A new approach to equality and diversity for tomorrow’s STEM leaders
‘Confident Diversity’ is an innovative intervention model, developed by our Training and Development Manager, Allison Johnstone, through participation in ULAB Scotland. The Confident Diversity model looks at the issue of gender equality in STEM through a new lens: aligning the employability and equality, diversity and inclusion agendas within education. It looks to tackle occupational segregation and inequalities systematically, by taking a long-term and sustainable approach. At its heart are two key concepts:
Today’s students are tomorrow’s managers and leaders who will influence ED&I in their workplaces
To be confident in managing difference we need both knowledge and enhanced personal skills
In the “Confident Diversity” model, input is embedded throughout the curriculum and linked to Professional Institutions’ standards. Students gain knowledge of issues around equality and diversity (e.g. the business case, intersectionality, unconscious bias etc.) whilst also developing skills which will support them to manage diversity (both in terms of equality strands and diversity of work approaches); communicate effectively with a range of people; and develop self-awareness and resilience.
Small scale pilot study
Following development of the model, Equate Scotland, the Confident Futures team and the School of Engineering and the Built Environment at Edinburgh Napier University partnered to run a pilot study with 3rd Year Engineering students. The pilot received excellent student feedback, with students’ average score for confidence in talking about difference and diversity rising from 6.4 prior to the workshop to 7.9 after. Over 60% of students identified new behaviours following the workshop and almost 90% of students identified new learning.
Opportunities for Development
There are many opportunities for development of the Confident Diversity model:
Moving beyond engineering, by mapping the knowledge and skills development against other professional body standards i.e. CIPD, General Teaching Council etc.
Moving beyond universities into other education settings
Moving beyond formal education to develop CPD offerings for current engineers working towards chartered or incorporated status, or indeed those that that already are chartered and want to think more about ED&I within their workplace.
Moving beyond subjects to leadership development by aligning the model with leadership frameworks such as sustainable leadership (Hargreaves & Fink, 2006) and those outlined in Theory U (Sharmer, 2013)
The project is currently at pilot project stage. Equate Scotland is working with the Higher Education Academy (HEA) to develop at 3 year project to develop this work further. We are looking to focus this work in engineering in the first instance and are looking for project partners from industry, education and professional bodies.
“I found it very useful such as receiving information and data that we don’t usually hear about. For an example, the percentage of women in the engineering industry in the UK shocked me which was an epiphany for me to work even harder to be a part of that small percentage in the future. I learned more about my rights and what should be expected in an equal work environment so I will not blindly accept discriminatory actions. I particularly enjoyed the personality chart section, I find it particularly interesting in working with different individuals and how to compromise with others to create the most effective team. I actually used this personality chart in a Management coursework , and received some extra marks!”
Click on the different category headings to find out more. You can also change some of your preferences. Note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our websites and the services we are able to offer.
Essential Website Cookies
These cookies are strictly necessary to provide you with services available through our website and to use some of its features.
We provide you with a list of stored cookies on your computer in our domain so you can check what we stored. Due to security reasons we are not able to show or modify cookies from other domains. You can check these in your browser security settings.
Google Analytics Cookies
These cookies collect information that is used either in aggregate form to help us understand how our website is being used or how effective our marketing campaigns are, or to help us customize our website and application for you in order to enhance your experience.
If you do not want that we track your visit to our site you can disable tracking in your browser here:
Other external services
We also use different external services like Google Webfonts, Google Maps, and external Video providers. Since these providers may collect personal data like your IP address we allow you to block them here. Please be aware that this might heavily reduce the functionality and appearance of our site. Changes will take effect once you reload the page.
Google Webfont Settings:
Google Map Settings:
Google reCaptcha Settings:
Vimeo and Youtube video embeds:
The following cookies are also needed - You can choose if you want to allow them: