The successful pensions and investments firm Hymans Robertson asked us to develop a short course on ‘excellence in diversity and inclusion’. We created a half day session centred around three mottos that if consistently applied lead us close to that ambition of excellence! Over two years and 20 courses we supported and challenged their staff to consider the unintentional discrimination that can occur even in a progressive organisation concerned about equality.
Following the outstanding feedback from the staff sessions we were commissioned to work specifically with their partner group to relate the mottos to their more senior, decision-making context.
For the last three years we have facilitated the board strategy days for Scotland’s leading refugee charity. We planned and structured the day’s discussions, guided the conversations to ensure the aims were achieved and provided detailed reports.
In 2017 we also helped the organisation to canvas the views of staff, volunteers and service users to help inform their new five year strategic plan. We facilitated a handful of focus groups, gathering the views of the diverse participants and provided a report on their feedback.
We also facilitated a group question and answer session as part of the recruitment of their new chief executive. A group of stakeholders including staff, volunteers and refugee champions met to quiz the final two candidates, near the end of the recruitment process. We facilitated the discussion and summarised the views of the group for the panel.
Since 2016 we have worked with various groups of refugees to discuss and debate cultural attitudes to gender. We facilitate workshops with their chrysalis groups, comprised of separated refugee teenagers to examine how different societies understand differences between men and women. The programme went on to consider the causes of violence against women and how we can all work to tackle it.
We also regularly engage with the family groups supported by the Red Cross, which include newly arrived refugee parents. These highly interactive sessions discuss the different expectations our cultures have around men and women, boys and girls. We also debate a handful of challenging parenting scenarios relating to gender. Participants say then find it really helps them understand the different pressures their children experience in trying to navigate the two cultures.
Following our support of a related research project, we worked with Glasgow University to design an online three week training course on how to work supportively with refugees. The considered the legal protection of refugees; challenges around cultural diversity; the mental health of refugees and workers; and the complex issue of integration. The course attracted over 6000 participants with overwhelmingly positive feedback. It was hosted on the popular FutureLearn platform.
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