitment of teachers from diverse backgrounds.
In her report, National Centre for Diversity assessor Jo Barton said: “Leaders are involved in the EDI Committee and are very knowledgeable about EDI and I believe there is a strong commitment and interest.
“Speaking with students during the two-day assessment, it was evident that they felt supported with their education and other extracurricular activities, such as the student African – Caribbean Society and the LGBTQ group activities. Students were very complimentary about the college and said they would recommend it to friends and family.”
Celebrating 10 years since the merger in 2009, Leeds City College, which is part of the Luminate Education Group, is one of the largest FE providers in the UK with nine sites and roughly 154 different languages spoken across college. It gained Ofsted’s seal of approval in 2018, being recognised as a ‘good’ institution with ‘outstanding features’.
The college has grown considerably in size and in the last couple of years, over 38% of students are from BAME communities, including 17% of staff from this group.
Organisations that achieve the Investors in Diversity Award take a structured and planned approach to embedding EDI at the heart of what they do. It also provides an excellent framework to bring together all of an organisation’s work around equality, diversity and inclusion.