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Our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Work

At the Association of Colleges we take equality, diversity and inclusion seriously. We are acutely aware of the inequalities within the FE sector, and the need for more urgent, concerted work to ensure an inclusive enviroment, better diversity and equality of opportunity is embedded throughout all we do.

Our ambition for a fairer society in line with our values in which everyone can succeed will only be achieved with a continued effort towards increasing the diversity of leadership and governance, creating an inclusive, open and diverse culture which supports students and staff and actively promoting faireness and respect across the sector.

We know that to best support students now and in the future, we need to reflect the communities we serve. While work has been undertaken in the past to address the underrepresentation of protected characteristic groups, there is a need for more urgent, concerted work to support and increase diverse leadership. This year we have committed to work on policies and practices that have a positive impact on all protected characteristics.

Black FE Leadership Group and AoC Partnership Agreement

The Black Further Education Leadership Group (BFELG) and Association of Colleges (AoC) have a shared commitment to anti-racism in Further Education. This Partnership Agreement details how the Association of Colleges (AoC), its subsidiary companies and the Black Further Education Leadership Group (BFELG) wish to work together in support of FE colleges in becoming anti-racist, within individual organisation and at a sector level. You can download the agreement below.

    Equality, Diversity and Inclusion steering group

    In 2019, we convened an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion steering group made up of leaders in the sector and EDI specialists, which had a remit of working to increase the diversity of leadership and governance in the sector, through influencing DFE on policy, ETF on development and sharing practice in the sector.

    The group has agreed an action plan which will be regularly RAG rated for progress. The commitment around influencing policy and the shape of ITE to ensure that college is a welcoming space for all, and the potential for FE to be seen as an attractive career prospect for more diverse communities are at the heart of the work, in addition to sharing practice and facilitating thought leadership on EDI.

    You can download the group's acitivies and goals along with their action plan below.

    Diversity in Leadership

    Diversity in Leadership is an ETF delivered programme offering a series of workshops on unconscious bias, a toolkit (available below) for managers, individual coaching sessions for managers from a BME background and support with developing an FE charter / commitment to inclusion and diversity. You can find out more here and dowload the toolkit below.

    Diversity in Leadership toolkit