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Drama helps to embed diversity at the DVLA
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has recently hosted a conference on overcoming the challenges of diversity.
Designed by training provider Steps Drama, the conference brought together 200 managers from DVLA and other public sector organisations in Wales with the aim of sharing best practice and developing a support network.
"We decided to run a conference to highlight the opportunities of embracing diversity positively and proactively," said Derrin Stock, a diversity manager at DVLA.
"Drama is the best way to provide training in diversity because it really captures people's hearts and minds. Showing people how others will feel if they get their behaviour wrong is effective and compelling. It brings the training alive."
Held at the DVLA's Swansea headquarters, the conference, called The Drive to Diversity, featured keynote presentations from DVLA's chief executive and HR director as well as the disability rights commissioner for Wales and the head of the commission for racial equality Wales.
The delegates included 100 DVLA managers as well as another 100 managers from the NHS, the police, voluntary sector organisations, Swansea City and Borough Council, the Royal National Institutes for the Blind and for Deaf People, the Welsh Assembly and ethnic associations.
"The event was a great success and the delegates left enthused and excited about how they can work together to take diversity forward and ensure it lives and breathes in the workplace," said Derrin Stock. "The drama element really helped to grab attention and it illustrated how people's behaviour impacts on others."
Steps Drama has also run a one-day training programme for the DVLA's 40 harassment contact officers (HCOs) - a role designed to provide help and support to anyone who has experienced bullying or harassment in the workplace.
Steps ran interactive drama scenarios and provided sessions on neuro-linguistic programming techniques, the importance of tone and body language and on transactional analysis.
"Steps worked from an exacting HCO training needs specification to design, project manage and facilitate the whole event," said Graham Parker, an employee relations and liaison officer in DVLA's Diversity Team.
"They provided much more than drama-based training as they were able to weave in other learning methodologies and theories into the day. Our HCOs gained a great deal from the experience. It was a highly interactive, fun and effective session that achieved all of our aims."
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