Equality and Inclusion

We know that we must act to improve equality, diversity and inclusion internally, across our Board and Staff, as well as externally, across the Further and Higher Education sector and the sustainability sector. The actions the EAUC takes seek to enhance fairness, opportunity, and representation and will actively support the delivery of UN Sustainable Development Goals 4, 8, 10 and 17. Overall, we intend to inspire, celebrate and advance the critical role of ED&I in the sustainability sector and the Further and Higher Education sector.

Here is a summary of actions we have taken to date:

Internal Actions

  • We are collating HE & FE data on protected characteristics. There is no one data set for the whole of the sector so we are using different sources for the HE and FE sectors to come to a ‘sector average’.
  • We have collated protected characteristics from the Board and Staff, which will be benchmarked against the ‘sector average’.
  • We arranged in-depth training for staff in November 2021. The 2-day training is specific to the barriers, challenges, and opportunities unique to the education and sustainability sectors. Our staff have already received the University of Gloucestershire Diversity and Inclusion training that includes unconscious bias training. We felt the need for this additional, in-depth training ahead of drafting our policy so that we may build a greater understanding and commitment to change as individuals and a group. All Board members have confirmed that they have been provided with training through their own institutions.
  • We presented at the Member Roundtable on 7th October 2021 to provide members with an update on activity. We aim to include a regular update in our newsletters, as well as a standing item at the Member Roundtables. These Roundtables are for Key Contacts and Fellows.
  • We have created Associate Trustee positions to further open opportunities for people outside of the sector and with protected characteristics to join the Board. The Board also removed the requirement for previous board experience to encourage more younger/early career applications. In July 2021 the Board confirmed Romas Malevicius and Neelum Choudhury as Associate Trustees. We look forward to working with them to help our work in this area.
  • We have trialled anonymised recruitment as part of our commitment to minimise unconscious bias during recruitment, and we have now made this a standard practice for all future positions. Name, ethnicity, age, email address, photos, address are removed by a different member of staff to those that are part of the shortlisting process. We also use equal opportunity forms in our recruitment process.
  • The Scotland team is reviewing terms of references for Topic Support Networks and the length of term for convenors to encourage a more regular turnover and recruitment basis.
  • A group has been established with members who are interested and keen to help us with this area.
  • All staff have undertaken a 2 day in-depth training session

External Actions

  • We have been holding discussions with other sector bodies that do work in this area to explore areas where we can amplify and compliment and to identify any specific gaps where we can bring around change. Discussions to date have been with Groundworks, IES, Chandra Ladwa, Jeff Greenidge (Director of Diversity, AoC & ETF joint role) and Deborah Gabriel (Founder, Black British Academics). We have approached Black FE Leadership but they are not willing to engage in discussion until they see greater diversity on our Board.
  • We have been collating and uploading diversity, justice and inclusion linked resources and tools to the Sustainability Exchange website and will be promoting this to members on a regular feature within our newsletter. All staff are asked to contribute to sourcing news stories/resources which also widens all of our awareness as well. Access the SE resources here
  • We have created resources to focus on specific areas which include period poverty and encourage case studies from institutions on the SDGs as well as climate justice issues through our flagship international programmes - the SDG Accord, Race to Zero for Universities and Colleges and the International Green Gown Awards.
  • We prioritize sessions from the global south for our virtual conferences – particularly focusing on regions/countries that often do not have the opportunity to speak on other platforms (i.e. not elite institutions), especially in our Virtual Global Conference. At all of our events we ensure we have a good gender balance.
  • We have partnered with Change Agents and SOS to develop a sector-specific programme - Kickstart for Sustainability in Tertiary Education - for the Government Kickstart Scheme which funds 6 month work placements for young people on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment and are particularly encouraging institutions to focus on increasing diversity within their teams. We strongly encourage participating institutions to top up the minimum wage provided by the Government to be the Living Wage. Through the experienced team at Change Agents, SOS and ourselves we will provide a comprehensive support package for all placements through this programme.
  • Following on the research project “skills for the Future” we have partnered with Change Agents to run Sustainable Futures as a pilot in 3 colleges in disadvantaged areas (Wakefield College, West Anglia College and Belfast Metropolitan College). “We know that for all young people today, sustainability will need to become an intrinsic part of their future jobs and careers. Access to the education and skills that will help them to prepare for this future is often lacking, limited and hampered by inequality. We believe all young people should have access to this learning - developing skills and building confidence about their future. Sustainable Futures aims to address this need.” Each college identified 40-50 learners to take part in the workshops. The feedback has been very positive and we hope to be able to promote this opportunity to the wider sector. 
  • We are working with other partners to develop better career guidance and pathways to enter the sustainability sector as well as making all jobs green. We are working with UKRI, WWF and partners through the COP26 Universities Network sub-group on Education & Skills as well as BEIS and the Green Jobs Taskforce Team.
  • We have profiled our Student Climate Commissioners and ensured that a youth voice is included during any presentations on behalf of the Climate Commission. We have run a podcast series with students to discuss their backgrounds and interest and journeys in climate action. 
  • We are creating a speaker database to help improve diversity on speakers at events. This is for speakers from the education sector and we will make this publicly available. You can find out more details on this here.
  • We recently gained a new member of staff that came into the sector through the Kickstart for Sustainability in Tertiary Education scheme, which the EAUC began with SOS and Change Agents. We're delighted to offer this 6-month position to actively support the growth of inclusivity in the sector.
  • All online EAUC events are hosted via Zoom. We have set up our Zoom sessions to always incorporate virtual closed captioning (cc) during meetings and webinars, to provide attendees with subtitles. This may be used by participants to both easily follow the conversations and to meet accessibility requirements. Accessibility support and requests can be noted upon registering for our events.
  • We are developing publicly accessibly resource page for the EAUC website, that will include a glossary of terms and common jargon relevant to ED&I.

Actions To Do

  • Following the staff training, a draft equality and inclusion policy will be developed. We will seek member feedback as well as liaise with partners with whom we have already engaged.
  • Following the approved equality and inclusion policy and develop action plans for internal and external use.
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