From education to employment

#AntiRacismInAction: Anti-racist Board and Executive Search Recruitment Practices | S2 Ep1

By the BFELG – Season2 Episode 1#AntiRacismInAction: Anti-racist Board and Executive Search Recruitment Practices featuring Hilary Clifford, Director, AoC Services; Luke O’Neill, Board Director, Morgan Hunt; Drew Richardson-Walsh, Director, Education Practice, Peridot Partners, co-produced by BFELG and FE News, and co-anchored by Gavin O’Meara (CEO and Head of Digital, FE News), and Amarjit Basi, BFELG Director.

Following the success of Season 1 #AntiRacismInAction – Making the most of an Ethnically Diverse Britain, Season 2 was launched today, Wednesday 2 February. Season 2 will be streamed weekly at 10.00 on Wednesdays. Each 30 minute episode will showcase Anti-racism in action and explore how diverse groups from across the UK can get involved.

As well as being the launch episode for Season 2, today’s episode was very special for 2 other reasons: firstly, it focused on Anti-racist Board and Executive Search Recruitment Practices, touching on 1 of the 10 priority themes for action highlighted in BFELG’s Open Letter published in August 2020. Secondly, it features 3 of the 5 FE sector’s leading recruitment companies (AoC Services, FE Associates, Morgan Hunt, Peridot Partners, Protocol) that responded to BFELG’s call for action. These companies worked in partnership with each other and the BFELG in 2020-2021 to shape a ground-breaking Joint Commitment to ensuring Anti-racist and diverse recruitment practices are implemented across their activities as a matter of course. This is a remarkable collaboration considering that under normal circumstances these companies operate as competitors in the FE market.

Why is Anti-racist recruitment important?

Anecdotally, about 50% of FE sector recruitment into leadership positions is conducted by the institutions themselves with Boards and HR departments playing a major role. The other 50% of recruitments are conducted by search and recruitment companies. Through their processes and practices, Boards, HR departments and search and recruitment companies are without a doubt responsible for the long standing matter of an unrepresentative workforce in FE and the lack of representation of *Black leaders on the majority of college boards and senior teams. They can also play a major role in challenging and reversing the status quo. The Joint Commitment companies are an excellent example of collaborative system leadership for change. The big question is how the 50% of colleges who undertake their own recruitment will ensure that Anti-racism is at the heart of their selection and recruitment practices.

Opening Episode 1 with a short ‘piece to camera’, Hilary Clifford Director of AoC East and AoC Services was unequivocal about her support for Anti-racism. Speaking as a leader, recruiter and strong believer in #AntiRacismInAction, she said that it is important to start to take action to create opportunities for all. Everyone needs to address their own biases and concentrate on changing practices. She highlighted the need for recruiters to work with clients to manage their talent, generate greater diversity of opportunity for a more diverse group of people, in order to create diversity of leadership in the FE sector.

Luke O’Neill, Board Director, Morgan Hunt and Drew Richardson-Walsh, Director, Education Practice, Peridot Partners were guests on the programme. They shared their unique perspectives on #AntiRacismInAction drawing on their respective personal and professional leadership journeys in this space. They also spoke about collaborative system leadership, their Joint Statement and the unique opportunities and challenges faced by Search and Recruitment practices in respect of ethnic diversity.

Having been a senior leader in the FE and HE sectors prior to joining Peridot, and on the receiving end of some very poor recruitment practice as both client and candidate, Drew Richardson-Walsh touched on how executive search campaigns must be well led, appropriately communicated, broad and thoroughly researched, and expertly managed – from end to end. He also spoke about some Governance issues highlighting that ‘diversity is the action, inclusivity is the practice.’

Morgan Hunt have recently become affiliates of the BFLEG (the first private sector organisation to do so) . Luke O’Neill discussed the reasons why as a recruitment company they decided to do this and their experience of the BFELG 10 Point process.

Watch Episode 1 in full to hear Luke O’Neill and Drew talk about their respective drivers for #AntiRacismInAction and their individual dream scenarios for Anti-racism.

Next week is National Apprenticeship Week. Tune in on Wednesday 9 February at 10.00am for Season 2 Episode 2 #AntiRacismInAction: Apprenticeships.

About AoC Services

AoC Services provides Recruitment and Interim Management services working with colleges from every part of the country to successfully identify, evaluate and place senior figures in key management and leadership positions.

About Morgan Hunt

Morgan Hunt’s Education division, established in 2004, has since grown to a team of 30 staff across our offices with over 100 years combined recruitment experience in the sector. Our clients include further education & sixth form colleges, private training providers and charities. Our depth of knowledge makes us specialists in recruiting for a wide range of roles including Senior leadership, Heads of Department, Lecturers, Learning support assistants, Apprenticeship assessors and Careers advisors & student services staff.

Morgan Hunt are proud affiliates on the Black FE Leadership Group

About Peridot

We love what we do, and we do it with passion. Placing purpose and quality before profit, Peridot Partners is an executive recruitment agency transforming leadership and inspiring change with organisations who have social purpose. We are a close-knit and growing team of 37 recruitment professionals, researchers and business support staff who bring a broad and diverse range of career experiences. We are proud of having developed a flexible, empowering, and enjoyable culture, and without a KPI in sight we are free to focus on long-term, deep rooted relationships that bring value.

We challenge the status quo about what makes good leadership, and this is reflected In our exceptional clients, candidates and close community of change-makers. We’re experts in recruiting senior leaders and non-executive board members to colleges, universities, academies, awarding organisations, membership and professional bodies, health and social care organisations, charities, arts and culture organisations, and social enterprises.

With over 13 years’ experience across public, third and private sector, we work with organisations that want to grow and who appreciate and value good leadership.

As a partner of the Black FE Leaders Group, we welcome the support and challenge provided by partners in order to improve the action we take and the impact we have.

BFELG uses * ’Black’ as an inclusive definition to refer to people from ethnically diverse backgrounds who share a lived experience of the effects of racism.

Stella Ngozi Mbubaegbu CBE, BFELG Director

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