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Acorn Training’s Gareth Saldanha-Fallows awarded ‘EDI Initiative of the Year’ for positive leaps in recruitment at the inspirational World Skills UK – Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Heroes Awards 2022

(Thursday, 24th February 2022) Acorn Training’s Founder Gareth Saldanha-Fallows has been recognised for his work championing diversity and inclusion within the organisation and the local communities at the World Skills UK Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Awards 2022.  These inspiring awards are hosted in partnership with Coca-Cola Europacific partners and the NCFE and are an opportunity to recognise outstanding commitment to promoting and supporting diverse and inclusive practices and celebrate those making a real difference.

Many gathered to celebrate during a lively and emotive virtual ceremony on the evening of Thursday 24th February where Gareth was applauded for his recent recruitment drive to promote an inclusive work space for any potential applicants joining Acorn Training’s growing business by adopting a more values-based recruitment approach. The company has also openly declared Gareth’s sexuality on their website and amended job advert text to become more inclusive. This initiative has been met with positivity; attracting new LGBTQ+ candidates, creating increased openness within interviews and has translated through to the internal culture of the business whereby employees can discuss sexuality openly and freely.

This follows success in last year’s awards where Acorn Training were crowned winners of two of the five categories; Network of the Year and Role Model Award for Gareth. Acorn’s triumphs were supported by their positive contribution to the LGBTQ+ community including breaking down barriers through challenging stereotypes and misconceptions.

Gareth faced challenges in his personal life due to his sexuality and has used his experiences to build Acorn Training into an inclusive and safe space for the LGBTQ+ and wider community. Gareth’s life teachings have ensured he is well-placed to fully understand the journey individuals may be facing and is passionate about equality in all factors, ensuring this ethos is echoed throughout all of the Acorn team and its operations.

Gareth comments on the award “It’s a great honour to accept this award, I’m extremely proud of the work we have done to ensure Acorn Training is considered a safe and secure place to learn and work. Our recent recruitment drive has had a hugely positive impact on the diversity of candidates and their willingness to have open and honest discussions with us. We are now even better equipped to support candidates into roles and welcome them into our Acorn Family”.

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Notes to editors

Acorn Training are a national training provider delivering apprenticeships, adult education, employability programmes, justice services, skills & career development. To learn more about the organisation and its offerings, please visit: https://www.acorntraining.co.uk/ or follow on social media: Instagram: @Acorn_training_ltd Twitter: @AcornTrainingUK LinkedIn: Acorn Training Ltd Facebook: Acorn Training UK

Gareth Fallows, of Stoke-on-Trent, has worked within the skills and welfare to work industry since 1996, spending a number of years working within Further Education and welfare to work, delivering high profile regional contracts, such as Private Sector Led New Deal, Pathways to Work, The Work Programme, Community Work Placement and numerous Skills Funding Agency and DWP ESF contracts and Apprenticeships.

As a teenager, Gareth faced challenges because of his sexuality. Despite these obstacles, Gareth found safety and security within his LGBTQ+ community and further education, training as a secondary school teacher at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2001. 

In 2008, he founded Acorn Training, now a large apprenticeships, skills, justice and employability provider employing close to 100 staff nationally. Gareth felt it was important for Acorn Training to be a safe and inclusive space for all communities, thus creating inclusive opportunities and breaking down engagement and motivational barriers. Gareth is passionate about equality in all factors and uses his own experiences to be well placed to fully understand the journey of LGBTQ+ individuals whilst continuing to understand and help other communities. 

Gareth holds a Masters Degree in Local Economic Regeneration from University and completed a MSc in Local Economic Regeneration. Gareth is currently undertaking a professional Doctorate in Education at the University of Birmingham.

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