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Key points

  • RCSLT is supporting SLTs to undertake a range of projects to promote diversity and careers in SLT – how can you be involved?
  • You can join in projects (or develop your own) by emailing padraigin.oflynn@rcslt.org to join the careers and diversity network.

Careers promotion working group

Careers promotion and admissions: proposed focus areas:

  1. Promoting SLT as a career
  2. Networks
  3. Images

Projects about promoting SLT as a career

Initial projects

  • Improving schools career advice
    • understand where and when SLTs are going out to schools - survey
    • developing materials and resources for people to use in promotion, schools events and other promotion opportunities. Models/ swallowing sweets/ comms boards/ interactive/ comms games/ payment from HEE?
    • RCSLT branded packs for different event situations
    • Project to link school curricula and different age stages eg A-Level, GCSE, primary, to SLT – project with LSU school
  • Promoting ideas for shadowing/ work experience and encouraging SLTs to offer them to minority SLT groups given the difficulty of securing them.
  • Encouraging/ facilitating taster days. Tips for organising an example day.
  • Admissions group suggestion of e-learning/ MOOK around SLT taster modules.

Later projects

  • Look at careers apps and how they tag SLT – algorithms
  • Mainstreaming in the media – stories in media/ soaps

Projects about student networks

  • Workshop proposal new national SLT student network (hosted by RCSLT). 
  • Developing the proposal, aims and scope. 
  • Taking in to account the RCSLT student survey results.

Projects about images/ videos of SLT

  • Generating more images and videos of SLT to use in careers promotion: 
    • More diverse mix of people
    • Better range of roles
    • Benefits of an SLT career clearer
  • Develop templates for consents required and what formats to use.
  • Develop a google form template for SLTs to contribute their story and give their consent. The information could then be used flexibly to present the information in different ways.

Schools outreach project

Have you ever considered offering to do a schools careers event?

There are 3,500 secondary schools and approximately 12,000 SLTs in England. If every SLT were to offer a careers talk to a secondary school once every three years we could potentially reach every school in England.

Aims

  • Improved visibility of speech and language therapy as a career choice.

  • Increased interest in speech and language therapy as a profession.

  • Increased diversity of the speech and language therapy student population.

Rationale

The research available suggests that there is a lack of diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity and socio-economic status within the speech and language profession. 

Contributing factors for this include, but are not limited to: 

  • A lack of profile of the profession, especially among boys.

  • Misconceptions about what SLTs do.

  • The status of the profession and lack of understanding that it is a degree level profession.   

We hope that a large number of SLTs in the regional Hubs and students in universities will be able to each commit a limited amount of time to help promote their profession. 

Inputs

We can create a shareable spreadsheet for each local area that lists all the secondary schools and their websites and head teacher details (this is available publicly from gov.uk). We recommend that 2-4 SLTs, students or assistants manage the emailing of schools and allocation of events to SLTs. Where schools accept, allocate an SLT, a student SLT or both to attend.

We also need to ensure we try to reach schools in areas with low participation rates for HE and that we are considering a diverse range of schools generally. 

 

We envisage targeting pupils in year 12 as they are considering university choices in the summer/autumn of each year.  

We only need to target schools with sixth forms, and there are some schools where it will not be appropriate, for example, specialist maths or engineering colleges.

A basic toolkit to help prepare for an event is available in the careers guide section.

Gender diversity

Proposed focus areas in order of priority:

  1. Understanding and addressing perceptions about male SLTs
  2. Developing support networks 
  3. Experience of the working and student environment for men

Projects understanding and addressing perceptions about male SLTs

  • Understanding what are the characteristics of SLTs and how these appeal to men (and women) 
  • Projects to build a library of stories about the journey of male SLTs, their motivations, experience and aspirations. 
  • Developing a more nuanced approach to targeting potential students using language and images that embrace diversity but do not give a misleading picture.
  • Understanding how careers apps/programmes select careers suggestions and checking whether these are gendered.
Image of projects understanding and addressing perceptions about male SLTs 

Projects to develop support networks 

  • Defining the parameters of a male support network.
  • Is there a role for a gender diversity discussion forum? 
  • How could they be set up, run and monitored? 
Projects to develop support networks, image of 

Projects exploring the experience of the working and student environment for men – start date late 2020

  • What impact of feminised culture and/or language?
  • What perceptions are there of a glass elevator for men in the workplace and is there evidence to support it? 
  • Is there bias or discrimination and how is it dealt with?
  • Collecting experiences on placement – positive and negative.
  • Explore why the male student leaver rate appears higher than the female rate.

