Heathrow is supporting the See Potential campaign as an inclusive employer that offers opportunities to people from disadvantaged groups, such as long-term unemployed, ex-offenders, care leavers, recovering addicts, homeless people and single parents.
See Potential is a government initiative that aims to encourage employers to hire people from the above mentioned disadvantaged groups. The campaign seeks to challenge the negative perceptions and attitudes that can be shown towards candidates from these groups and instead focuses on showcasing the talents and business benefits of hiring them.
See Potential is backed by influential people such as Sir Richard Branson, Deborah Meaden and Simon Cowell. The campaign supports and celebrates the work of employers who provide jobs and training opportunities to these people, emphasising how businesses can benefit from revising their recruitment practices. They highlight the importance of changing beliefs for the individual and employer.
Heathrow’s’ CEO, John Holland-Kaye explains below why Heathrow are aiming to continue to build diversity.
Heathrow has over 76,000 people working across more than 400 businesses, Team Heathrow is representative of the UK’s broad and varied population. In 2017, Heathrow will be celebrating their diversity as they continue to grow the workforce across aviation, logistics, retail, hospitality and construction.
The Heathrow Academy supports businesses that are operating at the airport to recruit and develop talent from the neighbouring communities, helping local people build careers, irrespective of their background.
In 2016, Heathrow helped place nearly 800 people in long-term employment, training hundreds more through bespoke development programmes and apprenticeships. In the last quarter of that year, they launched diversity and inclusion pilot projects to support and encourage airport employers to open their doors to a rich seam of talented local candidates with disabilities.
When it comes to recruitment, every employer has an ideal candidate. Usually employers are looking for candidates who are reliable, trustworthy, hard-working and committed. These are qualities that many people from all walks of life possess, however some people who have these skills can be overlooked due to their background. The Heathrow Academy team works closely with local partners to find suitable candidates and encourage them to join Team Heathrow, regardless of their background.
“We all need to look at the person behind the piece of paper”
To see someone’s potential, it takes looking beyond their CV, at the person behind the piece of paper to understand the benefits that they could bring to the business.
A candidate with a disability might be judged incapable because they have ticked ‘that box’; the candidate returning to work after raising a family might be judged unqualified because they’re out of practice. Some employers may take ‘the easy option’ to recruit someone who doesn’t fall into these categories. However, changing this mind-set means a lot more than people realize. It can literally be life changing – for the individual as well as for their employer.
Heathrow Academy is working hard to break down these barriers, raise awareness and train their colleagues to ensure everyone feels safe and supported in the workplace.
Heathrow also places an emphasis on making sure that their business partners feel supported. Heathrow wants to ensure that its business partners are aware of the benefits recruiting candidates from diverse backgrounds can bring. For example, there’s evidence to suggest that people from disadvantaged backgrounds who gain employment retain their jobs for much longer than average.
The Academy team upskills candidates through accredited pre-employment programmes and mock interviews, ensuring they’re ready to start their career with Team Heathrow. Heathrow uses specialist support from partners to ensure the candidates needs are met, whilst also training and supporting employers to close the employment gap for disadvantaged jobseekers.
There has already been success in securing supported employment for 3 candidates from the disability pilot project. In spring, Heathrow is hosting an employer training day to raise awareness of the project with the aim of increasing this number in 2017.
Heathrow does not want to take the easy option, they want to source the best talent from within the local communities, supporting them to begin a successful career at Heathrow Airport, no matter who they are.
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If you are an employer and interested in becoming a member of diversityjobs, please call 02037405973 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.