Toolkit launched to help improve diversity in UK workforces

Female professional in meeting looks at colleagues deliberating

A free resource is being offered to employers who are looking to attract and retain a more diverse and inclusive workforce

  • 15 September 2022
  • 9 min read

Ahead of National Inclusion Week, the University of Portsmouth is launching an equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) toolkit for employers across the UK. 

The free online resource, developed by a team at the University of Portsmouth in partnership with the Solent Apprenticeship & Skills Hub, is split into 12 subjects that impact the EDI of a workforce. These include ethnicity, age and sex bias, neurodiversity, ex-offenders and LGBTQ+. 

Members will have access to resources, articles, and case studies of employers who have had success in recruiting and supporting staff from one of the subject areas. The site will also run a monthly Ted-style talk on the University campus with key speakers from organisations.

Employing a diversified workforce is a necessity for every organisation, but to manage and maintain one is a big challenge

Claire Middleton, Toolkit co-creator, University of Portsmouth

Co-creator Claire Middleton, from the University of Portsmouth, said: “Employing a diversified workforce is a necessity for every organisation, but to manage and maintain one is a big challenge.

“The idea for the toolkit came from an Equality & Diversity programme I did through Amazing Apprenticeships over the last year. We had to produce a pitch for change, so we produced a resource that split into what we think are the top subjects that employers are interested in when it comes to recruiting and retaining a more diverse workforce.”

While UK legislation sets minimum standards for employers, the EDI toolkit goes beyond legal compliance and aims to add value to an organisation, by helping to build an inclusive environment where everyone feels able to achieve their potential.

Yvonne Howard, Director of Race and Equality at the University of Portsmouth, added: “Really pleased that we are launching an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion toolkit to support future employers of our students and communities to recruit and retain diverse talent to boost Portsmouth's competitive advantage.” 

The EDI toolkit will launch at an event on 23 September at the University. Speakers include Mike Thompson from the Generation Healthy Minds and Anna Morrison, Director of Amazing Apprenticeships and Genie Lead.

Dozens of employers, including retail giant B&Q and the NHS will be attending.

Each month there will be live lectures covering different topics and in October biotechnology company AstraZeneca will be one of the guest speakers talking about how they attract and support employees who are neurodiverse. 

Tracey Hoey from AstraZeneca said: “Here at AstraZeneca, our neurodiversity employee resource group was created to start a global conversation and encourage learning around neurodivergent individuals. This group also supports parents and family members of neurodivergent individuals. 

“The group is open to all employees, and we share experiences, resources, arrange talks from experts, and offer support and drop in opportunities for anybody wishing to attend and explore the relationship between neurodiversity and the workplace.

Anyone who would like to attend the event at the University of Portsmouth or receive the free online toolkit can email claire.middleton@port.ac.uk for more information.