Equality and Diversity Week – Advancing the representation of BME people in our workforce

My name is Selina Moyo, I have been working on the Black Minority Ethnic (BME) Action Plan project to increase our recruitment, retention and advancement of black minority ethnic members of staff within the Assembly, for the past year.

One of the challenges that we have as an organisation is making sure that our staff are representative of the communities that we serve so we can provide a better service to all. Through our annual equalities analysis we identified that we needed to work at increasing numbers of BME people working in the organisation.

Although we are not quite there yet I think we can pride ourselves in having taken the first step to ensure that we are a representative organisation that represents all the people we serve in Wales.

What have we done so far?

We have made ourselves more visible to the communities that we serve. I have gone out and engaged with BME communities in Cardiff ensuring that they have a better understanding of our role as the Assembly but more importantly who we are as an employer and the opportunities that we have to offer.  The last 12 months have seen us take part in job fairs and other events hosted by external partners, which we have not done before.

We have worked with partners to make our application process more accessible, through provision of basic training on the application process as well as one to one support to individuals.

We piloted a ‘Train the Trainer’ programme for partner organisations so that we could develop ‘job ambassadors’ for our organisation. We hope that this can continue and more people become aware of how to use our application process.

We have established more diverse ways of advertising for our posts and work with partners providing specialist employment advice to ensure that more organisations and individuals engage with the Assembly and advertise our posts through ‘BME friendly networks’.

I sit on a number of steering group committees working at BME empowerment, to ensure that we have a better understanding of issues affecting BME people and can help support processes to engage BME people.

We have listened to our partners and as a result of their contributions we have clarified the process of filling in the Equality Monitoring form through providing Q&A factsheet on the monitoring form for all applicants.

We realise that development of our existing staff is crucial in any efforts to develop our BME workforce. To this end we are working on programmes to ensure that our BME staff are supported through their personal development and can advance in the organisation if they wish.

To support relations among our staff we have developed a number of supporting fact sheets for use by all staff. For example our cultural diversity factsheet is available to all our staff for use in supporting internal and external engagement with diverse groups across Wales.

Our BME staff Network last year participated in the Black History Month events and the MELA event in September, so that we are better known in the community.

We hope we can continue to build these external relations and this year we will again participate in community events and showcase our work even further.

What still needs to be done?

We need to cement our relationships with external partners so that we can become the employer of choice for more BME people.

We want to see young people join us through work experience so that they better understand what we have to offer, we want to see increased applicants from BME members of the community and we will continue with our engagement efforts.

We still want to hear from the various BME communities that we may not have reached so far and work with them to make our application process accessible and transparent. If you want to find out more about our project contact selina.moyo@assembly.wales.

Selina and Abi at WMC for BHM2014

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