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The rise of inter-sector network groups

Category: Employer Focus, culture, influence, organisation, committee, inter sector network

The rise of inter-sector network groups

Working in collaboration with other individuals and organisations within their sector, inter-sector networks are doing positive, and often innovative, things to make their sectors more diverse and a more positive and desirable place to work for everyone. Their collective clout is powerful and is influencing more organisations to see the value of developing more inclusive cultures and increasing diversity in the workplace – especially in sectors where employee network groups are not as developed. 

The networks are unique, with Steering Committees and membership made up of representatives from different organisations within their sector – including lots of our Diversity Jobs members.

Membership of the networks is almost always free and as well as being open to employees of organisations in the sector they represent, freelancers, allies and those with an interest are welcome too.

Members of the networks enjoy lots of benefits and unique experiences, including social and professional networking, mentoring and coaching, access to industry leaders, they can often learn new skills, special event experiences, sharing best practice, advice and insight and opportunities to contribute to industry research and lots more.

They push any competition and rivalry in their sectors to one side and work together to remove barriers, influence their industry press and media to talk about diversity and inclusion, and empower those working in the sector with knowledge and understanding about important subjects that may otherwise not have been visible.

They’re doing a great job building and developing more inclusive sectors where people from all backgrounds want to work, that there is a more diverse pipeline of talent and where everyone has an equal opportunity to shine and be their full self at work – with no filter.

With the facts, figures and real life feedback telling us that our workplaces are still far from diverse and equal places, and with prejudice and hate crimes in our communities increasing – the networks are needed now, more than ever before.

Here are a few networks that have caught our attention. There are lots more. Go and check them out!

Aspiring Solicitors

Aspiring Solicitors is committed to increasing diversity in the legal profession. They exist to assist aspiring solicitors to achieve their potential (whilst managing expectations), to share knowledge, to collaborate positively with universities and professionals and to develop the positive reputation of the legal profession. They target undergraduate and postgraduate aspiring solicitors, developing a strong pipeline of diverse talent in the sector. Supporting organisations include Barclays and Reed Smith. 

Black Solicitors Network

Black Solicitors Network launched in 1995, the network is the primary voice of black solicitors in England and Wales and is committed to achieving equality of access, retention and the promotion of black solicitors. The network provides pastoral care and support and promotes equality and challenges discrimination within the profession. With over 5,500 members, the network offers a rolling programme of small and major events, conferences, workshops and an annual dinner for their members. Supporting organisations include Accenture and HP. 

Fraud Women’s Network

Any woman who works in the anti-fraud arena will know that it can sometimes be a rather male dominated environment, in which there are few senior female executives. The Fraud Women's Network was set up to bring together women involved in all aspects of fraud prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution, to network and to share best practice, information and experiences in order to help tackle the threat from fraud and crime head on. The network offers mentoring opportunities and a calendar of diverse events. Supporting organisations include Cifas and Kroll. 

Gender Inclusion Network for Insurance

The network was launched by a group of likeminded women from across the insurance industry. They share the passion to leverage diversity and inclusion to produce tangible business results and drive cultural change, both within their respective organisations and across their industry. The conglomerate committee is made up of representatives from the internal Gender Networks from Zurich, Aon, Chubb, RSA and Travellers. The membership is open to both men and women across the sector. 

InterBank LGBT Forum

The InterBank LGBT Forum was founded in 2002, the forum is one of the most established LGBT networks in the UK. Interbank organises regular networking evenings for its members at locations across London, with their first event in Manchester being a success in late 2016. The network has sponsored a range of LGBT events and initiatives, including film screenings, the Pride 10k run and Positive East’s ‘Red Run’. Supporting organisations include Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC and Barclays

InterEngineering

Diversity and inclusion within the engineering sector is significantly lagging behind other sectors. The InterEngineering network aims to connect, inform and empower LGBT engineers and allies. A very active network, highlights for the network include hosting social events and site visits to bring engineers together to network. A standout event was InterEngineering Midlands and Rolls-Royce organising a tour of the Rolls-Royce Heritage Centre in Derby for members. The network also hosts business focused events for knowledge sharing of best practice advice and guidance. As part of the Bristol Pride Festival in 2016, the network took part in the Pride Power Discussion alongside EDF Energy

InterMedia

InterMedia was launched in 2012, the network is the LGBT network for people working in the media. Many LGBT people don’t have employee networks to connect with or are freelance, and many creative companies are quite small. Both these things mean networking with LGBT colleagues and contacts can be tricky. Many people think the creative industries are a gay friendly place, but in these fast moving and influential businesses, the effects of being in a small minority can be hard to deal with. The network provides a comfortable space for networking, forming new contacts and finding jobs and business opportunities. Their Pride in London parade entry sees members from organisations including BBC, ITV, Viacom and Sky taking part. The MTV ‘Pride Party Playlist’ is always a favourite in the Big I.D.E.A office! 

Here a few other inter-sector networks supporting the planning, property and construction industry:

Planning Out: The network for LGBT+ planning professionals.

LGBT Construct: Christina Riley, a transgender role model and Chair of the LGBT+ network at Balfour Beatty, founded the network.

OpenLand: A midlands-based networking group for LGBT+ professionals working in real estate, property and construction.

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 call 02037405973 or email info@vercida.com for more information.

We are also officially recommended by Disability Confident as a step on achieving Employer status, please click here for more information.

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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 info@vercida.com for more information.

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