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Introducing our ED&I consultants

It’s no secret that there are still significant Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) challenges throughout the UK manufacturing and engineering workforce, with a continued underrepresentation in particular of ethnic minorities, females, certain age groups, people facing various neurodiversity challenges, or struggling with physical and/or mental disabilities, as well as socio-economically challenged backgrounds. Combined with the ongoing STEM skills shortage and the continuing pandemic, there has never been a more critical time to make apprenticeships more accessible.

Here at OAS, we’re committed to working collaboratively to make our programmes more inclusive, and we’re delighted to announce that BEIS, UKAEA and the Manufacturing Training Centre (MTC) have developed a new Access and Awareness initiative to help reach and support a more diverse range of learners.

OAS is already having a very positive impact on skills development in Oxfordshire, but people with barriers to access are still underrepresented. Our Access and Awareness initiative aims to change this by:

  • Engaging with a more diverse range of potential learners, and increasing access to apprenticeships at OAS to include more people from ‘hard to reach’ groups
  • Providing extra support for OAS apprentices who face disadvantages or challenges, empowering them to successfully complete their apprenticeship, and then to remain in employment
  • Building an evidence base of best practice that can be used to support wider skills policy development, increasing inclusive opportunities throughout the UK

To help us to achieve this, we’re proud to have appointed three ED&I consultant partners who will share their expertise in some of our key areas of focus: neurodiversity, physical disability and mental health.

Together, we’ll review OAS’s existing practices, facilities and materials so that we can identify current successes, gaps in provision, and opportunities for improvement. They’ll be providing specialist training to our team, as well as helping us to build a ‘tool kit’ of information, guidance and resources to support trainers, current and prospective learners, and employers.

In short, they’ll be helping everyone at OAS to better support our learners who may face various challenges when engaging with apprentice training.

If you’re an aspiring apprentice who is interested in joining the engineering sector, we want OAS to be the place you choose to kickstart your career – regardless of your socio-economic background, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religious views, neurodiversity, disability, mental health, or any other trait or characteristic that might make you feel ‘different’ somewhere else.  All that matters to us is that you’re keen to learn and passionate about engineering – we can support you with the rest.

For our employer partners, you’ll have access to a brand new pool of untapped talent, coupled with the support of a training provider who can help you to support your learners to fulfil their potential and bring their best and true selves to work in your business.

Over the next week, we’ll be meeting the ED&I consultants on our blog and finding out how they’re helping us to make sure apprenticeships at OAS are open to absolutely everyone. Keep an eye on our social media to find out more…