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Black History Month in the Cabinet Office – Suzanna Downie

Category: testimonial, BAME, black history month, BAME Inclusion, Government, Jobs in Government, Cabinet Office, What Our People Say, Staff Testimonial, BAME Diversity, BAME Network

Black, Asian & Minority Ethnicity (BAME)

I have given this a lot of thought and for me Black History Month (BHM) is a time to review the progress we have made towards developing an inclusive environment in the workplace and to reflect on and celebrate successes.

As a member of Cabinet Office Race and Equality Network (CORE), I appreciate the Cabinet Office’s ambition to be the most inclusive employer by 2020. Like many people, I was anxious about ‘not fitting in’. When I thought about applying for a position in the Cabinet Office, I was asked by colleagues and others whether I had connections there: “Do you know anyone who works there? How do you propose you’re going to get in if you don’t”? Well, I did not let that deter me and submitted my application. And I landed the post!

Back in 2018, after my first year in Government Shared Services (GSS), I felt inspired to be proactive in developing awareness amongst minority groups who would probably never consider a career in the Civil Service. Using my experience from the recruitment process and feedback from colleagues, I launched the BHM Student Outreach Programme targeting university students from BAME and low socio-economic backgrounds. Students who attended were able to meet with senior members of staff and had a tour of Whitehall. This gave them the opportunity to see what career paths were available as well as how diverse the Cabinet Office really is.

As our BHM theme is ‘Migration’ I thought it would be fitting for our speakers such as, Gamiel Yafai (Diversity Consultant) and Selvin Brown MBE (Director of Health and Safety Executive) to share their migration experiences with us.

My experience in Cabinet Office has been a positive one where I am encouraged to develop, collaborate across departments and share my ideas on how to make CO a great place to work. I would encourage anybody to apply, regardless of your race or diversity characteristic.


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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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Cabinet Office

Inclusive features

  • Training & Development
  • Gender Equality & Identity
  • Social Mobility
  • Home & Flexible Working
  • Religious & Spiritual Beliefs
  • Dependency (Parenting & Carers)
  • Race, Ethnicity & Heritage
Government, Politics, EU Cabinet Office

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