Left: Sunny Tucker, MP Alok Sharma & Sarah Gosiewska
The initiative, called mentoring circles, was first launched in February 2017 as part of a Government drive to address issues faced by BAME individuals both in work or trying to get into work.
Backed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the company has organised 121’s and some of the circles in London to offer face-to-face support, advice and guidance to those in attendance, as well as hosting several workshops on CV writing and interview skills.
Our communications director Sunny Tucker, have joined in with the circle sessions to pass on their knowledge and advice.
Since its launch, dozens of participants have subsequently found employment, with some also gaining interviews at Thames Water.
The circles have been a great success, and we’re delighted to see they are paying off for those who attend. At Thames Water, we’re dedicated to building an inclusive culture and working environment that inspires people to live our values, respecting and valuing everyone, and this type of scheme is a perfect example of that.
As well as the sessions, members have also been taken on tours of our sites, including Walthamstow Wetlands.
Speaking after attending several of the circles, Sunny said: “There are, sadly, many people within the BAME community who lack the confidence, opportunities and support needed to progress at work. Thames Water’s pro-active advice in this area is really important and is having tangible results.”
At Thames Water, 14.5 per cent of employees identify as being from a BAME background, with only six per cent represented at management level. To increase inclusion, a reverse mentoring scheme has also been introduced where members of the executive team are paired with those working on the front line to learn of the challenges they face.
There are also several employee support networks, including the BAME diversity and inclusion champions, who meet regularly, and a working group supporting the company to deliver its culture, inclusion and engagement strategy.
The DWP invited both Sunny and me to a special reception with the Minister for Employment Alok Sharma, held on January 17, to recognise the scheme’s achievements, and to look ahead to future plans.