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Elevate Equity: A hybrid event from The Open University

Wednesday, July 26, 2023 - 09:00 to 16:30
The Open University, Hub Theatre, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA

Register now

June Sarpong OBE
June Sarpong OBE

It is widely accepted that a diverse workforce benefits businesses and organisations, bringing different experiences and perspectives into the workplace. But true equity of opportunity still evades many employers.

Equity is inextricably linked to diversity and inclusion and The Open University is pleased to invite you to our Elevate Equity event to help you make positive, real change in your organisation.

The sessions, hosted by broadcaster and diversity thought leader, June Sarpong OBE, will see experts share how they have enabled more equitable opportunities in the workplace. You'll take away strategies, insights, and ideas to empower everyone in your organisation.

We look forward to welcoming you to The Open University campus. To ensure we get the most out of the day, we would appreciate you joining us for the full conference. We will provide breakfast, lunch, and refreshments, so please advise us if you have any dietary requirements.

09:00-09:45 Arrival and breakfast
10:00-11:00 Session 1: Attracting diverse talent and breaking down barriers
11:00-11:30 Refreshment break
11:30-12:30 Session 2: Nurture diverse talent through learning and development
12:30-14:00 Lunch and networking
14:00-15:00 Session 3: Powering better business outcomes through equity
15:00-15:15 Break
15:15-16:15 Conference attendee roundtable
16:30 Event finish

Breaking down barriers during the hiring process ensures attracting the best possible talent. It comes as no surprise that demonstrating a commitment to inclusion is increasingly important for attracting talent and needs to be matched by a process that doesn’t tilt the odds towards particular characteristics.

Glassdoor found that 76% of employees and jobseekers said a diverse workforce was important when evaluating companies and job offers. Recruitment board Monster found that 62% of employees would turn down a job offer if it came from an organisation with a culture that didn’t support diversity.

But as organisations struggle to recruit with the worsening skills shortage over the last few years, exacerbated by the pandemic, political and socio-economic issues, how does attracting diverse staff look in practice now?

The panellists

Jagdeep SoorJagdeep Soor, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Multicultural Apprenticeship Alliance
Gamiel YafaiGamiel Yafai, Founder & CEO, Diversity Marketplace
Jhumar JohnsonJhumar Johnson, Chief of Staff to the Vice-Chancellor, The Open University
Rachel HugginsRachel Huggins, Practice Lead & Head of Race Representation, Audeliss

Diverse representation slows at manager/c-suite level, and organisations are losing talent due to inequitable career pathways. Experiences at work determine feelings of belonging. If employees feel valued and included, they are far more likely to become engaged and remain so. When employees are engaged in workplace learning and activities, they are typically more motivated and able to do their best work.

Around 12.5% of the UK population are from ethnic minority backgrounds – yet they hold just 6% of top management positions (McGregor-Smith Review 2017). This requires training, supporting further education, and being accommodating and flexible in workplace policies. This is in addition to offering transparent and fair promotion processes, representation in decision making, and a healthy and supportive workplace environment.

A recent report from The Open University and TrainingZone, L&D’s role in employee wellbeing, found that investing in staff training and development improves employee engagement and further helps providing staff with a career path for the future.

The panellists

Wendy RamshawWendy Ramshaw, DEI Leader and Talent Management Expert
GLucy HunteLucy Hunte, National Programme Manager, NHS England
Charlotte MosleyCharlotte Mosley, Senior People Scientist, Culture Amp
Balvinder JohalBalvinder Johal, Director of Sector Development, The Open University

Without a workplace culture that supports EDI from the top down, it cannot thrive, and neither can the organisation.

You can’t solve problems you don’t know exist. Diversity means different perspectives and experiences are present whether designing a product or understanding an audience – filling in gaps you didn’t even know were there.

A recent McKinsey report found that more diverse organisations are 36% more likely to succeed compared to less diverse ones when it comes to ethnic diversity, and 25% higher likelihood when considering gender diversity. Additionally, employee performance in diverse organisations is 12% higher than employee performance in companies with no inclusivity efforts (Gartner).

EDI needs to shift from being a HR responsibility to be a business priority. It’s not a nice to have, it’s mission critical and can only thrive if the culture is supported from the top down.

The panellists

Viren PatelViren Patel, Director of Employers and Partnerships, The Open University
Mark CameronMark Cameron OBE, CEO, The 5% Club
Sharon RaiSharon Rai, Executive Leadership Coach and Business Development Manager, Coutts

Register now

Our Elevate Equity event will be live and you have the opportunity to attend in person or virtually. To confirm your attendance, please click the relevant button below and submit your booking form.

I would like to attend in person

If you would like to attend the event in person, please register now by completing the booking form at the link below.

Attend in person - NOW CLOSED

I would like to join virtually

If you would like to join the event virtually, please register now by completing the booking form at the link below.

Join virtually - NOW CLOSED

Getting here

The Open University, Hub Theatre, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA

Google Maps link

A campus map is available to help you navigate the campus but there will be easy to follow signage.


By car: Please make your way to the Hub Theatre. There is ample spaces nearby in the ‘Church Parking’ and other car parks.
By train: The campus is 4 miles from Milton Keynes Central railway station, served by Avanti West Coast between Birmingham and London (Euston).
By taxi: Please ask the driver to take you direct to The Open University campus – Walton Hall.

More travel detail can be found here.

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Please feel free to share the registration links on your social media channels: #ElevateEquity

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