Alison Weatherhead, head of Dentons' people, reward & mobility practice in Scotland

HOW to turn the anger unleashed by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement into tangible change in the workplace will be the focus of an online seminar being hosted tomorrow by law firm Dentons.

The virtual gathering – which is open to everyone – will discuss topics including how to avoid unconscious bias, how to attract diverse talent, and how to implement practical support and sponsorship.

Speakers at the seminar will include Colleen Amos, Co-founder and Chief Executive of The Amos Bursary, which supports young British men of African and Caribbean descent.

She will be joined by Ama Ocansey, UK Head of Diversity & Inclusion at investment bank BNP Paribas, and Puneet Tahim, Alumni Relations & Lateral Hiring Manager at Rare Recruitment.

Glasgow-based Alison Weatherhead, Head of Dentons’ People, Reward & Mobility practice in Scotland, will host the seminar alongside fellow Partner Purvis Ghani, and Virginia Allen, Head of People, Reward & Mobility UK at Dentons.

Ms Weatherhead said: “I can’t wait to learn from our experienced and knowledgeable panellists as we explore how to get recruitment right within the BLM context.

“This online gathering is part of a series of BLM events, as we maintain momentum in this important area.

“It’s crucial that we all put what we’ve learned over the past year into action by avoiding unconscious bias and making sure we recruit colleagues from a diverse range of backgrounds.

“Importantly, we want questions and comments from our audience too, so anyone who has a burning question or a piece of insight or experience to share should sign up for the event.”

The Law Society of Scotland’s most recent Profile of the Profession study, which was published in 2018, revealed that 96% of the 2,700 lawyers and accredited paralegals who took part in the survey described themselves as white.

Within the remaining 4%, 1.7% described themselves as Asian, lagging behind the 2.7% among Scotland’s population as a whole.

Following the report, the Law Society of Scotland outlined 28 recommendations to address equality and diversity issues within the profession, including an aim to increase the number of people from black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds working as lawyers and accredited paralegals.

In February, the Law Society of Scotland launched a Racial Inclusion Group, with Tatora Mukushi – a solicitor with housing charity Shelter Scotland – appointed as convener.

As part of its 2016-2030 Race Equality Framework, the Scottish Government has implemented a range of measures to help increase minority ethnic representation in the workplace, including working with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) to establish an equality action plan for apprenticeships.

The Scottish Government also set up the Workplace Equality Fund in 2018 to address inequalities faced by minority ethnic people, women, disabled people, and older workers.

Projects that received funding during 2020-21 included CEMVO Enterprises’ Ethnic Minority Workforce Development Project, the West of Scotland Regional Equality Council’s Equality Performance Observed in the Workplace (E-POW) scheme, and the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre’s DIveIN programme.