An innovative bursary scheme supporting disability networks in the Civil Service has launched. The Equal Approach PurpleSpace Bursary Scheme is a new initiative to support current and future disability network leaders within Government Departments and Agencies. The scheme matches mentees with private sector mentors and offers access to resources and experts, building the future talent pipeline in disability networks and cascading this expertise throughout the Civil Service.
Equal Approach and PurpleSpace have awarded the new bursaries to nine aspiring leaders this year. The scheme is working with the Civil Service Diversity & Inclusion Team at the Cabinet Office and the Civil Service Disability Network. The bursary award winners have a 3-year membership to PurpleSpace - the unique leadership development and networking hub. The successful bursary holders are:
- Mellissa Akinya, Diversity Officer, Disability Officer, Disability Network, Government Legal Department.
- Sarah Banks, Chair, Defence Disability Network.
- Jamie Burton, Co-Chair, Cabinet Office Ability Network.
- Elaine Connolly, Committee member, Defra Disability Network.
- Alex Freegard, Chair, Enable Foreign and Commonwealth Disability Association and Chair, Civil Service Disability Network.
- Louise Horton, Legal Aid Agency, Committee Member of Ministry of Justice Disability Network.
- Stephanie Rice, Committee member, Department for Transport Ability Network.
- Esta Rooney, Chairperson / Lead, Ministry of Justice Disability Network.
- Walter Scott, Co-founder & Co-chair Defence Stammering Network for military and civilian personnel.
Equal Approach PurpleSpace Bursary winners
Philip Rutnam, Permanent Secretary for Transport and Civil Service Disability Champion, who interviewed the applicants said:
"The Equal Approach PurpleSpace Bursary Scheme shows that the Civil Service has a genuine willingness to change for the better. Actions speak louder than words and empowering these disability network leaders will connect people from our richly diverse workforce to create positive and lasting differences."
Dawn Milman-Hurst, CEO, Equal Approach, said:
"Equal Approach's mission is to promote diverse talent in the workplace, and our sponsorship of the bursary scheme is an example of that in action. To create a truly inclusive culture, employers need to do things differently - and not just talk about making change, but actually take action. One way employers can achieve this, is to create strong networks, such as this one, among people who are empowered to make a real lasting difference for disabled staff."
Walter Scott, Co-founder & Co-chair Defence Stammering Network for military and civilian personnel, said:
"I firmly believe that leadership initiatives like this one can help disability networks to shift any corporate blockers to raising awareness and delivering change. I am proud to belong to a diverse workforce that is generally keen to embrace inclusive values. As a network co-chair, the offer of mentoring, networking and development seems a great way of identifying enhancements to how we support the disability-related needs of our colleagues and our employers - both in Defence and across the wider Civil Service."
Anyone who would like to find out more about the Equal Approach PurpleSpace Bursary Scheme should contact PurpleSpace: https://www.purplespace.org/contact
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