Diversity Mark Breakfast hosted by Learning Pool

Thank you to Louise McElvaney and her team for organising such a great Diversity Mark event in their fabulous new offices in Derry.  At the event our Head of Business Christine White gave a presentation with support from Dr Bryan Keating CBE, our vice chair to a group including local businesses and Learning Pool team members and we are delighted to have made many new connections in the North West.

We were thrilled to have presented founder and CEO Paul McElvaney and Louise McElvaney, Director of People and Performance and the team with the Diversity Charter Mark.  They have shown a real commitment to diversity and culture and are at a very exiting stage on their journey. 

Learning Pool have recently been named as one of twelve companies from Northern Ireland on to this year’s Deloitte Technology Fast 50, which showcases the fastest growing tech firms in Ireland based on revenue growth.

Dr Joanne Stuart OBE joins Diversity Mark Independent Assessment Panel

Dr Joanne Stuart OBE, CEO Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance (NITA)

We are thrilled to welcome Joanne Stuart to the Diversity Mark Independent Assessment Panel.

Joanne joined the NITA in March 2019. As the single independent voice for the tourism economy in Northern Ireland, NITA’s role is to be the influential voice for the Tourism economy in shaping the future growth of tourism.

Previously Joanne had a successful career spanning 30 years in Technology and Innovation holding senior roles in Oracle Corporation and more recently, as Director of Development at Catalyst.

Joanne is a former Chairwoman of Institute of Directors NI (2008-2011), and was the NI Champion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), from 2011 to 2016, focused on encouraging more young people to study the STEM subjects and addressing the gender balance through the development of the STEM Charter and network in partnership with the Equality Commission.

Joanne sits on a number of boards including the Irish Times Trust and Ulster University Council and is a member of the board of Governors of Wallace High School.

Upcoming Event:  Learning Pool hosts Diversity Mark Breakfast – 6/11/19

Learning Pool is delighted to have recently signed up to Diversity Mark NI, joining a raft of companies such as Allstate, Queens University and Belfast City Council, to recognise their commitment to Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace.

Learning Pool believe that widespread adoption of this Mark will make a genuine difference to diversity and workplace culture on a cross-sectorial basis and will help make the most of Northern Ireland’s talented workforce in a global competitive economy.

Learning Pool are delighted to welcome you along to their free breakfast event to find out more. Christine White, Head of Business at Diversity Mark and Board Member, Dr Bryan Keating, will cover aims, the benefits to your business and explain all about the process.

The event will kick-off  at 8:00AM with refreshments, finishing at 9:30AM on Wednesday 6 November.

To RSVP – Click Here 

Equality Commissioner Deborah Donnelly joins Diversity Mark Assessment Panel

Debbie has, over her career, experience in a range of high profile and often contentious areas of public sector policy and she was involved in major programmes of public sector reform on policing, criminal justice and the wider public sector. She has a long history in working on equality and human rights issues, and she is currently a Commissioner with the Equality Commission for NI. Recently she has been working with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Ireland and as an adviser to the EU on women, peace and security strategic plans and evaluation.

She chairs the Board of Ark Housing and during that time she has contributed to the positive change within the organisation which now has in place an ambitious programme and target for growth supported by robust governance arrangements.

Diversity Mark Best Practice Members Event

Diversity Mark members gathered on 22nd August for our first Best Practice event hosted by Danske Bank at the Catalyst Fintech Hub. 

At this event we heard best practice tips, and the steps to silver & gold from Diversity Mark Independent Assessors Judith Gillespie & Deborah Lange.  Nicola McCleery then presented Danske Bank’s Gender Diversity journey with the audience followed by Roundtable discussions around mentoring initiatives, gender balance through recruitment and the steps to move into other areas of Diversity. 

This event was an excellent opportunity for our members to make valuable connections and take away tips from our assessors and other members. 

Click the topics below for a summary of the notes from the Roundtables including the challenges and best practice for the initiatives discussed. We have also included a summary of the steps to Silver & Gold, as discussed at the event.

We want to thank Danske Bank for hosting and sponsoring this event.

NIFRS Diversity Success Story

Women in the Fire Service ‘Celebrating Difference Improving Delivery’ development weekend June 2019

Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Services supports ‘Women in the Fire Service UK’ (WFS), a national charity established in 1993 to enable and inspire confident and successful women to build a more progressive fire and rescue service.  WFS also focusses on improving recruitment, retention and progression of women in firefighting roles.  WFS hosts an annual development weekend at Fire Services College at Moreton-in-Marsh, England.  This year two of our Firefighters participated at the event in June 2019. 

One of the attendees, Firefighter Sharon Townsley, joined NIFRS in February 2018 as an On Call Firefighter at Ballyclare Fire Station.  Following a career in the financial industry, Sharon who is also a mother of three, wanted a fresh challenge and relished the opportunity to join NIFRS.

The 2019 WFS Development Weekend offered a range of practical job-related workshops and also sessions on diversity and inclusion; coaching for personal and professional development; fitness and wellbeing; menopause; mental health and building mentoring relationships and Sharon was asked for her feedback.

