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Equality or diversity officers promote positive practices and attitudes towards particular groups, such as ethnic minorities, disabled people and women. They aim to make sure there is no discrimination regarding access to employment, education and training opportunities or services.
How to become an equality officer
Relevant work experience as well as knowledge and understanding of issues around equal opportunities and legislation is vital for this role. A degree in a subject such as law, psychology or sociology is a good way of preparing for a career as an equality officer. Those with an unrelated degree could take a postgraduate course, for example in race and ethnic relations, disability studies or equality and diversity.
Professional experience in human resource management, youth and community work or social work is also an advantage. An equality officer in a school will need to qualify as a teacher first.
Skills and knowledge required
Successful equality officers possess:
- a commitment to equal opportunities and an awareness of cultural diversity
- a good understanding of equal opportunities’ issues and legislation
- the ability to relate to a wide variety of people
- strong spoken and written communication skills
- good listening skills
- an open mind, tact and diplomacy
Salaries for trainee officers range from £13,000 to £20,000 a year. Experienced officers in local authorities, universities or international companies can earn between £25,000 and £40,000 a year.
Equality officers usually work from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday and sometimes in the evenings or at weekends, when working with community groups.
www.cipd.co.uk (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development)