FinTrU awarded the Silver Diversity Mark for their commitment to diversity and inclusion

FinTrU is delighted to announce that the company has been awarded the Silver Diversity Mark for its continued commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The Diversity Mark is awarded to companies following an independent assessment process which ensures they have reached the required standard of commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion. FinTrU is one of seven organisations in Northern Ireland to have been awarded the Silver Diversity Mark out of 90 organisations.

Darragh McCarthy, Founder & CEO

Speaking of the achievement, FinTrU Founder & CEO, Darragh McCarthy said “FinTrU’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is unwavering as we continue to grow as a company. We want all employees to have a sense of belonging at FinTrU and to be their true selves at work. I am very proud of the teams, committees and leaders at FinTrU who have brought our diversity and inclusion commitment to life with their dedication to events, education and engagement. Our goal is to continue to be a leading employer in Northern Ireland and we are steadfastly focused on ensuring our company provides everyone with the opportunity to be comfortable at their workplace and excel in their careers.”

Diversity Mark’s independent panel commended FinTrU for succeeding the target for Gender diversity at entry level, commitment to female development at all levels, employee centric response to BAME related matters, and the continued efforts in educating employees on issues affecting those within both BAME and LQBTQ+ communities. They have recognised FinTrU’s diversity and inclusion efforts as exemplary and noted that as a leading organisation in Northern Ireland, they can be at the forefront of influencing others to follow their lead.

Christine White, Head of Business at Diversity Mark addedWe congratulate everyone at FinTrU on their innovative and progressive approach and we look forward to supporting them on their Diversity and Inclusion journey over the coming years.”

Sinead Carville, Chief Human Resources Officer

FinTrU Chief Human Resources Officer, Sinead Carville, added “We are very proud of this recognition and we want to acknowledge the fantastic work that our employees have put in to create a welcoming environment for all people. We strongly believe that giving our people a voice to drive employee engagement in this area has led to this recognition. FinTrU is extremely committed to diversity and inclusion as a means to support our employees. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it also plays an imperative role in the successes achieved by our people at FinTrU.”

With the Silver Diversity Mark achieved, FinTrU’s target moves towards Gold recognition. There are currently no organisations in Northern Ireland with the Gold Diversity Mark and FinTrU will continue to strive to demonstrate this standard.

Once again huge congratulations to all the team at FinTrU on being awarded the Silver Diversity Mark.

You can read more about Diversity Mark Accreditations here.

You can learn more about FinTrU’s commitment to diversity here.

Danske Bank announces CEO transition

UK Chief Executive, Kevin Kingston and Current Deputy CEO, Vicky Davies at Diversity Mark signatory Danske Bank.

Diversity Mark Silver accredited Danske Bank UK Chief Executive, Kevin Kingston, has decided to retire later this year. Current Deputy CEO, Vicky Davies, will then take up the position, subject to regulatory approval.

Chair of the Bank’s Board, Gerald Gregory, said:

“As CEO Kevin has made a huge contribution to the strategic and cultural development of the Bank. His personal commitment and strong leadership has further strengthened Danske Bank’s leading position in Northern Ireland. His decision to announce his planned retirement now allows for a period of transition. The Board looks forward to working with Vicky in her new capacity over the years ahead.”

Kevin Kingston said:

“It is of course with mixed emotions that I announce my intention to step down as Chief Executive by the end of the year. Now that we are hopefully through the worst of the pandemic, and looking toward a brighter future, the timing feels right. It has been a privilege and an honour to lead the Bank over the past six years and to work with so many inspirational colleagues. When I do leave, I know that Vicky and our strong local management team will continue to prioritise customer experience, while retaining a strategic focus on growing the business for the future.”  

Vicky Davies (45) will become the first female chief executive in the Bank’s 200-year history.

A Cambridge graduate, she started her career as a management consultant at Accenture in London. After gaining her MBA at the renowned INSEAD business school in France, Vicky joined Ulster Bank in 2005.

She moved on to become part of Danske Bank’s senior management team in 2012, initially as Head of Business Development, then becoming Managing Director of Strategy & Corporate Development. She joined the Board of Danske Bank UK in 2016, becoming its first ever female executive director. In 2019 she was appointed Deputy CEO. Vicky is also a Board member at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Proud of her Welsh roots, Vicky has lived in Northern Ireland for sixteen years, is married to a Northern Irishman and has four young sons.

Vicky Davies said:

“Under Kevin’s leadership Danske Bank UK has undergone a significant transformation, and as part of his leadership team I am extremely proud of all we have accomplished. I would like to thank him for the support he has given me over the past six years.

