Interview with Jordan Stevenson, City & Guilds Diversity & Inclusion Lead for Product

by Nov 17, 2022City & Guilds initiatives, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, News

We caught up with Jordan to find out more about how we are changing the way we design products at City & Guilds to make sure everyone – whatever their background – has the best opportunity to succeed. As a Foundation, we are dedicated to removing barriers for people who to gain skills and get into work, so we are hopeful that this innovative, thoughtful, and practical activity will make a big difference – especially for those who are underrepresented and with less advantage.

What inspired you to drive this groundbreaking change to learning design?

“Although the UK education system has improved in recent years, there is still plenty of room for improvement – particularly when it comes to reducing attainment gaps for learners from black and minority ethnic backgrounds or with disabilities. There are several factors that contribute to these attainment gaps, such as structural disadvantages, curriculum design, teaching practices, and how SEND educational needs are met. Some of these factors are very much within our control and, armed now with the insights into how we can make learning more equitable for all, it was time to do something about it.”

How will this help us to deliver our purpose at City & Guilds?

“It is essential that all aspects of a qualification – including structure, content, delivery and assessment – take account of the needs of all potential candidates, to be as inclusive as possible. This is important to ensure that all barriers are removed that no one is unfairly disadvantaged and that everyone can achieve their full potential.

This framework should also help us to change society for the better. By developing the skills of learners in diversity, equity and inclusion, communities will naturally become more tolerant and supportive of others.  Rios & Wynn (2016) found that learners who were exposed to diversity and inclusion, in real-life situations or texts/media, were likely to exhibit less prejudice. This is because they are exposed to a variety of perspectives and learn to empathize with those who are different from them. Additionally, exposure to diverse perspectives can lead to increased critical thinking skills, which is an essential skill for learning and innovation.”

What does look like in practice?

“If you want to know more about how we are changing their products, check out our Inclusive Curriculum Framework. This is a guide on content, assessment and teaching principles based around 3 key principles: Removing barriers, Representation and Developing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) competencies. We have changed our product initiation, review, and development guidelines as well as direct-to-learner delivery to ensure that we can achieve these principles.

Here is an example of how we have embedded the new design process in our engineering training, through expanding the behavior outcomes in the technical specifications:

  • Working with others: learn about the challenges that exist for women, ethnic minorities, engineers with disabilities and the LGBTQIA+ community, so that you can recognise bias, intolerance and injustice in the sector.
  • Working with others: learn how you can support other people on your team and be a reliable team member and ally.
  • Continuous Professional Development: find an engineering role model who you feel represents you and consider what steps they took in their career to reach their current position.”
What insights influenced the way the framework developed?

“This guidance has been created through industry research, best practice examples in the sector, customer feedback and internal stakeholders’ guidance to make it appropriate and achievable.  The framework champions changes in sector reflecting active learning such as problem and project-based learning.  Active learning has been demonstrated as a mechanism for overcoming attainment gaps (Williams, N.A., 2021.) as well as amplifying innovation in our priority sectors such as engineering (Rodríguez González, C.A. & Fernández Batanero, J.M. 2021).

And of course; we always had the end user – the learner – in mind, and used insights gained from years of working with people from so many different backgrounds, facing so many different challenges, to push ourselves to make changes as substantial and impactful as possible.”

For more information or support in using the inclusive framework, reach out to Jordan Stevenson, Diversity and Inclusion Lead – Product: jordan.stevenson@cityandguilds.com

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