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They say that a diamond is formed under pressure

Published 29th March, 2024 by Kelsey Hargreaves

Kelsey Hargreaves

Kelsey Hargreaves

Assistant Technical Specialist
The British Institute of Cleaning Science

They say that a diamond is formed under pressure

Kelsey Hargreaves, Technical Specialist at BICSc, reports.

They say that a diamond is formed under pressure, so to quote the singer Dylan Gosse: “Why on earth am I still coal?”.

Earlier in March at the Manchester Cleaning Show, I was a panellist for the BICSc panel on 'Opportunities for effective training'. For those of you who weren’t present for the discussion, instead of talks on the future of education – with a technology-centric outlook – we looked at the learners themselves and the ways in which the world of education and training was evolving to fit the needs of the learner. I remember when I put the idea forward for the panel, Neil Spencer-Cook (BICSc Group Managing Director) and I sat down for a while to look at the different types of learner, the differences we find in our workforces that can impact or can be impacted by the learning environment.

We both found it was very easy to write about learner needs that came from characteristics we had: neurodiversity, experience, age, etc., and in some ways, we could identify the differences that we had experienced when in different training situations, yet there were still some characteristics of different identities that we didn’t know how to deal with.

I know the normal saying goes 'Don’t tarnish everyone with the same brush', but in my many hours of aimless Facebook scrolling, I found a better cliché: 'A diamond is formed under pressure...And dough rises when you leave it to rest...Recognising difference is key'.

Well, I’m sorry random Philosophical Facebook Author, but that’s where you’re wrong. Understanding how to be inclusive of 'difference' is key. The employee, indeed, the whole industry we work in, is extremely diverse. If we think about elementary diverse tenets within a person’s character, we can immediately look to: Neurodiversity; Nationality; Religion; Age; Experience; and Mental and physical health. And it’s all well and good recognising it, but what about making an effort to understand it?

Now, what I’m suggesting here is not you become fluent in Hindi (do it if you wish, it’s a beautiful language), or that you complete a degree in religious beliefs (again, I would highly recommend), what I am saying here is be willing to be vulnerable in your lack of knowledge.

It seems that the real problem in understanding the needs of people around us, or indeed in understanding anything, is the fact that we let the embarrassment of our lack of knowledge become ignorance. Let’s see if I can show you what I mean...

Nationality: Almost 40% of our workforce are considered ethnic minorities, what do you do to celebrate their culture and their background, what do you actually know?

Religion: Different religions have different set prayer times, different religious ceremonies, dates of importance and rituals. You know when Christmas Day is, but are you aware of when prayer time is?

Age: As we introduce the younger generation to our workforces, our industry becomes more diverse in the ages present. You may understand the needs of people younger than you, as you have lived those years, but what about the people older than you?

Experience: Are you guilty of pushing your own experiences on someone else and assuming they have experienced the same? Different life experiences impact people in differing ways, as the proverbial saying goes, when you assume, you make...

Mental and physical health: Let’s say it louder for people in the back: NOT ALL DISABILITIES ARE VISIBLE.

Neurodiversity: There are over 600 neurodiverse conditions that can impact the way a person interacts, learns and comprehends their environment, even down to the smallest detail. Think it is as simple as giving people space or allowing people to learn the way they want to? Do you know the way that people want to learn or the way people will understand things easier?

The point of everything I am saying here is that we need to not get lost in our assumptions, or our lack of understanding of the needs of the different people we meet, but embrace this fallibility and ASK!

So, as the cliches go:

There is no such thing as a silly question.
Every day is a school day.
A diamond is formed under pressure.
And dough rises when you leave it to rest.

Understanding how to be inclusive of 'difference' is key!

About the contributor

Kelsey Hargreaves

Kelsey Hargreaves

Assistant Technical Specialist


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