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Equality, diversity and inclusion within the digital workforce

Health Education England seek to embrace a workforce that is representative of the diversity found in the communities that we serve and demonstrate our commitment to diversity and inclusion for our workforce, the way we manage our business and our influence with stakeholders.

We know that a diverse and inclusive workforce can help us to develop new ways of thinking leading to improvement and innovation in the way we work. For us, it is vital that all colleagues, and the learners we support, are treated fairly and are enabled to reach their full potential.

The Digital Readiness Team shares this commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and it is integral to our work. For each project we consider and complete an Equality Impact assessment to ensure that our processes and products are inclusive and do not disadvantage any vulnerable groups or people with protected characteristics. The following are just a few practical examples of the work we are doing.

Inclusive recruitment for learning programmes

We are developing a transparent and more inclusive process to support applications for NHS Digital Academy learning programmes, allowing us to increase diversity and ensuring feedback and signposting is built into the process.

Once developed, this inclusive recruitment process will be adopted and adapted across all our digital learning programmes.

Inclusive recruitment for graduates

The Digital Graduate Health Innovation Network Fast-track Pathway aims to increase the number and quality of individuals coming into the system with digital skills and address the diversity ratios for females in digital, BAME, regional variations and career changers.


HEE are a founding partner in FastFutures, a ground-breaking digital and personal skills programme that helps young adults secure employment. Backed by leading global employers, FastFutures offers coaching to education leavers on vital workplace skills.

The programme aims to improve the employability of young people from all backgrounds and walks of life and follows the principle that everyone should have the same opportunity to shape their future, regardless of their race, gender, or background. As such, the programme is designed to be as accessible as possible to disadvantaged and underrepresented groups.

Supporting digital experts

The Shuri Network was launched July 19 and has been supported by our programme since inception. It supports women of colour in digital health to develop the skills and confidence to progress into senior leadership positions and help NHS leadership teams more closely represent the diversity of their workforce. The network champions diversity, innovation and safety across the health and care workforce, engaging with national bodies, research / policy institutes and senior leaders to ensure this is built into policy and systems.

Expansion plans for 2021 includes bursaries, mentoring, and the establishment of a Shuri Fellowship.


Literature review: Flexible working in healthcare 

PDF iconFlexible working in healthcare.pdf

Who gains from the benefits, and how? For example, different staff or groups and what information exists about return on investment. How can flexible working support the inclusion, equality and diversity agenda?

Literature review: What are the benefits to a diverse workforce in digital, data and technology teams?

PDF iconDiverse workforce in tech and digital teams.pdf

There is much evidence to support benefits of diverse teams in general, but this literature review looks specifically at the benefits of diversity in technology related teams.

Literature review: Evidence around the effect of more diverse leadership teams (particularly gender and ethnicity) on patient care and clinical outcomes 

PDF iconDiverse leadership teams and patient care.pdf

This literature review focusses mainly on research in healthcare settings and any articles that looked at the relationship between patient care / outcomes and diverse leadership.

Literature review: Inclusive job descriptions

PDF iconInclusive job descriptions.pdf

What does a non-gendered job description look like that fully supports inclusion and diversity?