The Utility Regulator Join Diversity Mark Accreditation Programme

We are delighted to welcome on board the Utility Regulator as Diversity Mark’s newest signatory. The Utility Regulator is responsible for regulating the electricity, gas, water and sewerage industries in Northern Ireland and promoting the short- and long-term interests of consumers. The team are eager to continue their Diversity and Inclusion journey by working towards achieving the Bronze Diversity Mark Accreditation. The accreditation is based around three gender based targets that provide a framework for measurable and progressive success moving forward.

Their recently appointed CEO, John French has taken the time to explain how important it was for the organisation to sign up to Diversity Mark.


John French CEO at Utility Regulator is delighted to champion the organisations diversity and inclusion programme
John French, CEO at Utility Regulator

What prompted you as Chief Executive of the Utility Regulator to join the Diversity Mark Accreditation Programme?

Previously as Chief Executive of The Consumer Council, I and the team there, had been successful in gaining the Bronze Diversity Mark. I felt that within The Consumer Council the Diversity Mark Accreditation Programme had been an important step in the organisation’s development. The Diversity Mark process actively and positively changed many internal conversations. The Programme showed that there was a genuine commitment throughout the organisation to be inclusive, and that commitment in turn increased trust, and developed a unified sense of purpose. Therefore, in my new role as Chief Executive of the Utility Regulator, I thought that committing to the Diversity Mark Accreditation Programme was an important step in recognising the importance of diversity and inclusion within organisations, and that it could be used as a driver for generating an more inclusive culture.

What do you see as the main benefits in working towards achieving and maintaining the Diversity Mark accreditation?

Working towards the Diversity Mark accreditation provides staff and external stakeholders a visible sign of an organisation’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. It shows that everyone within the organisation is valued.    

Would you recommend the accreditation programme to others?

I would absolutely recommend the Diversity Mark accreditation programme to other organisations. The programme provides a helpful approach that enables structured and meaningful discussions around diversity and inclusion to take place in the workplace. 

Thank you to John French, we are thrilled to have the Utility Regulator on board as a Diversity Mark Signatory.

Utility Regulator for electricity water and gas in Northern Ireland join Diversity Mark accreditation programme.

Find out more about the Diversity Mark Accreditation Programme.

Texthelp awarded Bronze Diversity Mark for commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion

We are thrilled to announce that Texthelp have been awarded the Bronze Diversity Mark, in recognition of their work in diversity, equity and inclusion. It marks an important step in their journey towards growing a more inclusive workplace where all employees can thrive. 

As part of the assessment process Texthelp submitted a detailed 3-year plan to advance gender diversity in the workforce. Their Diversity Mark application was assessed by an independent panel of experts, who commended Texthelp’s progress and ambitions. The panel also suggested a number of  targets to action as they work towards the Silver Diversity Mark. 



Among Texthelp’s agreed objectives, they plan to institute a company-wide D&I policy with input from employees and external resources. Alongside this, they will continue to engage in industry partnerships and initiatives aimed at widening female participation in technology. They will also take conscious action to widen their pool of female applicants for developer roles. 

Texthelp CEO and founder Martin McKay said:

“The products and services we provide at Texthelp are forward-thinking and inclusive at their core. As we set out our company vision for the future, we want to ensure our workplace culture and structure better reflect the diverse audiences we serve. This award marks an important step in achieving that.”  

HR Officer Andrew McDermott added:

“We believe that having a diverse and well-balanced workforce should no longer be an aspiration, but a necessity. We are confident that by improving diversity within our organisation, we will benefit from different perspectives, improved relations, and more creative ideas, positioning us to offer better solutions to our customers.”

Christine White, Head of Diversity Mark added:

“We are delighted to recognise Texthelp for their commitment to Gender Diversity by awarding them the Bronze Diversity Mark. Our independent assessment panel welcomed their enthusiastic approach to building a more diverse company and making the clear connection between diversity and inclusion and business growth. We congratulate everyone at Texthelp on this achievement and we look forward to working with them as they develop their diversity initiatives over the coming years.”

Huge congratulations once again to all the team at Texthelp.

Find out more about the Diversity Mark accreditation scheme and how you can get involved here.

