‘Diversity: It’s actually about raising standards’

Sep 07, 2019

Anne Allen, chief people officer at Milton Keynes College.

BROADENING the diversity among senior managers is the priority for Milton Keynes College’s newly appointed chief people officer Anne Allen.

She has arrived on campus after five years working for Xero, the accounting software company based in Central Milton Keynes. She says she wants to encourage more applications from black, Asian and minority ethnic and disabled candidates for jobs at the college, in particular for senior managerial vacancies.

“Making our leadership team more diverse is not just about ticking boxes or being seen to do the right thing,” says Anne. “It is actually about raising standards. If you only recruit from the same talent pool all the time you are restricting yourself and will miss out on a lot of really talented people.  

“The question is not whether it is a good thing for the college, as that is clearly the case. It is about working out how to reach more potential applicants from different backgrounds so that we see them as candidates whenever there is a vacancy.”

It is important for students at the college to see a mix of managers. “It has been proved over and over again that students will allow themselves greater ambition if they see people who are like them in the top jobs.

“The student body reflects the make-up of the city and that means many learning here do not come from traditional white British families.  If those young people see that there really are opportunities open to people of similar backgrounds to them, they will aim higher and that what we want for all of our students.”

College chief executive and group principal Dr Julie Mills says: “We are delighted to welcome Anne to the college and have every confidence she will help to ensure that our management team accurately reflects the society in which we work.  

“Her plans fit perfectly with our existing philosophy to be the broadest based institution we can be and to have a diverse and talented workforce to inspire our students.”

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