Celebrating one year of the IP Inclusive Charter

08 December 2016

On November 24th I had the pleasure of attending a discussion and reception to mark the first anniversary of the launch of the IP Inclusive Charter for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. I was there in my role as leader of the volunteer team that developed and launched the Charter to give a progress report on the range of inclusivity projects and initiatives that are now underway under the IP Inclusive banner.

IP Inclusive first anniversary sign

We now have 85 Charter signatory organisations, many of whom were present at the central London event, along with a host of other IP professionals with a shared interest in encouraging diversity throughout the UK Intellectual Property Sector. One project that particularly captured the imagination of the audience was the launch of our new awareness-raising Careers in Ideas campaign, which will help teachers and careers professionals to understand the opportunities there are in IP for young people. It was also great to be able to report on the launch of two interest groups, IP Out and Women in IP, each of which held well-attended launch events in November.

IP Inclusive first anniversary attendees

The highlight of the evening was an inspirational keynote speech titled, “Race for Opportunity”, which was delivered by Maria Petnga-Wallace, a Diversity Advisor at Business in the Community; followed by a lively panel discussion on increasing racial diversity within the IP professions.

After the panel session, attendees discussed the topic informally and shared ideas about new approaches to recruitment and career progression structures. The most talked-about issue was a statistic presented by Maria: one in five UK students studying STEM subjects in UK universities are from BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds). It was apparent that this presents great opportunities for all sectors of the IP profession to access this pool of early-stage talent and to develop it though their organisations to create significantly more diverse and inclusive businesses in the years to come.

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