“I am both humbled and delighted be CEO designate. As we look ahead with optimism, I firmly believe Northern Ireland will grow again and that Danske Bank will have a central role to play in the recovery. As the biggest bank in Northern Ireland we are well positioned to continue to support our customers, to be there when they need us and to help them realise their ambitions.”

Congratulations to Vicky from the Diversity Mark team.

Click here to find out more about the Diversity Mark accreditation programme.

Does Your Business Welcome and Support Autistic Employees?

In Northern Ireland there is a 21.7% employment rate for autistic adults. This is one of the lowest rates of employment across disabilities, despite many autistic individuals being able and motivated to gain and maintain employment.  

April marks Autism Awareness Month, which serves as a reminder to employers and those working alongside individuals with autism of the need to #BeKindToDifferentMinds.

One key reason for the low numbers of autistic individuals employed in Northern Ireland is a lack of understanding about the condition and how to support autistic employees.

What is Autism?

Autism is a lifelong condition that affects how a person communicates and interacts with others, and how they experience the wider environment. Autism affects people in different ways, with most people experiencing differences (to a greater or lesser extent) in the areas of social communication, social skills and routines, and sensory processing.

Whilst some additional provisions need to be made for autistic individuals in the workplace, help is available to support and guide employers in this area.

Autism Training and Support for Employers

Autism NI provides training and support to employers to help them build confidence and understanding of reasonable adjustments they need to put in place, thus enabling them to become diverse and inclusive employers and benefit from the skills that these individuals bring to the workplace.

Christine Kearney, Director of Development at Autism NI highlights below the key message regarding improving employment opportunities for autistic individuals.

“Employing a diverse workforce makes great business sense. Autistic individuals will have a range of fantastic skills and attributes that they can contribute to the workplace and can be excellent members of the team or workplace. By not understanding autism or by excluding autistic individuals from your workplace, you could be missing out on the best candidate and employee.”

“The Autism Act (NI) 2011 recognises that as a social communication disability, there is a legal obligation to provide reasonable adjustments for autistic individuals within employment, to ensure equal access to opportunities and to avoid disability discrimination. Employers should feel confident to provide reasonable adjustments to autistic individuals at recruitment and selection, induction and through ongoing employee support.”

Autism NI has released a series of short webinars to raise awareness and understanding of autism with the wider public. This one focuses on autism and employment.


Take some time to consider what your company can do to improve employment opportunities for autistic individuals. Perhaps this time next year when Autism Awareness Month comes round, we will see positive increases in the number of autistic individuals employed in Northern Ireland businesses!

Check out our Global Resource Centre and in particular Autism NI – Autism and Employment for further support and guidance on Autism in the workplace.

Learning Pool awarded ‘World Class’ accreditation for exemplary employee engagement

Best Companies, the leading specialists in team engagement, has awarded Learning Pool a 3-star accreditation for employee engagement. As the highest accreditation achievable, this signifies that the company ranks as having ‘world class’ levels of workplace engagement. 

Accreditations from Best Companies are the recognized standard in employee engagement. Working with some of the world’s best-known brands, Best Companies measures, improves and recognizes great employee engagement and compiles annual ‘Best Companies to Work For’ lists for organizations such as The Sunday Times and Business Insider. 

Signifying ‘world class’ levels of employee engagement, the Best Companies 3-star accreditation is the highest standard achievable and is awarded to organizations that truly excel. 

Following a year of continued growth, including the recent acquisition of Colorado-based LMS specialists, Remote Learner, the 3-star accreditation for 2021 is an improvement on Learning Pool’s previous 2-star rating. 

The accreditation is a welcome triumph in light of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic which saw Learning Pool staff adjust to a remote working environment, almost overnight. Louise McElvaney, Director of People and Performance said: “Obtaining the top accreditation from Best Companies during a particularly challenging time is a tremendous achievement. Our team, which has grown to over 260 colleagues over the last 12 months, is the engine behind our sustained success and continued growth.” She added, “we’re blown away by the positive feedback we received during this year’s employee engagement survey.”

Throughout 2020, Learning Pool hired 50 new employees across its six office locations and has outlined plans to recruit a further 100 people in the next 12 months to fulfil the company’s plans of expansion. 

Learning Pool’s CEO, Ben Betts also commented: “We’re thrilled with the results of this year’s Best Companies survey. Accreditations like these reaffirm our commitment to ensuring a positive and open working environment and provides colleagues with an open channel to offer suggestions on how we can improve.” He continued, “our colleagues throughout the business have astonished us all year with their continued focus and enthusiasm, despite the obvious challenges they’ve been living through. It’ll be great to see what developments come in the next 12 months off the back of the feedback received. We’re already a great place to work. But we can be even better.” 

Congratulations to all the team at Learning Pool from Diversity Mark.