Employers across Northern Ireland are being encouraged to showcase their commitment to diversity and enter the Northern Ireland Equality and Diversity Awards 2020 before the application deadline of December 6th 2019.
Now in their fourth year, the Northern Ireland Equality and Diversity Awards 2020 are organised by Antrim-based Legal Island, an award-winning, workplace compliance company which helps HR professionals understand employment law and how it applies to their workplace.
The event is sponsored by Jones Cassidy Brett Solicitors and First Trust Bank and supported by Diversity NI with nijobfinder as media partner.
The awards, open to all organisations and individuals across the public, private and third sectors, provide a unique opportunity for employers in Northern Ireland to celebrate equality and diversity in the workplace and recognise those who advocate and drive diversity within their organisations.
The evening will showcase the advantages of equality and diversity to employers and the wider community, celebrating success stories of individuals, groups and employers.
Award categories include Best Employer for Equality & Diversity in Northern Ireland; Best Gender Initiative; Best LGBT Initiative; Best Disability Initiative; Best Race initiative; Individual Diversity Champion and two new categories for 2020, Best First Initiative; and Best Age Initiative.
Barry Phillips, Chair of Legal Island, organisers of the awards, explained why it is important for companies to share best practice relating to diversity. He said: “We are delighted to see the number of award entries growing significantly year on year. It has been truly inspiring to find out about the programmes and initiatives that individuals and organisations are delivering to promote diversity. The awards not only provide a channel for recognising the fantastic work that companies across Northern Ireland are doing in the area of diversity, equality and inclusion, but they also showcase it and help to share best practice and inspire others.”
Last year’s winning organisations such as Action For Children, Sensata, Gilbert-Ash, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast Health & Social Care Trust and Community Restorative Justice Ireland, Newry/Armagh were recognised for pioneering new standards of equality and diversity practices and driving the diversity agenda in Northern Ireland.
Explaining why organisations should apply, Mr Phillips added: “There are of course basic legal requirements associated with diversity, but by really embracing and valuing diversity, businesses and organisations can thrive. Advocating for diversity in the workplace helps to promote it in the wider community and this can only be good for Northern Ireland.”
Encouraging employers to apply and demonstrate their active support for equality and diversity Award sponsor, Adrian Moynihan, Head of First Trust Bank said: “By applying for these awards organisations can formally thank employees for their outstanding work. They can also demonstrate the impact equality and diversity has had on their business and reinforce their commitment to equality and diversity best practice. Participating in the awards can also help businesses to attract employees who want to work for an organisation that is a driver of diversity.
“At First Trust Bank we recognise and value diversity and it shapes all of our thinking and decision making processes and ultimately enhances outcomes for our customers and the communities we serve. We are very proud to be sponsoring the Northern Ireland Equality & Diversity Gala awards, which showcase individuals and organisations who are truly committed to inclusion.”
Fellow sponsor, Clara Fulton, Senior Partner, Jones Cassidy Brett, an employment law firm based in Belfast, which is renowned for its expertise in employment law commented: “At a time when equality and diversity issues are the focus of so much media attention, it is more important than ever to champion the good work that many employers in Northern Ireland are doing to demonstrate their commitment to equality and diversity in the workplace. These awards serve not only as a vehicle for celebrating the achievements of these employers and individuals but also as a mechanism for promoting and encouraging diversity in the workplace.”
Diversity NI, a Belfast-based accredited Chartered Institute of Linguists Exam Centre, providing professional interpreting and translation services for a wide range of private and public sector clients, is also supporting this year’s awards. The company’s founder, Paolina Hawthorne said: “I am particularly passionate about diversity in opinion, background and outlook, as it’s crucially important in order for companies to achieve their best potential. I am privileged to support this year’s Northern Ireland Equality and Diversity Awards. It provides a fantastic platform for organisations to celebrate and encourage the vast opportunities that cultural differences bring to the workplace.”
Entries are open! The deadline is 12 noon on Friday December 6th 2019.
All valid applications will be read, scored, shortlisted and applicants will be notified of results by January 13th 2020. Each shortlisted entry will be invited to meet with the judging panel for an interview on January 31st 2020. Winners will be announced at the Northern Ireland Equality and Diversity Gala & Awards 2020 on Friday April 13th 2020 at Titanic Belfast.
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