Employers join NextGen and Greater London Authority to celebrate increasing inclusion and diversity

In early 2023 leading employers from London’s bustling creative industries came together for an evening of thought-provoking discussion, information sharing, and entertainment focused on celebrating and increasing diversity within the creative industries.

Hosted by Shannice McCalla, the evening introduced the work of the NextGen Creative Skills Hub programme, which is funded by the Greater London Authority (GLA) as part of the Mayor’s Academies Programme, to prepare Londoners for work in the creative industries, with a focus on reaching underrepresented groups and working with employers to increase diversity.

Guests on the evening were introduced to three Workforce Integration Network (WIN) initiatives that NextGen is championing, the WIN Employers Toolkit, Toolkit Implementation, and Design Labs. Following introductions, they heard from a panel of diverse voices about their lived experiences at work, and ways employers can be mindful of inclusion at every level to achieve and retain a diverse workforce.

Thank you to our amazing panellists for being so open while sharing their insights and experiences:

• Cherelle Comerford, People Partner at Iris

• Melissa Mukasa, Digital Media Strategist at Media Monks

• Dominic Shaw, Equality, Diversion and Inclusion Co-Ordinator at Ukie

• Chad Ndebele, Graduate Analyst at Homes England

Following the panel, Andrew Lee, Group Corporate Social Responsibility Advisor at Mott MacDonald, a global leader in engineering and management consultancy with over 16,000 employees, discussed their experience of taking part in the Design Labs and the positive outcomes it had for increasing inclusion and diversity within their business.

Rommell Wallace, Senior WIN Coordinator at the GLA, then answered any questions attendees had about the initiatives, before everyone sat down together to enjoy food from Caribbean restaurant Heat and Soul and an interactive Bollywood performance and DJ.

Shannice McCalla, Programme Manager, NextGen Creative Skills Hub, said of the event:

"I just wanted to thank everyone that came out to our Working to WIN event, it looked at understanding NextGen's collaboration with the GLA. NextGen are committed to developing the next generation of talent within the Games, Animation and VFX industry and we recognise the massive gap in inclusivity within it - which is what we are working to combat with the GLA.
“It was incredibly important to have employers come out to truly understand what our vision to increase diversity and inclusion, the journey we are on, and how we can work together. We shared three initiatives that employers could get involved with, The Employers Toolkit, Toolkit Implementation, and Design Labs.
“To also help employers understand the importance of the strategies we had an amazing line up of lived experience panellists, Mott MacDonald who took on one of the initiatives, a GLA rep to answer and talk through any concerns, and lastly an interactive Bollywood performance to experience, appreciate and celebrate differences and cultures that make up London. We are now currently working with employers on whichever initiative they committed to!"

NextGen are always keen to work with employers in the creative industries across all stands of our business, find out how your company can get involved by emailing Shannice.McCalla@nextgenskillsacademy.com.

Written by

Ben Rust at NextGen