Rachel Brown - NE Times Hotspot Magazine feature, Diversity and Inclusion edition

Another organisation ensuring its talent pool is drawn from a wide societal spectrum is Newburn-based NHS Business Services Authority, whose operations include the management of the healthcare provider’s pension scheme in England.

Shortlisted for the Dynamites 2019 diversity and inclusion accolade, it runs several workforce-focused programmes.

“We are a diverse organisation, and our definition of inclusion is way beyond your normal definition of equality or diversity,” says Rachel Brown, diversity and inclusion manager.

“We look at inclusion from all angles.

“We have a diversity and inclusivity network and have representation at every level from every department right across the country, which feeds into our overall wellbeing committee.

“We harness talent and do a lot of work with the LGBT community – we are in Stonewall’s top 100 employers list – because we want people to be their authentic selves.”

Rachel says it also runs a number of pathways to help people who may have learning difficulties, suffer from conditions such as autism, or need mental health support.

Additionally, she reveals it is helping former Armed Forces personnel start new careers and operating a youth pathway alongside Newcastle’s Global Bridge to skills match students with businesses.

Another area where the organisation’s strong inclusivity ethos shines through is around its Deaf colleagues, with Rachel highlighting the example of digital worker Matt Lannigan.

“I worked with the team to put in place a host of support measures, from educating them on Deaf awareness to creating a bespoke signing course with the local college,” she says.

“Matt also supports the team’s learning by teaching them signs, and it is these kinds of things that show how you can harness a disability and enable a person to do something fulfilling.”

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Sahdia Hassen