Valleys college makes it onto Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers

Coleg y Cymoedd representatives celebrating Pride Month

A college in the South Wales Valley has been named as one of the most inclusive employers in Britain by LGBT+ charity Stonewall, making it into the top 100 for the first time.

Coleg y Cymoedd has taken 79th place on the Top 100 Employers list, which was announced during LGBT+ History Month (February), and is the only further education college in the UK to be included.

The college competed against over 500 organisations from across the public, private and voluntary sectors to secure its place in the list. Coleg y Cymoedd has been recognised for the work it has carried out to support LGBT+ staff and learners and combat discrimination, such as promoting campaigns and awareness events, including LGBT+ History Month and Hate Crime Awareness Week.

Stonewall reveals that more than a third of LGBT+ staff have hidden parts of their identity at work and almost 1 in 5 LGBT+ employees have been a target of negative comments from colleagues because of their identity, stressing the importance of support from employers.

Andrew Heron from Blackwood, who is studying Childcare Level 2 at the college’s Ystrad Mynach campus, said: “I’m very proud that the college has been included by Stonewall for its work to support LGBT+ staff and learners like myself. It’s so important for everyone at the college to feel comfortable and be able to open up about being part of the LGBT+ community.

“I’ve been inspired to set up my own LGBT+ group at the college to continue encouraging other learners to talk about their sexuality and feel comfortable with their own identity.”

The Top 100 Employers list is compiled from Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index, an annual benchmark tool for inclusivity of LGBT+ staff, which is regarded as the UK’s definitive list of its kind.

Karen Phillips, Principal at Coleg y Cymoedd said: “As employers and educators, it is essential that we do all we can to ensure that our campuses are welcoming and supportive environments for all staff and learners. We are grateful to Stonewall for recognising the inclusive community we have created across all of our campuses. Most of all, I’d like to thank everyone who has supported our ongoing commitment to LGBT+ equality.”

To continue its work promoting LGBT+ equality and inclusivity, the college recently hosted its own stall at a Project Unity event and will be celebrating LGBT+ History Month during its own event at the college’s Nantgarw campus.