How Do We Overcome Barriers for Inclusion?

Posted in: Blog, News.

There are many strands to creating a more inclusive economy. In our recent blogs, we have discussed how social enterprises are leading the way in creating an inclusive economy, and also how this trickles down into the workplace with the creation of more inclusive working practices.

When we think about diversity and inclusion, our minds often jump to the barriers for inclusion that exist across our society. We want to find ways to identify these barriers and how to overcome them, yet there’s a certain amount of fear that stops us from really getting to the heart of the issues that create these barriers – the fear of getting it wrong when it comes to breaking them down.

But it doesn’t have to be this way, and at our conference we had representatives from CEMVO Scotland, and Inclusion Scotland discuss the ways they are helping others overcoming barriers in the workplace. We also heard from Social Investment Scotland, as they gave us some insight on their journey towards becoming more inclusive. We will share a blog from them about this later in the week.

Changing the Race and Equality Landscape

An inclusive society takes into account the experiences and perspectives of races other than that of the majority. At our recent conference, Colin Lee from CEMVO Scotland highlighted how they are helping to level the playing field for Scotland’s ethnic minority voluntary sector in its communities.

To do this, they work closely with the Scottish Government to build the capacity of ethnic minority organisations, whilst offering employability support to help make Scotland a more inclusive place.

Their work also extends to the creation and delivery of an equality and diversity toolkit which aims to make the social enterprise sector a much more diverse place. They also work in tandem with any organisation that wants to make their business more equal and diverse. For those that are worried about “getting it wrong”, their framework is a great tool for dispelling that fear, and helping organisations take active, meaningful steps towards creating a more diverse culture.

Changing the Disability Landscape

At our conference, we also heard from Naomi Waite from Inclusion Scotland where she discussed their pioneering Employerability approach.

Put simply, Employerability is “the ability of employers to welcome disabled people as equal and valued employees and to support their growth, development and inclusion in the workplace”. This is compared with “employability” which is the perceived ability of a disabled person to be employed by an employer.

What this aims to do is reframe organisational employment practices. If we are to break down the barriers for inclusion for disabled people, they must not only be welcomed by businesses, but they should also see employment opportunities available to them.

Access to work is key, and whilst many feel it could be easy to “get it wrong” when it comes to making their workplaces more accessible to disabled people, the reality is that small adjustments can have a huge impact, such as using a larger, sans serif font in all communications like Arial or Calibri 14. What’s more, with proper planning, foresight and organisational policy adjustments, many businesses can welcome disabled employees into their workforce.

Naomi also provided a number of wonderful resources that employers can use to begin to make their workplaces more inclusive.

Don’t Be Afraid of Getting it Wrong

The process of making communities, workplaces and society more inclusive is vital if we want to create a fairer country that reflects the multitude of experiences of those that live within it. The organisations we have highlighted in this blog don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk, and can help any social enterprise that wants to break down barriers for inclusion. Don’t let the fear of “getting it wrong” stop you from trying to make it right.

If you missed our Social Enterprise Policy & Practice Conference, the entire event, including the presentations discussed above, is available to watch for free on YouTube.



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