Trailblazing partnership with charity Astriid recognised for helping those suffering from long-term chronic illness, including long-Covid, with opportunities in the workplace
Advanced, one of the UK’s largest software and services providers, has been nominated, alongside Little Mix star Leigh-Anne Pinnock, comedian John Bishop and Olympian Tom Daley for a 2022 British Diversity Award for Diversity in Tech.
The nomination recognises an initiative which has seen the British software company, which employs over 1,800 staff across the UK and 2,700 globally, sign a partnership agreement with UK registered charity, Astriid, to access a primary source of talented recruits who are affected by disability or chronic illness – including long-Covid. Roles include entry level project managers, software developers and customer service agents.
The Invisible Talent Pool
In England alone, 15 million people are living with one or more long-term health conditions. People who are diagnosed with chronic illness, or have a disability, often find their career aspirations are thwarted and they are side-lined. Many want to be able to work and make a meaningful contribution, gaining a sense of normality, routine, challenge and reward, and ultimately improve their overall well-being and mental health. They represent a significant and valuable part of the UK workforce.
Simon Short, chief operations officer at Advanced, was instrumental in driving this partnership. He commented: “Astriid was set up by my former colleague and long-time friend, David Shutts, and in my extra-curricular role as current chair of the charity Astriid, I am passionate about continuing the legacy of this remarkable man.
“Work is about so much more than simple renumeration for many people. Having a daily routine and a genuine purpose, the responsibilities and activities of work provide structure, value and meaning, challenges and rewards, and can also be a distraction from the other challenges they face day-to-day.”
Advanced is working with Astriid to fully assess what training or support it can offer in order to help make it a truly inclusive and appropriate environment for disabled and staff with chronic illnesses.
Short added: “We strive to continuously improve our approach to D&I. This year we published voluntarily our first Diversity Pay Gap report and have just launched our first ESG report. Five years ago we reformed our recruitment process to remove unconscious bias from the process, ensuring a no-CV process, which has seen more than 500 entry level people join our business, be trained and develop their careers.
“Today, 70 per cent of all experienced openings within Advanced are filled through internal mobility – that is those entry level joiners progressing upwards. We will continue to drive these programmes harder as we grow, making sure we are making a difference in doing our bit to address the digital skills gap.”
The British Diversity Awards
The awards, which received almost 20,000 nominations, will celebrate the individuals and organisations working to promote equality, diversity and inclusion, acknowledging milestones in business, media, politics and grassroots activism. TV presenter June Sarpong will host the ceremony at London's Grand Connaught Rooms on Thursday 10 March.
British Diversity Awards founder, Linda Riley, said: 'These awards will shine a light on the individuals, organisations, charities and unsung heroes who help to make the world and workplaces a better place for others across all strands of diversity.
'We believe that by continuing to celebrate Equality, Diversity and Inclusion that we can help make the UK a better place to live and work for everyone.'
The full 2022 British Diversity Awards shortlist can be found at https://www.britishdiversityawards.com/live/en/page/home