An elephant in the room - An Equality and diversity training manual

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By Blair McPherson

A4 wiro paperback, 96 pages

Published 2007

Most people are not racist, sexist, homophobic, ageist or prejudiced against faith groups, and they don't deliberately make life harder for people with a disability. However, they are bombarded with negative stereotypes and myths in their daily lives. Their own limited opportunity for mixing with people different to them can lead to ignorance, insensitivity and unthinking prejudice.

the photocopiable material in this manual can be used with small discussion groups to challenge these negative stereotypes, myths and prejudices by increasing awareness. The discussion-based approach aims to get people in the workplace talking openly about race, gender, disability, faith and sexuality.

An elephant in the room gives managers, trainers and personnel staff the material to raise the profile of equality and diversity in their organisation. Taken as a whole the manual can help:

  • change the way people think and behave at work
  • enable managers to be better people managers
  • enable the organisation to realise the full benefits of a diverse workforce
  • increase the awareness and sensitivity of staff towards their colleagues and their customers
  • create equality and diversity champions

The manual recognises the importance of developing leadership from the top, of creating a safe environment for people to challenge and be challenged, and of creating champions to keep equality and diversity high on the organisation's agenda.

Covering issues of race, gender, disability, faith, age and sexuality in relation to recruiting a truly representative workforce, getting the best out of a diverse staff group and delivering services to the whole community, the material can be used:

  • either as part of an equality and diversity training programme
  • or as one-off material in a team/staff meeting

The manual deals with issues familiar to those who undertake work in all agencies, statutory, voluntary and private, relating to social care, housing, health. But as a tool to promote equality, it will be of use to anyone working in HR, whatever type of organisation or business they are in

Managers, practitioners and personnel staff working in the statutory, voluntary sectors, particularly those in social care, housing, health, community services and adult learning.

Blair McPherson is Director of Community Services at Lancaster University. He has worked as a senior manager in social services and in a large Housing Association, and is currently working with three Primary Care Trusts. His passion for equality and diversity arose out of his experience in working in inner city Birmingham and is reflected in over 40 articles published in professional journals.


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