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D&I networks led me to my dream job

Category: testimonial, Government, Career and Talent Development, Jobs in Government, Staff Networks, Staff Testimonial, career, Career Advice, UK Government, ministry of defence, MOD, Defence Infrastructure Organisation, DIO, staff network group, awesome career, professional development, Building a career

Career and Talent Development

Katy Aylward (she / her)  Diversity, Inclusion & Wellbeing Support

The New Year provides the opportunity for reflection and for thinking about the year ahead. For some of us, this might involve writing down some resolutions or goals, or beginning the year with healthier habits in our day-to-day lives.

For me, it’s a good time to sit down and revisit my personal development goals for the next 12 months. My personal development plan is a really valuable tool to help me think about my career aspirations and set goals towards achieving them. I’ve learned that a great way to develop is to join a diversity and inclusion staff network, I hear you asking how?

The networks have an essential role to play in bringing a culture of inclusivity into DIO and these network roles require individuals who are passionate in enabling change in our organisation. The benefits to the organisation are clear, but have you considered how one of these roles can benefit you as an individual?

So, not only do the staff networks help shape the organisation, they also benefit their members by supporting them in developing new skills and connections. I was able to take advantage of these development opportunities when I set up a Diversity and Inclusion Committee in my previous job. In order to set up this network I engaged with senior stakeholders, from the Vice President of People and Culture to the Chief Exec to get their support. These are people I wouldn’t normally have dreamt to approach, but I learnt key skills, such as how to present an effective business case, and built relationships with people across the business, something that can be difficult to do when working remotely.

When doing my own reflection on the last year, I looked back upon my own career path. In January 2021, I had been working on the employee network for over six months and was becoming increasingly sure that I would like to work in the Inclusion and Diversity space full-time. I used the skills and experiences I had gained to help find a role which was right for me and I was very grateful to be able to join my team by the end of the 2021 – a move which I don’t think would have been possible had it not been for my involvement in a staff network.

I have encouraged my DIO colleagues to consider becoming a network committee member. They will be able to gain exposure and experience in areas outside their normal job role, which is undoubtedly valuable in helping reach professional potential and make the most of future opportunities.

And having something to add to your CV is only part of the story. In my experience, you also get to meet a lovely bunch of people and expand your professional network.

By Katy Aylward 

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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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Defence Infrastructure Organisation

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