Opportunity Now Awards for Brittania building society and Sheffield University

A number of firms have been recognised through the Opportunity Now Awards for their efforts in the workplace.

Employer representative firm Opportunity Now launched the awards in 1996 to recognise best practice in gender equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Britannia’s flexible working arrangements saw it win the Private Sector Award, with judges impressed by the building society’s flexible working arrangements, known as Mutual Preferences.

Neville Richardson, group chief executive of Britannia, said: “We launched the programme in 2004 to help our people achieve a better work-life balance and to support our strategy of being a great place to work, grow and develop. The success of the programme was illustrated in our last employee satisfaction survey, when more than 91% said they are happy with the balance between their work and home lives.”

The University of Sheffield, meanwhile, picked up the Education Sector gong for its Women Academic Returners’ Programme.

The initiative was launched in 2006 and is designed to assist returning female academics after maternity or carers’ leave. The programme provides academic departments with funding to meet the costs of additional staffing.

In the first 14 months of the programme, 34 women successfully applied for the funding. These same women have since generated a grant income of £2.5m.

Rosie Valerio, HR head at the University, said: “The University of Sheffield is committed to recruiting and retaining high calibre female staff. This initiative is part of our ongoing action to address gender equality issues which are faced by female academic colleagues.”

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