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Activism such as the Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted the inequalities that people from diverse backgrounds face both in their everyday lives and whilst at work. This is likely to generate a stronger emphasis on driving diversity and inclusion across society and within the workplace. Teaching diversity and inclusion is important as it helps students recognise and celebrate what makes us different to benefit themselves and their future workplaces.
LifeSkills has developed a suite of diversity resources to support students to develop their understanding of diversity and inclusion, including how this will help them succeed in the world of work. This page contains five short case studies exploring different topics, covering gender, LGBTQ+, culture, age and disability (you can find further diversity and inclusion resources via the links at the bottom of this page).
Students will hear people share their own stories of diversity and inclusion in relation to different organisations, helping them realise the multiple aspects of diversity. The case studies aim to inspire, and help young people have the confidence to be themselves. They also explore the role that businesses have in supporting their employees to feel included and valued in their workplace.
The case studies can be used as a standalone activity, to aid the reflection of what it means to show inclusive, positive behaviours towards others or to support the delivery of other diversity and inclusion resources.
You could use the following questions to prompt discussion or use the case studies as part of a short, interactive session. Accessibility transcripts have also been provided as PDF downloads on this page. Each case study is no longer than six minutes.
What does diversity and inclusion mean to you, and why do you think we need it?
Have you ever experienced a time when you haven’t felt like you belonged? If yes, how could the situation have been approached differently by the people around you and what would have been the benefit? If no, think of a situation you may have read about where someone was treated differently and consider all the missed opportunities?
Hear from Pensi around her career in engineering, which is typically seen as a male dominant environment.Listen
What were some challenges that Pensi initially encountered in her career as a result of her gender?
E.g. Was the only woman on her course when she started training, someone in the engineering department even asked her if she was lost (this could be a good opportunity to explain that this action would be classed as a microaggression – explore this and other concepts further in the racial equality film and activity).
How did Pensi overcome these challenges?
Instead of letting this knock her confidence, Pensi saw it as motivation to prove herself, not just as good as her male counterparts.
Harry explains the benefits of working for a company who supports employees to bring their true selves to work.
How does being able to be openly bisexual at work benefit Harry personally?
E.g. Allows him to bring his whole self to the work he does, boosting his confidence and sense of belonging. It’s also helped him build his skills, network and profile in his company and amongst his colleagues.
Why does Harry think LGBTQ networks are important to businesses and employees?
E.g. They provide a safe space and platform for LGBTQ people to have a voice, help raise awareness and understanding, educates people outside the LGBTQ community around how to be effective supporters, or “allies”. (Further discussion: what is an ally? Give brief definition if needed e.g., in this context, an ally is someone outside the LGBTQ community who supports the inclusion, celebration and equal rights of LGBTQ people. The term can apply to anyone supporting marginalised groups that they don’t themselves belong to e.g., race, gender, disability).
Ultimately, they help people feel a sense of belonging within the workplace, and this helps them to realise their full potential
Gary describes his experience around reverse mentoring and the value he has brought to someone more senior.Listen
What is reverse mentoring, and why do businesses have reverse mentoring schemes in place?
E.g., Where a typically younger, more junior person mentors someone who is further up in a company and usually older. Reverse mentoring is a great way to help people open themselves up to different perspectives and experiences and learn from each other, share ideas…
What transferable skills, knowledge and qualities did Gary develop as a result of taking part in reverse mentoring?
E.g., Self-confidence, communication, networking, insight into what it takes to move up in different roles in a company
Hear from Elizabeth and how she has championed diversity and inclusion within the workplace.Listen
What experience inspired Elizabeth to her role as a support worker?
E.g., Became a diversity and inclusion representative at her university, organising events to give students a safe space to talk openly about their beliefs and culture.
What piece of advice does Elizabeth give for young people from ethnic minority groups looking for support and advice when entering the workplace?
E.g., Find mentors, colleagues or friends to speak to who are relatable, inspiring, and good role models to learn from. Go to networks like The New Black UK and The Black Young Professional Network
Alasdair shares what he’s overcome with a disability and his experience of applying and starting a job.
What did Alasdair learn from overcoming the challenges of his disability, which may have set him apart from the competition when going for his job?
E.g., his perseverance and commitment to recovering from his illness, breaking problems down into something easier and more achievable.
Why do you think Alasdair talks about declaring his disability on his job application? Why might this be challenging or daunting to someone with a disability?
E.g., He wants to show that no-one should feel looked down on or hired just because of their disability. Like his employer, everyone should be treated fairly and equally when applying for jobs.
If your students would benefit from support to help them be themselves and overcome issues that affect young people, such as bullying, digital wellbeing, mental health, relationships and identity, people visit www.ditchthelabel.org – a leading and global youth organisation. Ditch the label also provides free resources for educators.
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