This year Sharon reported that her experience at the Development Weekend helped her gain confidence in her own abilities as a Firefighter and taking part in the practical workshops reinforced her knowledge and training to date.  Sharon also enjoyed engaging with attendees from other countries and learning from shared experiences, saying she had made lifelong friendships.   Notably, she came away motivated to enhance her personal development through further study and maximising networking opportunities. 

“I feel that being in an all-female training environment was very beneficial to instil confidence in our abilities as Firefighters as we are still very much outnumbered by our male counterparts with in NIFRS…..this was a worthwhile experience for myself and my team member from NIFRS, especially as we are newly qualified Fire Fighters.  You gain a hands-on approach to Firefighting in a realistic environment with fires on multiple floor, rooms and different types of properties. These range from domestic properties to commercial premises to high rise. These fires are very effective live burns, you get exposure in real life situations and you can get maximum fire temperatures created within bespoke cribs which are filled with hay. Learning about burn patterns was fascinating on my Fire Investigation Workshop, how a body or a piece of furniture can provide essential information to the investigator.

I would highly recommend this weekend for male and female delegates as other forces throughout the UK have already started to send male delegates, spaces permitting….I feel it’s a worthwhile investment for my personal development and future within NIFRS.” 

Dany Cotton (left), first female Commissioner of London Fire Brigade, NIFRS Firefighters Sharon Townsley (middle) and Claire Hillen (right) at the Women in the Fire Service Development Weekend June 2019

Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service Chairperson Wins UK ‘Champion for Women’ Award

Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) Chairperson, Carmel McKinney OBE, has won a UK ‘Champion for Women’ Award in the Rising Star Awards 2019. Carmel received the accolade in recognition of her work as a senior leader in actively supporting and nurturing female talent.

The UK wide Awards, sponsored by the Times and the Sunday Times, celebrate and recognise female contributors that represent the leaders and role models of tomorrow. Carmel is the only female from Northern Ireland to win and was one of 5 winners in the Rising Star ‘Champions’ category.

Upon receiving the Champion for Women Award, Carmel said:

“As Chairperson of NIFRS, I am extremely passionate about mentoring, promoting and supporting women in the workplace and this award is very special in that regard.  To be the only female winner from Northern Ireland is a great honour alongside so many remarkable women. 

“Every day I encounter exceptional up and coming female talent. It’s great to see women supporting women in the workplace and learning from each other. As senior leaders we play an important role in nurturing and empowering those women who will become the leaders of the future and I am humbled by this recognition.”

The winners were announced for the 2019 ‘We Are The City’ Rising Star Awards and took place at a ceremony in the Landmark Hotel, London on, 3rd July 2019.

In her capacity as NIFRS Chairperson, Carmel actively promotes the role of women both in leadership and management roles and also those working as Firefighters.  Women remain under-represented amongst Firefighters in NIFRS and Carmel is a strong advocate for outreach, encouraging women to consider Firefighting as a viable career choice.

Carmel McKinney OBE, winner of the We Are The City ‘Champion for Women’ Rising Star Award

Bank of Ireland, Slice Belfast & Liberty IT awarded the Bronze Diversity Charter Mark

We want to congratulate Bank of Ireland, Slice Belfast & Liberty IT for passing the Diversity Mark independent assessment and achieving the Bronze Diversity Charter Mark.  These organisations within their applications have shown a real commitment to implementing inclusive growth and cultural shifts within the workplace.

Diversity Mark NI Independant Assessment Event

Diversity Mark NI Independent Assessors give their time freely as they are passionate about being involved in making a positive impact on our economy through diversity. They bring a robust rigour to the process and are an asset to the organisation.  Here is what they had to say about being involved with us at the latest assessment event:

Judith Gillespie, former Deputy Chief Constable, PSNI. “One of the many reasons why I became involved in the Diversity Mark Assessment was to help recognise that despite continuing challenges, many organisations are making real progress in innovative ways to remove cultural and other barriers to full gender integration and equality in NI.”

Deborah Lange, Board Member Invest NI & Belfast Harbour Commission. “I am delighted to be an Independent Assessor for the WIB charter mark to help promote the benefits of equality in the workplace to both individual employees & the employers.”

Kieran Harding, Managing Director of Business in the Community. “I very much welcome the opportunity to help raise the bar in terms of Gender Diversity and recognise examples of best practice in workplaces across Northern Ireland.”

Dianne Foster, Director IT Service Delivery, Baker McKenzie. “As well as simply being ’the right thing to do’ I believe that companies that proactively manage gender diversity and have long term commitment to it can reap crucial competitive benefits.”



Registration Page

Annual Costs

  • 4000+ Employees
    Annual Cost £4800
  • 2000-3999 Employees
    Annual Cost £3600
  • 1000-1999 Employees
    Annual Cost £3000
  • 500-999 Employees
    Annual Cost £1800
  • 250-499 Employees
    Annual Cost £1200
  • 100-249 Employees
    Annual Cost £900
  • 1-99 Employees
    Annual Cost £600