Introducing the new Inclusion Circle at Virgin Media

19 February 2016

Mid way through last year I was asked to join the new Inclusion Circle which was set up to help drive progress against our latest People focussed sustainability goal; to nurture an engaged workforce which represents the diversity of our customers and communities.

Diversity and inclusion is something I’m really passionate about, particularly how we can get more females into STEM related professions like engineering. As a female in a senior leadership position in an engineering function at Virgin Media, I feel a responsibility to help others follow the same path, both through tackling the educational barriers to girls wanting to pursue engineering as a career and making sure Virgin Media attracts and supports females into engineering roles.

As part of our latest drive, we created something we’re calling the Inclusion Circle. The Inclusion Circle is made up of senior representatives from across Virgin Media headed up by Maurice Daw, Virgin Media’s Chief People Officer, which means we have support from the top.

We’ve met twice since we began and our focus has been on ensuring we all understand what we mean by diversity and inclusion and agreeing which areas we should prioritise. We know that to make a difference that we can all be proud of, we need to focus on delivering simple changes effectively.

To help us prioritise and to gain a bit of inspiration we spent a day over at Virgin Management’s Battleship office over in Paddington. I thought it would be interesting to share with you a couple of highlights from the day:

  • Stacey Stockwell from Beans Training Limited which disability awanress training to organisations, came to talk to the group to break down some of the misconceptions around disability and introduce the type of content she has recently turned into new videos for training our staff internally. I can’t wait to see how those go down as Stacey is extremely engaging and opened our eyes to some of the challenges disabled people across the UK still face today. The session finished with Stacey teaching us all to sign the alphabet, something most of us had learned at some point in our lives but had mostly forgotten! Learning such a skill is really important when you consider that 11 million people in the UK suffer from some form of hearing loss*.
  • Simon Fanshawe and Roy Hutchins from Astar-Fanshawe, a diversity and inclusion training company, took us through some exercises to show how difference and diversity can drive business performance. One of the highlights was understanding how changing how we think about recruitment, in particular when creating role specifications, can result in a more diverse team.

The Inclusion Circle know there is plenty we can do over the next few years to boost diversity and inclusion in our company and businesses in general, whether that be supporting the pipeline of females into engineering roles, changing the way we think about recruitment at all levels or helping our managers understand how to support staff with mental health issues.

We’re excited to be building on the progress Virgin Media has made in recent years, in particular in female representation at senior levels and recruiting from a wide range of backgrounds for our apprentice scheme.

Stay posted to find out how the Inclusion Circle continues to progress.