Last month we were delighted to host the first See Potential conference of 2016. Employers from the North West and beyond gathered in our Manchester office to explore how companies can align opportunities with the talents of the entire workforce.
It was great to see so many employers in one place who are passionate about equal opportunities in the workplace. At Fujitsu we are really proud to support the Department for Work and Pension’s (DWP) See Potential campaign, especially as a large employer in the UK.
We were also pleased to welcome Priti Patel, the Minister for Employment, who greeted the employers and set out the Government’s plans for the See Potential campaign.
The Minister explained how the Government has already been successful in getting over 2 million people back into work, but there is still more to do.
‘With your help and support we can work together to bring about huge change and positive changes to help everyone, regardless of their background, find employment and fulfil their potential’.
These are the people who need support, they experience challenges and barriers to getting into employment – they may have experienced drug addiction, they may be coming out of the criminal justice system, or they may have been on long term sick leave.
The DWP’s See Potential campaign is a chance for employers to realise there is more to an individual than their background. Someone’s background should never be a barrier to getting into work.
‘Employability must be about talent and potential – it’s an opportunity to invest in an individual’.
But there is still a huge gap between employer’s positive attitudes towards employing people from disadvantaged groups, to the actual appointments they make. The Minister posed a challenge to the room of employers – ‘how do we change this positive mind set into positive action today’. This is what See Potential is all about.
A key theme highlighted by all of our speakers was the need to change employer’s opinions on appointing people from disadvantaged groups. At Fujitsu we believe that a person’s background shouldn’t dictate their ability to enjoy a successful career and we have made efforts to employ people from these groups. We take each individual as they are and assess their potential.
By employing people from disadvantaged groups we have been able to recruit a wider range of people, we have diversified the workforce and brought about a new perspective and skill set. This has been crucial in improving performance and has been a real business benefit. We have seen many of these people thrive in our organisation and we have helped them realise their full potential.
As a technology company we are always looking for new ways to benefit society through tech. Our Hyper-Connected Van can transform Job Centre service delivery by taking the opportunity to the public. One of the opportunities that See Potential brings us is that it enables us to connect with people from disadvantaged backgrounds, by physically going to where they are. The van is a mobile hub of technology, it has built in Wi-Fi and tracking devices which allows the van to transform into a mobile Job Centre. This helps create a more connected society.
There are many different routes to success and there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Each of us has potential, but in order to realise it we sometimes need support, especially in our working life. At the conference we heard from one of our Fujitsu employees who bravely told his story of looking for employment as an ex-serviceman. The Poppy Factory helped him get out of long term unemployment and into a job as a Fujitsu Engineer.
The Minister also highlighted our Apprentice scheme as another alternative route into employment, this is something the Government would like to see more of.
This was the first of many See Potential events taking place across the country this year. If you are an employer, I encourage you to look out for your local See Potential event so you can hear some of these inspiring stories for yourself.
It’s clear that the more successful employers recognise a person’s unique potential and nurture their abilities, they don’t judge them on their background. I hope this conference has inspired other companies to join us in supporting the See Potential campaign, not only to give people an equal chance, but to recognise that working with a diverse workforce with a wide range of skills is good for your business.
Find out how your organisation can support the See Potential campaign.
Join the DWP’s See Potential group on LinkedIn to keep up to date with the latest updates.
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