AMS awarded Silver Diversity Mark

We are delighted to announce that AMS have been awarded the Silver Diversity Mark. The award recognizes AMS’s commitment to Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace. Following a number of initiatives launched by the business to achieve silver status, including a maternity paternity programme to support working parents back into employment, a mentoring programme and a number of awareness initiatives such as Pride events and diversity inclusion days.

Marcella McKeever, Head of the Belfast Global Client Service Centre said:

“Having previously been awarded the Bronze Diversity Charter Mark for our gender diversity and inclusivity actions, AMS took action to drive new diversity targets across the business, which included addressing disability and social mobility in the workplace.  In addition to continuing to champion our initiatives across our gender diversity objectives, our aim is to become a Disability Confident Employer and provide an impact on our communities by accessing and progressing talent from all socio-economic backgrounds with the aim of improving social equality in our workplace.  We believe that a diverse, equity and inclusive workforce is not only the right ethos to have but crucial to the development and success of our people.”

Christine White, Head of Diversity Mark added:

“We are thrilled that AMS have been awarded the Silver Diversity Mark in recognition of their progress and ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Our independent assessment panel congratulated AMS on their proactive and positive approach with excellent progress demonstrated against their Gender Diversity targets.  They were also commended on their new focus and commitment to addressing Inclusion for people with Disabilities and their worthwhile work around Social Mobility in the workplace. 

We congratulate everyone at AMS on their innovative and progressive approach and we look forward to supporting them on their Diversity and Inclusion journey over the coming years whilst they maintain the highly robust Silver Accreditation and strive towards the Gold Diversity Mark.”

AMS Silver Diversity Mark

AMS is committed to continuing its journey to becoming a top diversity employer. It continues to dedicate resources to becoming a Disability Confident Employer and improve social mobility through a number of campaigns to create new career opportunities for local communities.

Congratulations once again to all the team at AMS. We are excited to continue your Diversity and Inclusion journey with you, striving for the Gold Diversity Mark in the future!

Find out more about the Diversity Mark Acreditation Programme.

NI Water awarded Bronze Diversity Mark for the third year running

Diversity Mark are delighted to announce NI Water is celebrating having been awarded the Bronze Diversity Charter Mark for the third year running. The prestigious award recognises the company’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion and creating an environment where everyone matters.

Sara Venning, CEO at NI Water, commented:

“Being awarded the Diversity Charter Mark is a proud moment for NI Water. The Charter is recognition of how we have worked to create a culture at NI Water where everyone can fulfil their full potential.

“We were particularly delighted with the independent panels recognition of our recent apprenticeship recruitment campaign.  This resulted in the recruitment of four female water apprentices (13% of this year’s cohort) which helps increase female representation within our frontline workforce.”

Christine White, Head of Diversity Mark, added:

“We congratulate Northern Ireland Water on retaining the Bronze Diversity Mark for a third year which is a testament to their progress and commitment to gender diversity. Our assessment panel were so encouraged by the progress achieved over the last year through the clear focus on improving gender diversity in a very challenging context. We look forward to further progress in 2022 and we are delighted to work with them as they continue this exciting journey.”

Ms Venning concluded:

“It is fantastic to pause and reflect on the hard work completed by the team at NI Water to retain this challenging standard of best practice. We have an exciting time ahead building on the success we have enjoyed to date.”  

Hear from NI Water apprentice, Erin Tennyson. Erin grew up and still lives in Lurgan, County Armagh.

“I was motivated to apply for this apprenticeship in the water industry while doing my dissertation at uni on the water quality of Lough Neagh. When I saw this apprenticeship advertised I knew it would be perfect to help me gain more knowledge and hands on experience.”

“I love this industry and find it really interesting so gaining new skills within it will be great. I also hope this course will lead me to a career for life, I am enjoying working for NI Water so much already.”

Find out more about the Diversity Mark Acreditation Programme.

Signifyd awarded Bronze Diversity Mark

We are delighted to announce that Signifyd have been awarded the Bronze Diversity Mark. The accreditation recognises Signifyd’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Signifyd started their Diversity Mark journey in June 2020.

