National Inclusion Week 2021 launched on Monday, 27 September. Over the past five days, we have shared stories and resources to promote the great work
taking place to champion diversity and inclusion (D&I), both at the Defence Academy and across wider defence.
For a decade, National Inclusion Week has been celebrating everyday inclusion. This year’s theme - ‘United For Inclusion’ - aligns perfectly with the ‘One Academy’ approach at the Defence Academy, where different perspectives create better critical thinkers.
Read on for a summary of what we got up to over the week...
Fostering a positive workplace culture
According to Inclusive Employers, organisations that are focused on building a more inclusive
culture attract and retain a wider diversity of talent, as well as driving better innovation, development and engagement.
A recent survey by BUPA, however, revealed that the number of employees experiencing workplace bullying has almost doubled since 2019, despite more people working from home during the pandemic.
In 2017 the Defence Academy initiated an Active Bystander intervention to deal with inappropriate behaviour. Any form of bullying, harassment or discrimination is strictly against our code of conduct and our philosophy seeks to embrace diversity and promote inclusion, to make sure our environment is safe and supportive for all staff and students.
The Active Bystander Fundamentals course,
launched in 2019 and available through the Defence Learning Environment (DLE), is designed to help us help others who are being bullied, harassed or discriminated against. This Ministry of Defence (MOD) training, which has been completed by tens of thousands of people across the organisation, provides MOD personnel with knowledge and skills that can be used to challenge unacceptable behaviour positively and safely, while fostering a workplace culture founded on respect and dignity.
Defence Academy staff have shared their personal and professional journeys throughout National Inclusion Week 2021.
A day in the life of a D&I specialist
Each College and Group at the Defence Academy has designated a D&I Focal Point and D&I Advisors. It is their role to promote and support an inclusive environment and culture, and free from discrimination, bullying and harassment.
But how do they do that?
For National Inclusion Week, we spoke to a D&I Focal Point - Suraja Phillips (Leadership and Business Group) and a D&I Advisor – Sgt Mike Brooksbank (HQ J7), to find out more about their roles.
The roles of the D&I Focal Points and D&I Advisors include providing impartial subject matter advice; increasing understanding and engagement through education; supporting D&I initiatives within their areas; and (for Focal Points) acting as the primary ‘gateway’ for D&I matters such as policy updates.
National Inclusion Week is over for another year – but the work doesn’t stop!
Diversity and inclusion remains a priority core value that shapes how we work and interact with colleagues and students every day.
At the Defence Academy, we will continue embracing different perspectives to enrich learning, challenge thinking and encourage collaboration.