Learning and Skills Council finds diversity and equality workers need a professional association to help define standards and training

Diversity practitioners are calling for a new professional association to help them to establish industry standards and define proper career paths, according to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC).

A report commissioned by the LSC, due to be published next week, has revealed that despite educational and vocational training, diversity experts feel they cannot carry out their jobs effectively as there is an “unstructured” mix of standards and guidance available to them, through ‘on the job’, formal and informal training.

The report said diversity managers would like to see “some kind of professional association” to standardise training patterns and develop a structured career path for the diversity industry.

Professor Chris Mullard, chairman of Focus Consultancy, who conducted the report, said: “With diversity becoming a critical success factor for public and private sector organisations, the professionals in the sector require the organisation and skilling necessary to effectively perform their functions.

“We will be bringing our findings to the attention of policy makers and legislators at events later this year.”

Despite the training shortfalls, practitioners were found to rate highly developed social and interactive skills as far more important for success than commercial knowledge.

The report will be launched next Tuesday at the LSC event ‘An Association for Equality & Diversity Practitioners’, with guest speakers including Trevor Phillips, chair of the forthcoming Commission for Equality and Human Rights.

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