Goldsmiths, University of London has been nominated for the Diverse Company Award at The National Diversity Awards 2014.
Goldsmiths is the only university nominated for the award, which identifies companies that have a diverse workforce and demonstrate a real commitment to helping people from deprived areas further their careers. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on 26 September.
Goldsmiths has a long history of engaging with diverse audiences. It places diversity right at the heart of its offer to students and staff, and has developed a number of ways to remove the obstacles that people may face in accessing higher education. These include:
- Financial support like the Lewisham Fee Waivers
- Open Book, which works with those from offending and addiction backgrounds to encourage them to take up education. So far this project has enabled more than 60 adults from socially excluded groups to find places on undergraduate courses at both Goldsmiths and other educational institutions
- Progression agreements with local schools. The Department of Art, for example, signed an agreement with Lewisham College which allows local learners to explore Goldsmiths, consult with tutors on their portfolio, attend workshops, before receiving an opportunity to apply for a place on the art programmes
Charlene, who received a Lewisham Fee Waiver in 2012, and studies Popular Music, said: “I’m really blessed to have this bursary. It covers my full tuition fees so I couldn’t ask for anything more than that; it’s really going to help me a lot after university.”
The university also has a range of internship programmes for students from local sixth form colleges and schools. This gives them an insight into the world of employment in the higher education sector, in a variety of roles, and provides them with a number of skills that could be useful in their career paths.
The institution employs a diverse staff force, with over half of the Senior Management Team being female. Six out of seven Heads of Service at the university are women – even in traditionally male-dominated areas like Estates and Finance.
Goldsmiths is also working closely with the Leadership Foundation’s Aurora programme. This encourages a wide range of women in academic and professional roles to think of themselves as leaders, develop leadership skills, and helps institutions maximise the potential of such women.
Speaking about the diversity of the management team, particularly in relation to women, Liz Bromley, Registrar and Secretary at Goldsmiths, said: “I recognise how lucky I am to work with so many talented women – from experts in communications to people helping us to innovate and repurpose our estate. Their work helps Goldsmiths stand out as a centre of academic excellence that innovates and reinvents the world around us. These women will one day be taking this valuable experience to the next step in their careers, that of leading universities, and I feel it is our duty as an institution to help them to reach that goal.”
Patrick Loughrey, the Warden of Goldsmiths, said: “Our success as an institution is down to our vibrant community. One of the great joys of working at Goldsmiths is the chance to collaborate and work with staff and students who have had so many different experiences – it empowers us; it allows us to challenge the world around us; and it gives us a unique perspective that other universities don’t have. We’re absolutely thrilled to be nominated for this award.”