Next month the Herald & GenAnalytics Diversity Conference, which will take place in Glasgow. Hosted by journalist and broadcaster, Rachel McTavish, and with a theme of Reset, Re-engage, Refocus, the conference will look at what has changed and what still needs to be done to remove those barriers that prevent too many people in society from fulfilling their potential.

Panel discussion on the day will focus on topics such as digital exclusion, online working and how to create a culture where diversity is welcomed and amongst the many experienced participants will be Marvin Bartley, assistant manager at Livingston FC and Diversity and Inclusion adviser to the SFA.

As an ethnic minority player, and now coach, his experience has given him a unique insight into the barriers that exist in football and he says he knows of several players who have decided not to pursue coaching qualifications because they believed that their ethnicity would prevent them from getting a job.

“They have told me that they don’t think it is worth the effort because they know what the outcome will be, but I have urged them to get their qualifications because that’s how we will eventually improve the situation,” he says.

“The next generation of players and managers needs to have role models. They need to see that it is possible for them to do these jobs.”

He also believes that football clubs should be transparent about the racism that exists within their fan base, and investigate thoroughly any incidents that occur during matches.

“Too often what happens after there has been a racist incident is that the club announces that it has held an investigation, when in fact that isn’t the case.

“Clubs don’t want to admit that they have a problem, they don’t want to be identified as a club that has a racist element in its support, but being open and honest about such incidents is the only way that we are going to tackle the problem.”

One of the ways in which Marvin has assisted the SFA in dealing with racism is through establishing a free text services where fans can report incidents during matches, identifying people close to them when they have witnessed unacceptable behaviour.”

“This allows the stewards to monitor those individuals in the crowd who may cause problems.”

Since his own playing career began, Marvin believes that the situation has improved. “But there is still a very long way to go until we stamp out racism in football and offer the same opportunities to everyone.”

The Herald & GenAnalytics Diversity Conference will take place on Wednesday, May 4 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow, and this year’s keynote speaker is Emma Bell, a former partner in Scotland’s largest law firm, a former employment judge and author of the bestselling audiobook ‘9 Secrets to Thriving’.

Discussions throughout the day will include ‘Learning the Lessons, Addressing the Impact, Moving Forward’, where panellists will include  Khadija Mohammed, Senior Lecturer in Education, University of the West of Scotland alongside a representative from ENABLE Works.

Age Scotland will participate in  a focus on emerging diversity and inclusion challenges, while a further discussion, entitled ‘Taking Care of Business’: Culture, Employee Wellbeing & Inclusion Discussion’, will include on its panel, Harry Dozier, Head of Health Workforce Equality at the Scottish Government along with participants from CMS, and Gillian MacLellan partner at international law firm CMS explained: “We have a fantastic selection of people from across the firm attending the conference this year which underlines the excitement around the event as well as the widespread recognition of the importance of the issues under discussion. Personally, I’m really looking forward to joining the discussion.

 

Given what we have all been through during the pandemic, I am not sure there could be a more relevant and important topic in current times. Employers are more aware than ever of the importance of looking after their most valuable asset: their people. The challenge will be to ensure this issue remains top priority as we move forward and I think this panel session will be a source of some great ideas.”

Skills Development Scotland are also one of this year’s panelists and Fergus McMillan, Head of Equality and Diversity at Skills Development Scotland, said:

“I am looking forward to the panel discussion and an opportunity to discuss workplace diversity and inclusion, including trends and challenges within the skills system in creating an inclusive economy.

“As we continue to adapt to life with Covid and see the new patterns emerge in the way we live and work, themes around equality, diversity and inclusion are in sharper focus now more than ever.

“It’s vital that there’s a collective approach to meeting the needs of individuals and communities, and in doing so, helping to ensure that businesses can have access to a diverse, inclusive and skilled workforce.”

The conference is supported by BAE Systems, sportscotland, Skills Development Scotland, Diageo and commercial law specialists, CMS and along with access to the event and accompanying exhibition, ticket holders receive lunch, refreshments throughout the day and the official 2022 The Herald & GenAnalytics events programme.

Full details are available from https://newsquestscotlandevents.com/events/the-diversity-conference/

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