It’s the one year anniversary of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s (DVLA) staff network group, Unity. Unity vice chair Petal James talks about what a great year it’s been and what they have planned next.
“We’ve had a really successful first year in Unity. The group was launched to celebrate and increase awareness of the ethnic and cultural diversity of staff at the DVLA and drive forward race equality of the agency. We’ve gone a long way to achieving this and it’s still our aim today. In our second year we’ll also be implementing new initiatives to provide development opportunities for colleagues.
“Looking back at what Unity has achieved in our first year, we’ve got some great highlights. It all started with a poll that asked if staff would be interested in joining a black and minority ethnic group. The response was good and so Unity was created.
“Throughout the year we’ve celebrated and increased awareness of the ethnic and cultural diversity of staff at DVLA by promoting cultural events such as Black History Month. We’ve published articles our internal intranet page to increase acceptance and understating of different faiths, such as Japanese Shinto.
“We’re keen to learn from other organisation’s staff network groups to learn more about and share best practice. Within the first few months of establishing Unity, we visited the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s Embrace network, to see how their group is organised and the issues they are working on. Our visit to their Nottingham branch was a good learning experience. We’ve also met up with some of our Department for Transport partners at events, which has been really useful.
“Holocaust memorial day collection was our largest event of the year. We chose this day to highlight the plight and despair of refugees around the world. DVLA colleagues responded whole-heartedly to Unity’s appeal, donating enough clothes, toiletries and baby equipment to fill over 10 full cages, which we gave to the Swansea Humanitarian Aid Response Project. The donations helped refugees relocated in Swansea, as well as in other parts of the world.
“But it doesn’t stop there. We’ve got lots of great things that we’d like to do during our second year.
“Following on the theme of helping others, we’re hoping to organise a collection drive for old glasses on world sight day in October. Many of us have a pair of glasses that we no longer need, so it’s an opportunity to free up some space as well as help those in need. “But we will also be looking at driving forward new initiatives to provide development opportunities for colleagues including coaching and mentoring. And we’ll be exploring how we can work with external organisations to signpost volunteering opportunities.”
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