Ethnicity

In June 2019 RCSLT held a workshop “Towards a diverse profession”. The discussion on the day resulted in many comments and ideas, those on ethnicity are set out here. Following the workshop, a ethnicity working group was formed, they helped RCSLT with considering those ideas and forming them into focus areas for action and planned projects. Those plans are set out below. Coronavirus has meant a pause taking them forward in the original planned timescales.

Proposed focus areas:

  1. Racism,unconscious bias and microaggressions
  2. Role of BAME networks
  3. Workplace experience for SLTs and student SLTs
  4. Supporting cultural awareness 

Projects about the experience of racism, unconscious bias and microaggressions

  • Embedding projects across the focus areas – highlighted in green text.
  • Important to have overview data on the ethnicity of SLTs, broken down by band where relevant to inform policy development.
  • Unconscious bias and microaggressions – are SLTs and students doing online training? Trusts/ HEIs have training already – is there a culture to support in practice?

Projects about the role for BAME networks

  • Scoping the possible aims and structure of a BAME support network and/or a network that will support open discussion of issues. 
Projects about the role for BAME networks 

 Projects about the workplace experience for SLTs and student SLTs – start date mid 2020?

  • Project to promote buy-in from managers supporting clinicians from different ethnic backgrounds? Highlighting impact of microaggressions? 
  • Developing more shadowing/experience opportunities for BAME young people – create a sheet of wider variety of pointers of where to find shadowing – eg care homes, schools. 
  • Projects to develop better representation in SLT media – developing images that are more representative.
  • Projects to showcase in the RCSLT diversity month 2020 - July 

Projects to support better cultural awareness

  • Interpreting RCSLT curriculum guidance around cultural learning / teach authentically about working with different cultures eg DMU project
  • Better resources – finding out about availability of phonetics in other languages?
  • Consider scope of champions/ mentors role? What would a champion offer? How would they be selected? 
  • Resources for schools/community presentations – should they be different for different ethnic groups? 
  • Should SLTs reach out to talk to parents in communities? Create a flyer eg trial in libraries.

Wider aspects of diversity

Wider aspects of diversity: proposed focus areas:

  1. Promotion across the protected characteristics
  2. Disability
  3. Socio-economic 

Careers promotion across 9 protected characteristics

  • Access to open days - travel to uni open days and interview a real issue for those who are from disadvantaged backgrounds and with disabilities.
    • Could more be online, not just generic university videos, but SLT specific ones. Film SLT talks and put them online. 
    • Is there any funding support for interview days? 
  • Education around protected characteristics – gather information about how and if it is taught in the curriculum to ensure all students see themselves represented.
  • Culture of the profession – an inclusive profession – this area will be taken forward via the profession culture working group. 

Projects about disability

  • Develop a disability network/group
  • RCSLT disability guidance – scope whether it needs updating. Identifying the barriers 
  • Developing role models and publicising via podcasts/ Bulletin 
  • Mental health and invisible disabilities – issues identified in statistics around SLT student mental health – scope issues and how to empower people to talk and provide a safe space. 

Projects looking to address socio-economic diversity

  • Being prepared for a job interview – develop tips for preparing – link to leadership mentors? 
  • Work experience/ shadowing – overcoming the barrier of no contacts in SLT for disadvantaged groups 
    • Improved information about where and how to look. 
    • Work experience cover letters/ templates 
  • Identifying non traditional routes to the profession eg ex service personnel/ community groups/ career changers. Map how to reach those groups.
  • Does careers promotion to disadvantaged groups need a different approach or different materials?