Candida Mottershead talks about the importance of diversity, inclusion and mentoring.

From my own personal experience, I’ve had a lot of mentors during my time at Accenture and throughout my career, and in turn have had the chance to be a mentor to others.

The first mentor I had many years ago was integral in giving me the confidence that I could do ‘more’ with my career, and is someone whose advice I still value to this day. In turn, there are people I’ve been lucky enough to mentor both within Accenture – people who have worked for me and still come back for advice when they want a neutral view – and externally. For example, one of the instructors at my local gym is someone who I was able to advise to hone in on his ambitions and aspirations. The result being he has now moved into the career in financial services that he always wanted, but the downside is that he is no longer able to teach at my gym!

As you can imagine for a global company like Accenture, inclusion and diversity are fundamental to our core values. Our rich diversity makes us strong and more innovative, competitive and creative, helping us better serve our clients and communities.

We’re are actually aiming to be the most inclusive and diverse organisation in the world, with a workforce that reflects our clients and community. With this in mind, we are constantly thinking about how we can continue to build a workforce where everyone feels included, respected, and able to bring their whole selves to work. Whether that’s initiatives like our Mental Health Allies programme, LGBT inclusion, Accelerate programme for our BAME employees, apprenticeship schemes and more, we strive to create a truly human environment where people can be who they are and be their best selves – professionally and personally.

How do we manage it? One key factor is recruitment. We co-founded Movement to Work (MTW), the work-placement charity, to provide opportunities for young people from diverse backgrounds who want to work, but perhaps aren’t sure where to start. We’ve seen some incredible achievements by people who join us with few qualifications, who would otherwise might have not been considered for apprenticeships or any other roles, many of whom are now working for Accenture and studying for degrees.

As part of this programme, a mentoring scheme has been put in place, where current Accenture employees can guide apprentices on their career journeys, using their own experience to help more recent Accenture joiners. We’ve seen a strong and positive impact on our existing employees who have taken up these roles through their engagement and leadership. Everyone has the opportunity to fulfil their potential.  You can see a great example of the successful mentoring within this programme by watching our short film above about Rob and Faisal, both MTW mentee and mentor respectively.

I see mentoring as crucial in helping a number of people from a range of backgrounds obtain, identify and progress into meaningful employment. Systems like ours and our partnership with Movement to Work provide people throughout the business ecosystem with the relationships they can use to raise their aspirations, build their confidence and develop the soft skills required to help mentees shape and achieve their goals.

I’m proud to be part of this, and to have such a range of colleagues with whom I can both advise and learn from. Mentoring plays such a big part in many people’s careers, and lives.