Making our mark at the CIPD Festival of Work  

For the first time the CIPD Trust was able to showcase how it’s tackling barriers to work and creating more inclusive workplaces at this month’s CIPD Festival of Work at Olympia London. 

Our sessions at Festival of Work

The jam-packed two-day event saw us host three fascinating sessions about how best to support some of the most underrepresented groups into meaningful work. It also gave us a golden opportunity to meet people professionals and explain more about our programmes.  

How we can support people with convictions into work 

One of the sessions chaired by Sally Eley, Head of CIPD Trust, with our partner Offploy and retailers Greggs and Timpson Foundation discussed how supporting people with convictions into work has strengthened their workforces.  

They explained how they’ve been hiring from this talent pool for many years and discussed why they’re a huge benefit to their businesses.  

Offploy, which helps people with lived experience of the criminal justice system into work, highlighted that with 1.1 million unfilled job vacancies in the UK, embracing this untapped talent pool can be a solution to resourcing, and a great driver for positive change to recruitment perceptions.   

4 key take-aways from this session include:  

  • Businesses hiring people with convictions say they’re hardworking, loyal and reliable colleagues.  
  • Customers are supportive of hiring people with convictions and expect businesses to do the right thing. 
  • We need to encourage more industries to consider hiring from this group. 
  • Mentoring is crucial to giving people the confidence needed to succeed in work.  

Offploy was also on hand to offer expert advice about employing people from this group. The Trust is currently running a pilot with St Giles Trust and Offploy who help people with convictions into work. We match mentees with experienced people professional mentors to build their confidence and skills, so they can succeed in the workplace.  

Starbucks refugee hiring programme is improving diversity and inclusivity 

Our Festival of work session with Starbucks discussed the need for greater diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. Russell Butcher, Starbucks director of strategic programmes discussed how they’ve been running a refugee hiring programme since 2016 and highlighted the positive impact it’s had on strengthening their workforce.  

 4 key takeaways from this session include:  

  • The need to encourage diverse audiences like refugees to apply for jobs.  
  • Refugees bring talent and high levels of experience and skills into the workforce. 
  • Employers should work with specialist organisations when hiring refugees. 
  • In a tight talent market, it makes sense to be more inclusive.  

We also talked about our new bursary scheme with the City & Guilds Foundation to empower refugees to get CIPD qualifications to enable them to work in the people profession.  

How to improve social mobility in the workplace  

Our other session was a panel conversation with Youth Group, ITN, Ministry of Justice UK and The Social Mobility Foundation about the need for improved social mobility in the workforce.  

Panellists discussed why employers need to recruit people from wider backgrounds to create a more inclusive workforce and improve staff retention. 

4 key takeaways from this session include:  

  • Social mobility leads to more diversity and inclusion in the workplace.  
  • To increase staff retention, we need to understand the challenges and barriers facing people from lower social mobility backgrounds. 
  • Offering mentoring opportunities to candidates from this group increases confidence.  
  • Businesses need to reflect the diversity of their customers in their own workforces.