News story: Armed Forces' double win at UK Race Equality Awards


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The Armed Forces Muslim Association (AFMA) and the Royal Air Force (RAF) have been recognised for their leadership in creating equal and inclusive workplaces for black, Asian and minority ethnic employees by winning the Race for Opportunity Employee Network Public Sector Award and the Future Workforce Award respectively at the Race for Opportunity Awards 2015.

The Awards are part of Business in the Community’s race equality campaign. Business in the Community is a British business-community outreach charity promoting responsible business and corporate social responsibility. The awards ceremony, hosted by ITV News presenter Charlene White, took place last night (6th October 2015) at the Hilton Park Lane and was attended by more than 500 business leaders. Now in their ninth year, the Awards celebrate outstanding practice, innovation and dedication to race equality and inclusion in UK workplaces.

AFMA won the Employee Network Public Sector Award for the organisation with the best race or cultural diversity employee network group that adds value to the business, provides input into organisational policy or business plans, and has a positive impact on performance and innovation in the workplace. There are nearly 500 Muslims in the UK Armed Forces in a variety of jobs, ranging from medic and engineers to soldiers and chefs, and winning the Employee Network Public Sector Award is a reflection of the work that AFMA has done to support their needs.

Captain Naveed Muhammad, the Chairman of the UK Armed Forces Muslim Association, said:

We are delighted to have received this award in recognition of all that we are doing, and all that we wish to do in the future, to support the Muslims within the Royal Navy, Army and RAF. None of this would be possible without the support of the Chain of Command and also that of the Chief of Defence Staff as well as Chief of Defence People.

The UK Armed Forces shares the values of the Muslim faith - courage, loyalty, discipline, respect for others and selfless commitment – and protects these values at home and abroad. There are nearly 500 different careers employed by the UK Armed Forces, and we want more Muslims employed and benefitting from the world-class training we provide all our people whatever the role they choose. We hope that by raising awareness of the UK Armed Forces’ support of Muslim personnel we will encourage more Muslims to consider a career in the Armed Forces.

RAF won the Future Workforce Award for their Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) Employability Skills Programme, an award which recognises employers that are addressing the talent pool challenge by taking action to raise the aspiration and attainment of young people from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. Improving diversity is the RAF’s top priority and the RAF residential programme, now in its seventh year has supported over 150 black, Asian and minority ethnic students. The programme tests students’ ability to operate outside their home environment and solve engineering challenges, while experiencing the RAF lifestyle. It is hoped that students who benefit from the programme will be ambassadors for the RAF and will see the RAF as an employer of choice for their future careers.

Air Commander Luck, RAF 1* Diversity Advocate, Commandant RAFC Cranwell, said:

This award reflects the honest endeavour and ambition of the RAF to make a real and lasting impact on diversity - we need it and want it. We want to engage with young people from all ethnicities, backgrounds and walks of life and make them aware of the huge variety of careers, apprenticeships and training available to them. It’s great to have this award as recognition that we are heading the right way.

In the face of challenging recruitment targets set by the Prime Minister, whereby 10 per cent of the Armed Forces recruits need to be from an ethnic minority by 2020, the Armed Forces have reinforced their efforts in communicating to the public the ways in which they support all faiths, cultures and genders.

Sandra Kerr, Race Equality Director, Business in the Community, said:

Congratulations to the Armed Forces on their awards. They are thinking in terms of the complete talent pipeline by ensuring ethnic minority employees are represented at all levels within their organisations, developing the diverse talent they attract and creating a reputation as a great place to work. The Armed Forces offer a great example of best practice in this area and should be incredibly proud of this achievement.

Adrian Joseph, Director, Enterprise Analytics Services EMEA, Google, and Chair, Business in the Community Race Equality Leadership Team, said:

I’d like to congratulate the UK Armed Forces on their successes tonight. Our Award winners demonstrate the positive impact of embedding diversity and inclusion into the core of their business. Their achievements set a great example for other organisations to follow.

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