The benefits of diversity

Students from seven Victorian universities attended an event focusing on careers through diversity.

La Trobe University’s Career Development Centre organised the 2012 Careers through Diversity event hosted at NAB Docklands on 27 September 2012.  The joint university initiative was attended by over 90 students and industry representatives interested in diversity and inclusion in the workplace.  This half-day event provided a fantastic opportunity for students from diversity groups to hear from organisations committed to a diverse workforce.

Organisations who attended included; NAB, Accenture, Telstra, IBM, Newcrest, Diverzita Consulting, Australia Network on Disability, Diversity @ Work, Vision Australia and CRS Australia.  Representatives from La Trobe, Monash, RMIT, Melbourne and Swinburne universities were also in attendance.

Dr Kerry Ferguson, Pro Vice Chancellor, Equity and Student Services, La Trobe University gave the welcome and chaired an interesting panel discussion on the topic of why diversity is important in the workplace.  Panellists included; Mark Glascodine, Careers Consultant specialling in disability who explained that employers need diversity to deal with diverse problems.  Morgan Williams, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at NAB, stated that promoting diversity leads to people being able to bring the “full sense of who they are to work”.  Bedy Othow, explained how she was able to join NAB through a diversity program aimed at the African Australian community.  Russell Lath, founder of the Accenture Australia LGBT network and a senior executive at the firm, explained that workplace diversity is important because their clients are demanding it.  A question and answer session followed.

Participants then heard from Jonathan Joffe, NAB Migrant Banking on the topic of developing a personal brand.  This was followed by round table discussions where students and industry and support services representatives discussed their unique selling points in relation to a diversity topic such as disability, GLBTI, gender, mature aged, indigenous and refugee.  Students were encouraged to think about how they could positively communicate a range of diversity attributes in a professional context.

An informative session by Virginia Matthews from Diverzita Consulting on networking lead into afternoon tea and opportunities for students to network with employers and support services, putting Virginia’s useful tips in to practice.

La Trobe University would like to acknowledge the support of the National Australia Bank and Accenture who sponsored this event.