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Race for Opportunity Award winners announced

Helen Mayson

Race for Opportunity work to improve employment opportunities for ethnic minorities across the UK. Helen Mayson attended their annual awards dinner

Race for Opportunity hosted their annual Awards Dinner at the Park Lane Hilton on Tuesday 7 October, bringing together a host of senior leaders, HR and learning professionals engaged with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) issues within their organisations. The theme of the awards ceremony was 'lead from the top', emphasising the important role that CEOs and HR departments play in creating a diverse workforce.

Currently, only one in 16 of FTSE 100 board members are from a BAME background. In contrast, one in eight employers in the UK are from BAME groups, and one in four of young people in the UK are BAME.

Companies’ tone, culture and priorities are set from the top, so it’s essential for senior business leaders to engage in developing a diverse and inclusive workforce

In the leadership panel, which included representatives from event sponsors EDF energy and HSBC, leaders discussed the importance of setting an example. "Stand out there yourself with courage," said Janet Hogben, Chief People Officer from EDF energy. "Others will see your example and mobilise themselves around you."

Antonio Simoes, head of HSBC UK Bank & RBWM Europe, said that "small companies must work on unconscious bias", as despite most organisations trying to do the right thing, this boas can creep in.

“Leadership from the top on improving ethnic diversity is essential for companies to get ahead," says Adrian Joseph, Director, Search Advertising, Northern & Central Europe, Google and Chair of Race for Opportunity. "Research shows businesses with diverse boards have an average of 66% higher returns on equity, and that having a diverse team improves decision making. Our winners have demonstrated real leadership within their organisations across a wide variety of industries, and I would like to congratulate them all on their success this evening. Race for Opportunity has made excellent progress over the last year, but our work has never been more vital.”

After a rousing performance from your choral society Inner Voices, host Diane Lane Jordan announced the categories which were presented to the winners by members of the Race for Opportunity panel.

Champion Award (New for 2013)

This is for an individual whose primary job function is not in HR or diversity but who is demonstrating significant leadership and personal passion within the workplace, in order to progress the race equality, diversity and inclusion agenda. 
Winner: Paul Cleal from PwC for his role in establishing PwC’s Multicultural Business Network, implementing diversity monitoring of ethnic minorities and supporting sponsors for high profile ethnic minorities, including mentoring 20 people in 12 months. Paul’s work has meant that PwC now has a 93% disclosure rate on ethnicity and 114 BAME partners, up from 89 in 2009. (Highly Commended: Jacky Wright, Microsoft)

Collaboration and Partnership Award – Value Chain Award

This award is for a programme or initiative aimed at addressing race/ethnicity equality, diversity and inclusion by working in collaboration with clients, customers and/or suppliers from the same and/or diverse sectors. 
Winner: Transport for London (TfL) for its London Work Partnership Programme, which created 240 jobs through TfL’s supply chain in its first year and helped 112 long-term unemployed Londoners begin sustainable employment, of which 40% were BAME. (Highly Commended: Royal Air Force)

Developing Talent Award (New for 2013)

This award is for a programme or initiative which can be actively linked to developing the skills and talents of your BAME workforce and/or widening the talent pool of future leaders with high potential from diverse backgrounds. 
Winner: Crown Prosecution Service for its Developing the BAME Talent Pipeline programmes, which have widened the talent pool of potential future BAME leaders by helping them develop mentoring and coaching skills that will assist them to become better managers. 

Employee Network Award

This award category is for a public or private sector organisation, with a race or cultural diversity employee network. 
Winner: EDF Energy for its Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Network, which has grown its membership from 25 to over 200. The network also developed a pilot mentoring scheme for BAME engineers and scientists which led to an increase in Employee Engagement Survey results for BAME employees in the Central Technical Organisation where the scheme was run, and has run employability workshops for over 130 students.

Future Workforce Award – Public Sector (New for 2013)

This award recognises public sector employers that are addressing the talent pool challenge by taking action to improve and enhance the employability skills and raising the aspiration and attainment of young BAME people. 
Winner: Homes for Haringey for its pilot Project 2020, which aims to decrease the number of 16-24 year-olds in Haringey not in employment, education or training through bespoke assessment, mentoring, skills training, work experience and apprenticeships. The project launched in January 2013 and has seen five young people gain paid employment and has coached young people for job interviews.

Future Workforce Award – Private Sector (New for 2013)

This award recognises private sector employers that are addressing the talent pool challenge by taking action to improve and enhance the employability skills and raising the aspiration and attainment of young BAME people. 
Winner: Rare for its Articles Programme, a cross-industry collaboration to support BAME students committed to a career in commercial law through a seven month intensive programme. Application success rates have increased to 24.5% in 2013, with five in nine of all interviews resulting in an offer from a Rare firm. (Highly Commended: BSkyB)  

Recruiting Diverse Talent Award (New for 2013)

This award is for a programme or initiative that widens the pool of BAME talent entering an organisation’s workforce. 
Winner: Teach First for its Graduate Recruitment Diversity Strategy, which works with universities to increase the number of BAME teachers. In this recruitment year, Teach First increased its recruitment of BAME talent by 25%, with 16% of the 2012 cohort from BAME backgrounds compared to 7% of teachers overall. (Highly Commended: Barclays)

Transparency, Monitoring and Action Award (New for 2013)

This award is for a programme or initiative that recognises best practice in organisations that are leading in monitoring and evaluating the attraction, recruitment, progression, development, employee engagement, appraisal/performance ratings and retention of BAME employee in their workplace.  
Winner: Home Office for Employment Monitoring, which asks staff to complete their diversity details via a secure online tool and automatically links the data to HR processes at a high level. This automatic link has provided analysis to change processes disadvantaging BAME staff, and also supports the production of an annual Employee Monitoring Report. Since the system was introduced ethnicity declaration rates have risen from 66% to 99% and BAME representation amongst managers has doubled.

Sandra Kerr OBE, National Campaign Director of Race for Opportunity, said: “Dynamic and effective leadership is key to create real, sustainable change for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people in UK organisations. Companies’ tone, culture and priorities are set from the top, so it’s essential for senior business leaders to engage in developing a diverse and inclusive workforce. This year’s winners have worked incredibly hard to provide that leadership, and we should celebrate their efforts and achievements in promoting diverse talent across their companies.”

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