Category: testimonial, BAME, Housing, BAME Inclusion, What Our People Say, Staff Testimonial, BAME Diversity, BAME Network, Supported Housing, PA Housing
Bicram Athwal is CRM Analyst at PA housing and has been working with the company since October 2017.
A member of the BAME community, Bicram grew up in inner city, urban Leicester in a predominantly Asian area in a tight knit community of people from similar backgrounds.
“When Turkey was playing England we went to Blackpool on a family visit and we got surrounded by a bunch of football hooligans, as an early teen it was the first time we experienced racism.
“After September 11th happened, random people started to shout abuse,” said Bicram.
At PA Housing, Bicram works on the CRM (customer relationship management) systems and looks for opportunities to improve efficiency. He also works with stakeholders on creating workflows and helps with any concerns people may have regarding the company’s systems.
Where Bicram grew up he experienced cultural differences within, as well as outside of, the BAME community.
“When you grow up in inner city ethnic areas we’ve noticed we develop certain accents that we use to talk to each other and I’ve consciously tried to reduce this accent in the workplace.”
Bicram has undertaken a number of courses while working at PA Housing including customer mapping training, UX research qualifications, project management courses and Microsoft projects.
“One of the best things about PA Housing is that they invest so much in their staff. Any opportunity for us to upskill they invest in.
‘When it comes to awareness of diversity issues I consider that as training, all these things they invest in with all their staff it’s been relevant and given me the confidence to kick on,” said Bicram.
At PA Housing, they practise everyday inclusion by working to promote a culture of equality and diversity. With their own D&I calendar and by hosting a number of cultural celebrations throughout the year, they work to make their staff feel connected to each other.
“We’re probably the only organisation that celebrates pretty much every culture. We have inclusion week, we have food celebrations and every culture and aspect is celebrated here and actively encouraged,” said Bicram.
When asked about the challenges in the workplace for the BAME community Bicram said:
“In the BAME community, there are challenges but when I look around at PA Housing, it’s so representative and nothing could hold anyone from the BAME community back in their role or applying.
“Within the social housing sector there needs to be more BAME representatives. Sometimes I’m the only one in the room.
“And there are few females in the IT sector. It’s not only a BAME thing but also BAME females are underrepresented. There’s a lot more work to be done but we’re the most diverse sector and I think PA Housing are leading on that.”
If you’re business is like PA Housing and offering cultural diversity initiatives, get in touch with your account manager to contribute your own stories to our Everyday Inclusion month.