Group of mixed race men and women standing and sitting in two rows

Graduates from a previous Calibre cohort

Calibre leadership graduates’ final presentations included recommendations to improve the work environment for College staff living with a disability.

Calibre is a talent development and leadership programme for staff who identify as neurodiverse or disabled, or who have a long term physical or mental health condition. The ten graduates on the 2021 programme, which was run remotely, were Calibre’s ninth cohort.

College Secretary, John Neilson has attended every Calibre graduation since the programme began. He said: “I have Smiling man wearing glasses wearing grey suit and red tiealways hugely enjoyed Calibre graduations. This year’s presentations showed honesty and were wonderfully diverse and inspiring. It is really important that we share them in the widest possible setting. I’m proud that Imperial’s values come through in a programme like Calibre, but we must listen when we need to learn lessons. Huge congratulations to this year’s graduates and a big thank you to everyone who has supported the programme over the years.”

Dogs and dragons

Staff living with disabilities can face several different types of barriers in the workplace. These can include environmental barriers such as steps, kerbs and lighting; institutional barriers such as rules and policies; and attitudinal barriers such as fear, hostility, ignorance and patronising attitudes.

Dammy Shittu is a Research Technician in the Department of Life Sciences and she has a hereditary physical condition. She presented on the challenges she has faced in getting permission to be allowed to have her Woman holding small dogassistance dog live with her in College accommodation. Whilst Dammy has now received approval, it was a challenging process that took ten months. Calibre developed Dammy’s ability and confidence to lead, influence and collaborate with relevant sections of College to propose a series of measures that she hopes will prevent others going through the same thing as her.

Dammy said: “It was a very difficult having my request to have my trainee-assistance dog live with me refused. Although I felt sure that I should be allowed to have a dog in campus accommodation, it was a hard and stressful process getting the decision overturned. I would like to prevent anyone else having to go through this and I think there are some easy steps that Imperial can take to make that happen. I would also like the Imperial community to be educated about the amazing things that assistance dogs can do for people.”

Woman in black posting letterKirsten Irving, a Library Assistant in the Central Library, presented on “Storytelling for self-advocacy". Using examples from fables and tales she explained how storytelling had helped her to articulate her needs as someone who has ADHD. Kirsten said: “We can’t sit around in our towers waiting to be rescued. In terms of your disability you know what is best for you. Shout as loud as you can for a ladder or a lift, or - if it’s right for you – a dragon!”

The importance of good leaders

The Calibre leadership programme builds on 21st-century thinking of disability leadership to ensure that we see more disabled leaders in a variety of positions within Imperial. The programme enables participants to learn more about disability and leadership as well as developing their presentation skills and supporting them as they design a personal project.

Whilst Calibre helps participants to develop their own leadership skills, a theme of several presentations was that the support of individual line managers was essential for disabled staff to feel truly able to be themselves at work. Knowing when and how to talk about their disability was not a trivial thing for the Calibre participants and building the confidence to do this was made much easier with supportive colleagues.

Rebecca Gill is a Producer in the Digital Learning Hub who has ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis). Rebecca has experienced previous employers refuse Smiling woman in blackher requests for reasonable adjustments and found her managers jumping to conclusions about her work ethic due to the social stigma and lack of understanding of her invisible disability. This made her wary about disclosing her disability within the workplace, however when Rebecca started working at the Digital Learning Hub and spoke to her line manager, she was pleasantly surprised by the amount of support and adjustments offered. “He asked what he could do to help. I realised then that my manager wasn’t just a boss, but he was a leader too.”

Normalising and appreciating difference

Robert Woodward is a Senior Learning Designer in the Faculty of Engineering who has dyslexia. His project examined how to raise awareness amongst non-dyslexic staff of how typical working and learning environments present a myriad of challenges for dyslexic staff. Robert said: “We need to find ways to change the system, not just expect dyslexic and staff living with other disabilities to find coping mechanisms to fit into the system.”

Professor Stephen Curry, Assistant Provost for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, agreed. He said: “It is essential that we normalise and White man wearing blue shirt with arms foldedappreciate difference, so that we better recognise our shared humanity. Imperial is working hard to support different groups of staff, including through our staff networks Able, Imperial As One and Imperial 600, but we still have much to learn. Sessions like this really help us to do that.”

Find out more

The Calibre programme has been developed and is delivered by Dr Ossie Stuart, an international disability consultant and academic, in partnership with Imperial's Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Centre.

For more information about Calibre, including information about next year’s programme, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

AELP Events added a new event 2 days ago

Designated Safeguarding Lead Training in FE

Overview It is a statutory requirement for professionals meeting ‘robust 2-yearly training’ for those with a lead or designated professional role...

  • Thursday, 14 October 2021 09:30 AM
  • Online

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page