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27th Oct 2017

Awards to recognise and celebrate diversity in the workplace

EMPLOYERS across Northern Ireland are being encouraged to enter the Northern Ireland Equality and Diversity Awards 2018 to showcase their commitment to advocating diversity in their organisations.

The awards are organised by Legal-Island, a local independent multi-award winning workplace compliance company, in association with NICVA and sponsored by Diamond Recruitment Group.

They are open to the private sector (SMEs and large employers), charities, not for profit organisations and public sector bodies. Award categories include Best Employer for Diversity And Equality in NI; Best Gender Initiative; Best LGBT Initiative; Best Disability Initiative and Individual Diversity Champion. The deadline for entries is 12 noon on Wednesday December 6 and the winners will be announced at the Northern Ireland Equality and Diversity Gala & Awards 2018 on March 23, 2018 at Titanic Belfast.

Explaining the importance of the awards Chair of Legal-Island, Barry Phillips said:

“Last year’s inaugural Northern Ireland Equality and Diversity Awards were a great success. They provided an opportunity for organisations such as ArtsEkta, Helm Housing, Pinsent Masons and Queen’s University Belfast to be recognised for pioneering new standards of equality and diversity practices and driving the diversity agenda in Northern Ireland. Sharing best practice and acknowledging the efforts of staff that are working consistently to further organisational objectives in this area is extremely important.”

Mr Phillips continued:

“There are legal requirements associated with equality and diversity due to the importance of the issue. However, it is essential that employers view equality and diversity as much more than just a legal tick box exercise. Valuing diversity and recognising the multi-faceted benefits that it brings will help businesses and organisations to thrive. Driving diversity in the workplace will help drive it into the community outside too. This can only be good for Northern Ireland. I would strongly encourage employers across Northern Ireland to enter these awards.”

Legal-Island, which is headquartered in Antrim, is the go-to place for expert workplace compliance. It helps HR professionals understand employment law and how it applies to their workplace.

Award sponsor, Tina McKenzie, Group Managing Director for Diamond Recruitment Group’s parent company Staffline Group, is encouraging employers to apply and demonstrate their active support for equality and diversity. She said:

“We live in a global market. Supply chains are often global and Northern Ireland is increasingly becoming recognised as having highly skilled people in a range of specialist areas. Employers are keen to get the right person with the right skillset to help them deliver their organisational objectives. They value diversity and the Northern Ireland Equality and Diversity Awards provide a wonderful channel to recognise what employers are doing to maintain an equal and diverse workplace while allowing the wider community to celebrate in the success stories of individuals, groups and employers.”

Queen’s University Belfast was one of last year’s award winners. Judges remarked on the fact that the organisation had a number of measures in place to tackle inequality including an Inclusive Employment Scheme, which provides opportunities for people with disabilities to gain work experience; and a new online training programme, ‘Think Difference, Act Differently’, to enhance awareness of issues around disability, sexual orientation, race, transgender and religious affiliations.

Commenting on the achievement Acting Head of the Equality and Diversity Unit at Queen’s, Conor Curran said: “Queen’s University was absolutely delighted to pick up the major award at last year’s Legal Island Diversity Gala. It’s always nice to be recognised for your work and this award reflects the absolute commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion at Queen’s.

Amazing work is carried out on campus on a daily, weekly basis, to ensure Queen’s is a safe, welcoming and inclusive culture for all 27,000 students and 3,800 staff. Thank you Legal Island and good luck for 2018!”

Entries are available at https://www.legal-island.com/event/northern-ireland-equality-and-diversity-gala-awards/

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