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07 Aug 2020 79

Thought leadership article: Diversity and Duty to Care

League Managers Association Technical Director and UK Coaching Board Member Dr Wayne Allison's thought leadership article on diversity and duty to care.

During my time in football, as a player, a coach and now working with all the major footballing stakeholders, I’ve always championed diversity. Whilst there is still a long way to go to ensure more diversity across football, sport and coaching, we are beginning to see a positive shift and sporting organisations are changing for the better.

In coaching there has been a lot of progress made across the five pillars of Duty to Care, and it’s good to see some steps in the right direction when it comes to diversity, especially in football. But the numbers are still no way near high enough when it comes to head coaches and managers.

There has been a lot of black, Asian and minority ethnic players who have made the transition into coaching and have been around the game a long time, but we haven’t seen that rate of change yet reflected in the number of managers, and ultimately that is the figure that constantly gets talked about. This is why there is a massive movement now to address it in a more meaningful way.

One way an organisation can really help is transparency when it comes to the recruitment process. With applications being accepted for jobs that are actually available, or even where the jobs are advertised, if you advertise your roles using the same five or six places, you are always going to get a similar type of person. If you spread the net wider you will get a more diverse group, first of all seeing the advert, and then applying.

Quotas and targets aren’t the only way or possibly the best way to do it, what we want are the best people to get the jobs. If you are qualified and you have got the experience and meet all the requirements, then I think you should be getting the opportunities. That’s not to say I’m against having policies to help recruit more black, Asian and minority ethnic employees, because I think there should be more targeted programmes to increase diversity, but it should not just be done for the sake of it.

Following recent events, people are becoming more aware of their own biases and the issues faced by black, Asian and minority ethnic populations, so the fact that there are now more resources in place to help coaches can only be a positive thing.

It’s all about education and support for me because companies and organisations need educating about unconscious bias.

Some may not even be aware of it, but we have got a duty and responsibility to make sure we educate and support them going forward. That way we can help them to move forward progressively. I know we can all do a lot to improve our own awareness and knowledge by communicating and I think that is key.

The Duty to Care Toolkit is a great way to assess your current knowledge and to see how you can improve. I’ll be recommending it to coaches and players whom I work with, as it can play a key role in an individual’s personal, as well as professional development. So we can all continue to take strides forward to a more ethnically diverse coaching landscape.

Duty to Care Toolkit and Digital Badge

Learn more about the five pillars of Duty to Care and start working towards earning our nationally recognised Duty to Care ‘Digital Badge’

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