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The Inclusivity Works campaign launched by the GEM Project is delighted to announce the first Gloucestershire Inclusive Employers Awards received by organisations who are committed to building an inclusive culture in the workplace.  Each of them have been recognised for embracing and creating a culture where diverse groups of people feel valued, confident and able to be themselves, and have seen incredible benefits as individuals contribute their very best to the organisation. 

At an event held at Gloucester Services on 6th October 2021, awards were presented to 13 employers that have welcomed inclusivity and diversity as part of their working and employment practices, supporting candidates that, for a variety of reasons, have struggled to get into the workplace.  By doing so, they are helping to create a sustainable future for inclusivity in the workplace as well as reaping tangible benefits. 

Adding real business value, not just a good thing to do 

Emma Willis, whose business received an award said: “As a manufacturing fashion business, Gloucester is such a great city to employ as there is so much creative talent enriched by the many refugees who are welcomed and settled in by exemplary organisations such as the GEM Project, GARAS, City Farm and The Friendship Cafe. I met the extraordinarily talented tailor and craftsman Ibrahim through GARAS and the GEM Project, who came with his young family from war torn Syria where he had lost his home and business. We have now employed Ibrahim for three years and he has been an invaluable addition to it our business, leading our Net a Porter production.”  

Event host Gloucester Services also received an award for their ‘Bridging the Gap’ programme, a course designed and run with Gloucestershire Gateway Trust to offer pre-employment support and a guaranteed interview to people who may normally find traditional recruitment processes challenging.   

Hayley Dolling, People Business Partner at Gloucester Services said: “Being part of the bridging the gap initiative has been a great benefit to Gloucester Services. We have gained valuable colleagues who without this opportunity to meet us, may not have made it through our traditional recruitment process. It is not just for those dedicated to looking for a role, but also provides a good personal development opportunity for interviewing and work experience. We are very much looking forward to supporting our next group later in October.” Leading Gloucestershire to become a ‘beacon of inclusivity’ in the UK 

Since 2017 the GEM Project, managed by Gloucestershire Gateway Trust on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council and funded by the European Social Fund and National Lottery Community Fund, have been working to support individuals in overcoming barriers preventing them from gaining education, training or work.  Over the last year they launched their Inclusivity Works campaign aimed at employers.  Its ambition is to make the county a beacon for inclusivity in the UK. And despite the difficulties of the past 18 months’, they have worked with both employers and candidates to embrace the benefits that inclusion in the workplace can bring. 

Jason Dunsford, Project Manager for the GEM Project comments, “We are delighted to have been able to support these organisations on the journey to becoming Gloucestershire Inclusive Employers Awards winners.  Each has worked to achieve an inclusive and diverse workplace, going on to reap a wide range of benefits by doing so, from reduced staff turnover and recruitment costs to positive impacts on staff morale.”  

By sharing business experiences, Inclusivity Works aims to inspire more employers to work in partnership with the campaign and through the support on offer, take advantage of fantastic, talented and motivated potential employees who may not have previously been considered. 

Their website provides a useful online resource hub, underpinned by a series of case studies on real Gloucestershire employers sharing their stories  


The first 13 Gloucestershire Inclusive Employers 

Art Shape 

Caring for Communities and People (CCP) 

Emma Willis Ltd  


Gloucester Services 

Gloucestershire County Council 

Gloucester Deaf Association 


GL Communities  

Inclusion Gloucestershire  


The Nelson Trust 

University of Gloucestershire 

First 13 Gloucestershire organisations receive new Inclusive Employer Award

by Harry Cowley