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Focusing on ED&I at OAS

It’s no secret that there are multiple and complex ED&I challenges throughout the UK manufacturing sector, with underrepresentation in particular of ethnic minorities, females, neurodiversity, physical and / or mental disabilities and socioeconomically challenged backgrounds within the engineering workforce. In combination with the ongoing STEM skills challenges and compounded by the continuing pandemic, there has never been a more critical time to create a robust, diverse and future-focused talent pool to support innovation and safeguard the sector.

Here at OAS, we are committed to working collaboratively to address these challenges, and this summer UKAEA appointed James Jackson as Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) Partner to OAS to lead our approach to change. Together, we aim to:

  • Increase awareness of OAS apprenticeships
  • Improve access routes into level 3 and 4 apprenticeships within manufacturing and engineering
  • Increase diversity within applicants and onboarded apprentices by September 2021, focusing on
    • Gender
    • Ethnic Populations, Intersectionality and Cultures (EPIC)
    • Disabilities
    • Socioeconomic backgrounds
  • Increase volumes and completion of successful level 3 and 4 apprenticeships
  • Become recognised as the ED&I industry leading apprenticeship training provider
  • Develop a more inclusive workspace

Our ultimate goal is to improve inclusive access to apprenticeships, and then to provide additional support to ensure all apprentices are empowered and supported to complete their programme. We will be updating you regularly with our latest ED&I news and initiatives, sharing opportunities for you to get involved, and inviting your ideas and feedback along the way.

We’ll also be marking and celebrating some key events in the diversity calendar. In September, we celebrated National Inclusion Week, and we took part in Black History Month throughout October.

National Inclusion Week

On 28 September, we kicked off our National Inclusion Week activities. This event is designed to celebrate everyday inclusion in all its forms. This year’s theme of ‘Each One, Reach One’ focused on how connecting with others helps build greater understanding about the opportunities of inclusion and connection, and inspiring individuals and organisations to make inclusion an everyday reality.

We shared videos on social media throughout the week, talked to some of our training team and apprentices about what inclusion means to them, what inclusion looks like at OAS, and what we can do to be more inclusive as we move forward.

Black History Month

During October we dedicated space and resources to celebrate Black History Month (BHM) for the first time since OAS opened its doors in September last year. BHM is about recognising and celebrating the culture, history and the many positive and significant contributions and achievements that black people have made both within the UK and across the globe.

We ran information and education activities throughout the month, sharing details about the origins and significance of BHM itself, as well as celebrating the achievements of inspirational black figures. We also talked about what the month means to OAS, and sharing examples of how we’re living and breathing BHM in our training centre. Check out our social media channels to see how we celebrated.

Introducing James Jackson

We’re delighted to welcome UKAEA’s James Jackson to the OAS team!

As ED&I Partner to OAS, James will be leading our teams in the creation and implementation of an ED&I programme of outreach activity, education and access infrastructure.

James has been transforming UK learning programmes and workplace cultures throughout his 14 years of experience in human resources, learning and development, customer experience and ED&I, and has received national awards in recognition for his work in this space.

His approach centres upon the philosophy that ED&I is not just a destination, but a journey in response to societal evolution. Crucially, this means that OAS is committed to ensuring that all of our stakeholders throughout our employer partners, applicants, apprentices and colleagues join us on this journey of education and action, contributing to our process and participating in our progress.

If you’d like to know more, or if you have any questions for James or the OAS team, then please contact us at employer.enquiries@the-mtc.org.