What does Inclusion mean to you?
What does Inclusion mean to you?

What does Inclusion mean to you?

Posted on: 28/11/2017

Outsource UK hosted the second meetup in the Diversity Matters series, entitled Inspiring Inclusion in the Workplace, on Thursday 16th November, in Manchester. With our second event we chose to focus not only on diversity in its broadest sense, recognising gender diversity, but also inviting discussions around the older workforce, returners, military veterans, disabled workers and LGBT, but also ‘Inclusion’, as the instrumental element to any diversity initiative.


Our theme was "Inspiring Inclusion in the workplace" and our panellists looked at ways to retain diverse talent and introduce inclusive working practices.

Our keynote speaker, from the NCSC, discussed the culture within GCHQ - From a "call it out" motto with confidential intranet access to post complaints, to images of over 100 women in the corridors within GCHQ holding banners celebrating their achievements. 

She talked about cyber threats and needing a diverse talent pool to overcome technical challenges from different viewpoints, but also to reach out to critical businesses and industries to work together. 

Our panellists, from various backgrounds and industries, all had inspiring stories and advice to share. These included:

  • Mhairi Kennedy, Interim Group Programme Manager currently with AstraZeneca, who advised to "use your networks, the people who know you, or will know of businesses locally that champion for older or disabled workers. Find networking groups and use LinkedIN to see where your ex-colleagues went, and reach out to your communities”. She went on to comment that she regularly hires from ex-contacts or recommendations.
  • Reyana Hind of NHS Digital's CareCERT talked about being the only female apprentice in CareCERT. She didn't know what she wanted to do, and fell into a cyber apprenticeship - one of only 30 offered across the public sector. She doubted her ability all the way through the hiring process, and talked about the importance of self-belief and determination to be the best you can be."
  • Pearl Noble-Mallock of BAE Systems talked about hiding disabilities, pointing out that 43% of people with a non-visible disability hide their disability from their employers. Pearl is Dyslexic herself and only voiced this in recent years. She discussed the importance of diversity of thought and the strengths that disability can bring, for example, Pearl found she was in the 99th percentile in strategic thinking. Where there is a weakness, somewhere else there is a strength.
  • Andrea Palmer from BP and BCS Women talked about the work she does with Mentoring Scholars in deprived areas, and the reward she gets from seeing them graduate from the 9-week programme feeling more empowered and with the belief that they can go on to achieve whatever they aspire to and to consider STEM careers. BCS Women’s strategy is to attract women and girls into technology, then to retainand empower them through their careers. Andrea has used her internal BP network to create a mobile app via hackathons, to give people an opportunity to learn to code on a real-life project, to be used for networking across the organisation globally enabling on and offshore workers to be made aware of events and activities they may be interested in. The app is bringing people together and allowing everyone to be included.
  • Diversity is perceiving difference; inclusion is valuing it. Inclusion is one of BP’s top priorities. BP wants to foster an inclusive culture where everyone is able to reach their full potential. To be inclusive is a choice we each make, consciously or not, many times a day. People who feel included in BP have a sense of belonging, bring their whole selves to work, are empowered within their team and trust their colleagues: this generates great outcomes.
  • Alan Holmes from BAE Systems talked about flexibility in working hours, and the focus is on the quality of output rather than your work location, or the number of hours in a day. 
  • He also referenced a great TED talk by Elise Roy, who talks about how designing for disability can benefit everyone – sharing the examples that highlight diverse perspectives, and approaching technical problems from a different angle, can make safer solutions for everyone. The TED talk is here https://www.ted.com/talks/elise_roy_when_we_design_for_disability_we_all_benefit

We had a truly interactive panel discussion with questions flowing from the floor including John Lewis, an older worker himself, who suddenly found himself deaf 2 years ago. He pointed out that two of Google’s Head of AI are both 69 years old and are doing some amazing work for future tech. 

We also had someone from the audience ask what we knew about Stonewall, which advocates for LGBT rights and asked if this was on the panellists’ agenda.


Paul Brady, Cyber Director, from PWC closed the night with some thought provoking questions to take away, such as:

"What metrics are in place and how do we know we are doing well when it comes to diversity hiring campaigns? 

PWC, for example, has 47% females across the firm, but these numbers dwindle when you focus on Director and Partner level."

He also pointed out that if Diversity and Inclusion isn't on the Board’s agenda, change won't happen fast enough. 

We closed the event with a commitment to keep the conversation going, as by talking about inequalities and sharing ideas to address these we can begin to make a difference #OUKDiversityMatters

With regards to metrics, Outsource UK has signed up to the Tech Talent Charter, and has pledged to report on internal diversity metrics, and as we progress, with anonymised data from within the hiring community for our customers. For more details follow: https://techtalentcharter.co.uk/?s=outsource+uk

If you are looking for ways to increase your organisation's diversity or would like more information on diverse candidate attraction campaigns for your business, contact Claire Farrow at CFarrow@outsource-uk.co.uk

To discuss challenges with hiring Cyber talent, or if you are interested in working within Cyber, contact Rosie Anderson at RAnderson@outsource-uk.co.uk 


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