Many areas of society are still underrepresented in the professional services sectors, and we want to use our privileged position to challenge this.
Now is the time to act. Now is the time to listen.
It’s been a tough couple of years and we’re proud of what we’ve achieved. But if we’re completely honest with ourselves it’s clear that our sector still mostly serves a specific demographic.
After some reflection, we realise it's not enough to simply offer the same to every student. Some of our students come to us from more disadvantaged backgrounds: due to their home life, their education, or the discrimination they’ve faced.
Our Equality, Diversity, and Inclusivity (EDI) steering group
So in 2020 we put together a team, made up of people from all over the business who have the passion and influence to make real change. Many of these people can see first hand the issues some students face, and this gives us insight into what needs to change.
Much of this insight comes directly from our apprenticeship EDI learner data .This allows us to understand the demographics of approx. 60% of our student population. This year, however, we are to launch a new data capture tool to get an understanding of all students.
So far, our steering group has helped facilitate many internal changes. We now deliver inclusivity training to all managers and tutors in the company, and we have incorporated EDI learner training within our learning platform MyKaplan. We have also reviewed our company policies to ensure that learners are protected as students with us.
Collaborating with other companies
We are also focussed on helping people from underrepresented and diverse backgrounds get the career opportunities they deserve. So we’ve started work building relationships with organisations that share our concerns.
Companies such as Career Ready, RefuAid, and Rareqol have partnered with us to help create internship programmes for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
We have also initiated a period poverty pilot and awarded scholarships to those who are disadvantaged.
But this is just the beginning
We need to be sensitive to cultural differences internally too...
From the way we design our apprenticeships and programmes, the way we teach, the way we support and provide services, EDI needs to remain at the forefront of all our thinking.
And for lasting change to happen, our efforts must be shaped by those affected by discrimination. Feedback is vital.
So through our annual survey we’re now discovering how inclusive our learners thought we were over the course of 2021, plus we hosted our first Kaplan-wide EDI summit in January this year. Through our EDI focus group meetings, conversations are ongoing so that this subject stays on the agenda.
We’re not trying to promote ourselves with this public call to action, we’re trying to hold our hands up and claim that we could do better. The first step towards change is accepting that change needs to happen.
If you are working for an organisation that shares some of these concerns and you see an opportunity to collaborate then please reach out. Or if you’re a learner and have any thoughts around how we can work better and be more inclusive - get in touch.