Workforce Integration Ambassador Programme launches

Picture here are 2019/20 Workforce Integration Ambassadors (photograph taken before the COVID-19 pandemic)

Blackburn College is delighted to lead on a Workforce Integration Ambassador programme, as part of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council’s social integration programme, Our Community, Our Future.

The programme brings together companies based in Blackburn with Darwen, who are committed to ensuring an inclusive and diverse workplace to share best practice.

The programme also supports local employers to develop diverse workforces, allowing people from different backgrounds to mix at work.

Each participating company will identify a member of staff who can train as a Workforce Integration Ambassador. Ambassadors will participate in four training sessions focused on recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce. The interactive workshops include sessions with external agencies and experts and the project will train 20 ambassadors. Places are limited.

The ambassadors will be supported to develop Action Plans and companies who successfully complete the programme will have access to a grant of £300 to support implementation of their action plans.

Kathryn Rigbye, HR and talent manager at PM+M Solutions for Business LLP, said: “I would recommend the programme without hesitation, it provided an excellent opportunity to share good practice and develop useful skills and techniques. The conversation flowed from the beginning, providing an understanding of different perspectives in a supportive network.”

Nazir Makda, equality, diversity and inclusion lead at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The programme provided a safe space to share practice and challenges without any judgement. Each organisation is in a different place on their journey and can pick up practice and skills from each other.

“I am continuing to support this programme as I believe we can achieve greater harmony and a better place for all by working and learning together. The programme made me think and reflect and I picked up new skills which I have put into practice. Please join us in this supportive Ambassador network.”

Sessions will be held in a COVID-secure environment at Blackburn College, with an introductory workshop taking place from 12pm midday to 1pm on Friday 2nd July 2021. Further workshops take place from 10am to 4pm on Friday 3rd September 2021, Monday 24th September 2021 and Friday 22nd October 2021.

To find out more come along to one of the online recruitment sessions on Tuesday 25th May 2021 at either 12pm noon or 6pm. To book your place, visit

You can also contact 01254 292500 or

Our Community, Our Future is a three-year programme which brings together a wide range of local partners in order to work together to strengthen relationships between people from different backgrounds. This helps the borough become a place where diversity is valued and where people’s faith and cultures are understood and respected.

Rebecca Ramsay, interim head of prevention and neighbourhoods at Blackburn with Borough Darwen Council, said: “Providing opportunities for people to come together naturally is a key part of our social integration strategy. Creating more diverse workplaces is a vital part of our plans in this work.

“Already in 2019/20, Blackburn College successfully delivered the Workforce Integration Ambassador programme and, as a result, a number of local employers in the public, private and third sectors have implemented changes to their recruitment practices and created working environments that are suitable for people from different cultures. It’s an important way to bring together people who otherwise may not come into contact with each other.”

Blackburn with Darwen is one of five national Integration Areas invited by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to work closely with them on innovative plans to address social integration.

There’s more information about the Our Community, Our Future programme on the Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council website.