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Marshalls host its first Diversity and Inclusion User Group with nine Universities

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Representatives from the universities of Exeter, Liverpool John Moores, Staffordshire, St Andrews, Cranfield, Dundee, St Andrews, Stirling, and Canterbury Christ Church joined Ann Allcock, Marshall’s new Head of Diversity, and guest Maggie Semple, OBE on a Zoom call to discuss diversity in higher education.

Diversity, Inclusion, and Unconscious Bias specialists, Marshalls, set up the user group meeting so that clients could discuss diversity and inclusion issues that were important to them, and to explore how Marshalls could help them overcome specific challenges.

Maggie Semple is a member of the Queen’s Counsel Appointments Panel, serves on Cambridge University’s HR Committee, and is a Fellow of the City & Guilds Institute, amongst many other things and is also the presenter of Marshalls’ new e-learning module: Let’s Talk about Race in the Workplace. She spoke to the group about how leaders can move from merely having an interest in the subject of race equality, to taking action.

During the meeting, the clients discussed positive action, (the process of proactively increasing the number of employees from underrepresented groups), race equality in Scotland, and language and identity.

The universities also felt it was very important to engage with the theme of Allyship – which at its most basic level is concerned with the ongoing process of advocating, supporting, and being a voice for people who experience daily structural inequalities and microaggressions.

Marshalls is currently developing an e-learning course on Allyship in partnership with the University of Coventry, which will be available in the first quarter of 2021.

One university representative who attended the user group had the following to say about the meeting: “ Thank you so much for allowing me to attend your user group last week;  it was a fantastic chance for me to hear from other universities using your training and I was really impressed with the session, and in particular, your speaker Maggie.”

Ann Allcock was delighted that the meeting was such a success and said that Marshalls would be holding regular quarterly user group meetings in 2021:

"I was so pleased to learn that the valued Marshalls’ clients who attended our User Group meeting found it helpful, and Maggie Semple’s presentation on how to encourage leaders to move from interest to action on race equality was powerful and insightful.  What particularly stood out for me was Maggie’s encouragement for people to openly share more about their identities with others. There is often much that we don’t know about our colleagues, and finding space and time to talk, listen and hear about different backgrounds and experiences can challenge assumptions and dispel stereotypes, and help everyone feel valued.

 It was also fascinating to hear more about our clients’ diversity and inclusion priorities, and to have confirmation that the new e-learning module on Allyship which Marshalls is currently developing with the University of Coventry will be useful and welcomed.

 I’m really excited to say that based on the positive feedback about this meeting, we’ll be scheduling regular User Groups in 2021, with contributions from a range of inspiring speakers on varied topics. We may even make the meetings slightly longer because there is so much to discuss!"