Equality and Diversity Awards deadline reminder

Pictured are (l-r) Sarah O'Neill, Business and Training Manager, Diversity NI; Ciara Fulton, Senior Partner, Jones Cassidy Brett; Heather Stewart, Head of Sales & Service Enablement, AIB (NI); and Barry Phillips, Chair, Legal Island.' Pic by Stephen Hamilton, Press Eye
Pictured are (l-r) Sarah O'Neill, Business and Training Manager, Diversity NI; Ciara Fulton, Senior Partner, Jones Cassidy Brett; Heather Stewart, Head of Sales & Service Enablement, AIB (NI); and Barry Phillips, Chair, Legal Island.' Pic by Stephen Hamilton, Press Eye
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Employers across Northern Ireland are being encouraged to showcase their commitment to diversity and enter the Northern Ireland Equality and Diversity Awards 2020.

Now in their fourth year, the Northern Ireland Equality and Diversity Awards are organised by Legal Island.

The awards, open to all organisations and individuals across the public, private and third sectors, provide a unique opportunity for employers in Northern Ireland to celebrate equality and diversity in the workplace and recognise those who advocate and drive diversity within their organisations.

The evening will showcase the advantages of equality and diversity to employers and the wider community, celebrating success stories of individuals, groups and employers.

Award categories include Best Employer for Equality & Diversity in NI; Best Gender Initiative; Best LGBT Initiative; Best Disability Initiative; Best Race Initiative; Individual Diversity Champion and two new categories for 2020, Best First Initiative; and Best Age Initiative.

Barry Phillips, chair of Legal Island, organisers of the awards, explains why it is important for companies to share best practice relating to diversity: “We are delighted to see the number of award entries growing significantly year on year. It has been truly inspiring to find out about the programmes and initiatives that individuals and organisations are delivering to promote diversity. The awards not only provide a channel for recognising the fantastic work that companies across Northern Ireland are doing in the area of diversity, equality and inclusion, but they also showcase it and help to share best practice and inspire others.”

“There are of course basic legal requirements associated with diversity, but by really embracing and valuing diversity, businesses and organisations can thrive. Advocating for diversity in the workplace helps to promote it in the wider community and this can only be good for Northern Ireland.”

Adrian Moynihan, AIB (NI), award sponsor, added: “By applying for these awards organisations can formally thank employees for their outstanding work. They can also demonstrate the impact equality and diversity has had on their business and reinforce their commitment to equality and diversity best practice. Participating in the awards can also help businesses to attract employees who want to work for an organisation that is a driver of diversity.

“At AIB we recognise and value diversity and it shapes all of our thinking and decisions making processes and ultimately enhances outcomes for our customers and the communities we serve. We are very proud to be sponsoring the Northern Ireland Equality & Diversity Gala awards, which showcase individuals and organisations who are truly committed to inclusion.”

Fellow sponsor, Ciara Fulton, senior partner, Jones Cassidy Brett commented: “At a time when equality and diversity issues are the focus of so much media attention, it is more important than ever to champion the good work that many employers in Northern Ireland are doing to demonstrate their commitment to equality and diversity in the workplace. These awards serve not only as a vehicle for celebrating the achievements of these employers and individuals but also as a mechanism for promoting and encouraging diversity in the workplace.”

Paolina Hawthorne, founder, Diversity NI, stated: “I am particularly passionate about diversity in opinion, background and outlook, as it’s crucially important in order for companies to achieve their best potential. I am privileged to support this year’s Northern Ireland Equality and Diversity Awards. It provides a fantastic platform for organisations to celebrate and encourage the vast opportunities that cultural differences bring to the workplace.”

The deadline for entries is 12 noon on Friday December 6 2019. Entries are available at https://www.legal-island.com/event/northern-ireland-equality-and-diversity-gala-awards/