“We congratulate Signifyd on achieving the Bronze Diversity Mark for their commitment and dedication to gender diversity. Our independent assessment panel were thoroughly impressed with their measurable, tangible metrics and visible action plans which will ultimately benefit all employees, and they welcomed the clarity of their application and their energetic approach. We are excited to work with Signifyd on their diversity and inclusion journey as it unfolds over the coming years.”

Christine White, Head of Business at Diversity Mark

Matthew Hamilton is Signifyd’s senior HR manager based in the UK. Matthew is responsible for People Operations across our EMEA region and has interests in employee engagement, diversity, equity and inclusion and mental health.


Matthew posted about what it means for Signifyd to be recognised for their commitment, you can read his blog by clicking here.

Congratulations once again to all the team at Signifyd.

Find out more about the Diversity Mark Acreditation Programme.

Deloitte awarded Silver Diversity Mark for commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Joanna Karlic and Kerrie Irvine from the Deloitte team with their Silver Award for Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
Joanna Karlic and Kerrie Irvine from the Deloitte team with their Silver Award for Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Professional services firm Deloitte has become only the third company in Northern Ireland to be awarded a Silver Mark for diversity and inclusion practices by awarding body, Diversity Mark NI.

It is currently the highest level available, and to date only Allstate NI and Danske Bank have received the accolade.

Assessors commended the firm’s efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace, with Deloitte’s Belfast Balance team recognised for its hard work and commitment to driving the respect and inclusion and wellbeing agendas.

Jackie Henry, office senior partner at Deloitte in Belfast said: “This validates the effort so many people in the team have put in to ensure we are an employer that walks the walk on diversity and inclusion and doesn’t just talk about it to tick a box.

“We will work hard to make sure we keep evolving as an employer and remain committed to improving our workplace and culture even further so that every colleague continues to feel valued, respected and able to be themselves at Deloitte.”

Christine White, head of business from Diversity Mark NI added: “Our independent assessment panel commended Deloitte on a comprehensive submission and recognised that they are delivering on a wide-ranging inclusion agenda which is both meaningful and responsive to the need of their employees.

“We congratulate everyone at Deloitte on this achievement and look forward to working with them on their Diversity journey over the next number of years striving towards the Gold Diversity Mark.”

Diversity Mark applications are assessed by an independent panel of experts, who looked at a number of Deloitte’s diversity initiatives.

Among these were Deloitte’s ambitious UK wide targets for gender balance over the next three to 10 years, with an ultimate goal of 50-50 gender balance across all grades by 2030.

Deloitte’s gender balance network in Belfast holds regular events to promote female role models locally and to help develop women in the firm.

The application also highlighted a commitment to meaningful interventions on ethnic diversity across the firm, including voluntarily reporting on the firm’s ethnicity pay gap, and renewing its employee life-cycle processes to remove any bias.

Find out more about the Diversity Mark Accreditation Programme.

Encirc Champion Equality Diversity and Inclusion in Manufacturing

Bottle manufacturer Encirc Champion Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Manufacturing sector.

Launched in Northern Ireland in 1998, Encirc manufacture over four billion glass containers each year for some of the world’s leading food and beverage brands. In addition to their NI operation in Derrylin, Fermanagh, they have two other sites in England and Italy, and employ over 1,500 people across the business. The company is owned by world-leading glass manufacturer, The Vidrala Group.

Encirc is renowned for leading the way in responsible operations, with sustainability at the heart of the business. The company endeavours to protect natural resources and the environment, minimise wastage and emissions, while promoting safe and ethical working practices. Supporting employees’ learning and development, their health and wellbeing, and instilling the key pillars of honesty, transparency, and equality in team members are core values of the organisation.

Getting Started on the Diversity Mark Accreditation Programme

Fiacre O'Donnell,  Director of Sustainability at Vidrala explains why Encirc joined the Diversity Mark accreditation programme and shares some insights on the first steps they’ve taken in their journey
Fiacre O’Donnell

Fiacre O’Donnell, Director of Sustainability at Vidrala explains why Encirc joined the Diversity Mark accreditation programme and shares some insights on the first steps they’ve taken in their journey.

