True Diversity feat. Bath Spa

As part of the “True Diversity” initiative we spoke with Anna Walker, Head of Business Development at Bath Spa University.

The purpose of our initiative and series “True Diversity” is to feature, collate and showcase the breadth of initiatives and views that are all on a mission to work towards True Diversity and Inclusion.

Tony @ ADLIB: Let’s start with the need for Diversity and Inclusion, what’s your take – why is it so important?

Anna: There’s a business case and a human case. Having diversity brings new ideas and widens your pool of potential employees. Having diverse organisations can also go some way towards reducing inequality, as it provides a diverse set of role models that more of the population can relate to (acknowledging that educational and other inequality/inequity is much more complicated than this!)

Tony @ ADLIB: Can you share a little bit more about what you do – what’s the purpose and mission of your initiative/ programme/ organisation?

Anna: Our Skills Bootcamps have been designed in partnership with the Department for Education to address identified skills gaps, especially within the West of England. These short courses of up to 12 weeks allow students to build up sector-specific skills and support you towards employment. We currently have courses running in digital marketing, data science, web development and cyber security.

The purpose of these courses is to help people get back into the workforce, change career or progress in their current industry. You don’t need any previous experience to take part in these courses, just a willingness to learn. To make them more accessible to a wider audience, these courses are completely free to complete.

Since September 2021, Bath Spa University has taught over 500 students the sector-specific skills needed to start their dream careers through a Skills Bootcamp. This includes improving their employability and soft skills based on proven methods for CV and personal statement writing, and interview techniques.

Over half of these students have secured new roles in tech since completing their short course.

We also provide six months of employability support to our students after completing a Skills Bootcamp. This includes their lecturers signposting networking events and job vacancies. They’ll also receive a quarterly newsletter with the latest training opportunities, jobs fairs and tech events.

Tony @ ADLIB: What do you consider potential consequences of a lack of Diversity and Inclusion and what do you see as the main benefits of an inclusive workforce?

Anna: Diverse organisations tend to be more creative and innovative, as there is a broader range of experiences, personalities, skills and specialisms to draw upon. Aside from being vital itself, this can have a range of wider benefits e.g. decreased staff turnover, increased organisational effectiveness, increased employee engagement and satisfaction. Together, these lead to increased organisational performance.

Tony @ ADLIB: How can businesses and potential employers get involved with your initiative/ programme/ organisation?

Anna: In the past we’ve had employers hold guest lectures and workshops for our students, giving them a first-hand look at what working in their chosen industry is like. We’ve had employers get involved with the final project our students complete on the course by setting briefs and providing feedback after their project presentations.

Some employers have also offered developmental interviews for our students and signposted upcoming opportunities within their companies.

From student feedback we’ve found that having employers involved in the courses has been one of the most beneficial aspects for them. We’re open to collaboration and if there are any other ways you’d like to get involved please get in touch with us.

For more information about our Skills Bootcamps, please visit our website.

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Head of Marketing, Digital & eCommerce

Agency & In-house Marketing

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Tony Allen