Diversity in the Workplace

30 November 2017

St Mary’s University College was pleased to participate in the 2017 Human Resource Management (HRM) international conference on “Diversity in the Workplace” held in the Saxion University of Applied Sciences, Enschede, Netherlands from 19-23 November 2017.

Left to right: Victoria Lowe, Niamh Gibson, Cara O’Hagan, Bronagh McErlean and Rita Day

Four St Mary’s students in the second year of their BA Liberal Arts degree were joined by other students from Fachhochshule des bfi (Wien, Austria), University Colleges Leuven-Limburg (Leuven, Belgium), Metropolia UAS (Helsinki, Finland), Université de Bretagne Occidentale (Quimper, France), Saxion UAS (Enschede, Netherlands) and the Alexandru Loan Cuza University (Lasi, Romania).

St Mary’s students with Chris Sikkema (Saxion student host)

Left to right: Gudrun De Meulmeester, Barbara Waldhauser, Ruxandra Ciulu, Rita Day,
Ivane Pautler, Anne-Mari Raivio and Ton van Baaden

On day one, students from each partner university delivered a presentation about themselves, their university and their city. The keynote speaker was Hans van Leeuwen, human resource director, Asito. Representatives from a number of companies within the Netherlands also explained how they managed diversity within their organisations.

Students from all seven countries formed international groups to analyse case studies that focussed on several aspects of diversity within the workplace. Most of the cases were based on real-life events. Students enjoyed a ‘get to know each other’ traditional foods evening, as one of the objectives of the Humint conference was to become familiar with different cultures.

Tonny Roelofsen, manager, UWV, delivered a very engaging workshop on the theme of disability.

Left to right: Chloe Jugan, Cara O’Hagan, Teemu Petteri, Valtteri Honka, Tonny Roelofsen, Irina Balabanova, Coline Jacob, Meike Frederique and Lieke Engelse

The international groups presented on the final day, identifying not only the major problems and issues within the cases but also providing bespoke human resource solutions for each case. The disability case study was designed by Peter Stevenson, senior lecturer in business studies at St Mary’s.

The students did have some free time to see the wonderful town of Enschede, Netherlands.

Many St Mary’s students have found employment in a human resource capacity in the past and are likely to do so in the future. This conference not only increased students’ knowledge of HRM as a discipline, it also allowed students to work in teams, finding innovative and creative solutions to real-life problems. These employability skills should prove attractive to prospective future employers.

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