“Encirc needs to be a great place to work for everyone, regardless of their background or demographic. By joining the Diversity Mark accreditation programme in January 2020, we were able to get some valuable guidance on how best to integrate equality, diversity, and inclusive practices into our business.

With the company executive promoting the EDI programme, we were able to push on with our plans to build a progressive workplace. Initially, one of the challenges was to get individuals to put themselves forward for roles in our new Network Committee. We knew early on that we needed to work on our messaging so that everyone fully understands that equality, diversity, and inclusion policies and activities benefit the business, and all employees.  Everyone has an important part to play in making Encirc a great place to work.”

Project 1: Encirc Women’s Network

To progress the plans to develop an internal women’s network which would support and champion gender equality across Encirc, the company advertised the roles and were delighted to see five women in the business step up to form a committee. 

Kate Lynch, Operations Manager at Encirc and Chair of the company’s Women’s Network champions gender equality within the workplace.
Kate Lynch

Kate Lynch, Operations Manager at Encirc and Chair of the company’s Women’s Network explained that three projects had been identified by the original committee.  The first of these focused on establishing an internal network to champion gender diversity in the workplace.

“Manufacturing has an obvious and visible issue with gender diversity, but also a skills shortage.  We’re passionate about seeing more women in manufacturing and developed a series of interviews with female members of our team known as Women with Bottle.” 



The plans included hosting a launch event in December 2020, followed by a cultural survey to explore perceptions, and a series of workshops. The cultural survey has now been completed with employees and the next step is to roll out the workshops to address the issues identified and develop action plans. These sessions will be guided by Stephanie Reid from Business in the Community (BITC) and will be attended by both males and females from across the group. 

The team also organised a virtual conference at the start of March to coincide with International Womens’ Day celebrations, with well-known gender diversity advocate, Michelle King, author of ‘The Fix’ joining as the guest speaker. 

Going forward, the Women’s Network will work closely with the project leads of the additional two schemes in the pipeline to bring those to life.

Project 2: HOCAM

The Encirc HOCAM (Helping Our Communities Achieve More) programme is next on the agenda.  This is an outreach programme to the communities around the business and has been developed in partnership with BITC.

Project 3: More Women in Manufacturing

The third project will focus on Women in Manufacturing, exploring opportunities to attract more females to apply for positions within the company.

Encirc is working closely with Business in the Community (BITC) and Diversity Mark in all of these areas, and although only at the start of their journey, it is going well so far.

Building The Structures for Success

Fiacre and the team feel that to really embed equality, diversity and inclusion principles and activities at every level and location within the organisation, a good structure is required, along with motivated individuals to bring it to life. He adds that those individuals need to receive support from senior members of the company’s management team.  It’s vital to be available to offer support and keep everyone motivated, especially when any negativity is noted.

Fiacre and the newly developed Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion teams recognise that the journey will not be without obstacles and some adversity will be experienced because this programme can be seen as challenging the norm. One of the early learnings has been recognising the need to be careful with the wording used to convey the organisations messages around equality, diversity, and inclusion, to enable employees to recognise that it is not a female only programme.  Gender diversity is just one aspect of a much wider set of values that the organisation subscribes to which make up their overall Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Charter.

Making a Difference

Helen Rose, Integrated Business Planning Manager at Encirc, and Vice Chair of the Women’s Network is excited about the future positive impact of their equality, diversity, and inclusion projects on Encirc’s people, and the company as a whole.
Helen Rose

Discussing the value of the programme to the organisation, Helen Rose, Integrated Business Planning Manager at Encirc, and Vice Chair of the Women’s Network is excited about the future positive impact of their equality, diversity, and inclusion projects on Encirc’s people, and the company as a whole.

“Already, I see a real sense of purpose, not only amongst the main network committee but with others close to it.  I see great levels of participation in activities and a shared ambition to create a more inclusive workplace.  These activities are outside of the ‘normal’ duties of everyone’s role and are about self (not just business) development.  It’s very encouraging to see people step up and support the process, and challenge more traditional perceptions and opinions. “

The team at Diversity Mark are excited about continuing to support Encirc on their journey and sharing the progress of the team in the coming months.

Find out more about joining the Diversity Mark Accreditation programme.