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New WAES Diversity and Inclusion Co-ordinator

Our LDD department has recently been renamed as the Diversity & Inclusion department, so we caught up with the Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator to find out more.

Please can you tell me about yourself?

My name is Maysie Brown and I’m the Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator here at WAES. I’ve also worked at WAES as a course leader within the Apprenticeship and Professional Pathways department and as a tutor and IQA for Childcare, Health and Social Care. I’ve also been a WAES staff governor since 2019.

Can you tell me about the Diversity & Inclusion department?

We have over 100 learners, 108 at the last count, and they’re spread throughout WAES. As a department we have 32 classes and the most dedicated staff team, but the learners don’t just do my courses. I’ve got learners who are doing graphics courses, ceramics, English and maths GCSE, we’ve had learners who’ve done fashion, childcare and more. Some may need support, some may not, but they all have individual learning plans in place.

Why is the department name change important?

The reason for the change is that the old name, LDD (learning difficulties and disabilities), isn’t really an inclusive term. It focusses on the negatives rather than the positives and is actually a very old term, so what we’re trying to do is actually to be more positive about learners with differences, who are diverse and need to be included, so that’s why we made the change.

So what do diversity and inclusion mean?

We define inclusion as welcoming all people, regardless of their personal, physical, or social characteristics. It’s about creating a sense of belonging where everyone is valued and respected for their own unique identity. Diversity is about recognising that each person is unique and understanding their differences, and harnessing these to create a productive environment in which everybody feels valued, their talents are fully utilised, and organisational and personal goals are met. When we talk about inclusion and diversity we mean going beyond the basic legislative and compliance requirements – it’s about creating an environment where difference is embraced, and individuals can flourish.