Case Study: Acorn Training Limited

Case Study - Acorn Training Limited


This case study attempts to use terminology that is acceptable to under-represented groups, but we appreciate that some of what is written may be problematic. For this we apologise. As with many others, we are on a learning journey and hope that you will bear with us as we move forward together.


Give us an overview of your organisation

Founded in 2008 and employing 119 staff, Acorn Training delivers apprenticeships, skills training, employability support, youth and justice services. Our clear vision is to “Ensure safe and secure futures for everyone to succeed in life and work” supporting equality of opportunity and ensuring all people are provided with the same opportunities in life, no matter their background. We achieve this through a highly inclusive approach to engagement and continued support for learners and participants. With strong roots in the community, Acorn Training changes lives, inspires individuals to take responsibility in their path in life through person-centred support, learning and development.


Tell us about the challenges faced by your organisation, which led you to focus on diversity and inclusion.

Our core values and ethos have always ensured that we help all individuals, no matter their background and more recently, we actively advocate this and make robust plans to ensure that individuals are comfortable when receiving our employability, justice, training, apprenticeship services.

One of the areas we wanted to work on was our own recruitment process as a business, to promote an inclusive workspace for any potential applicants joining our growing business. Following great success helping individuals and businesses within our network to break down barriers to an inclusive workforce, we wanted to ensure high levels on inclusivity and diversity were applied within our own workforce.


Please outline some of the D&I initiatives your organisation has introduced

To combat this challenge, we have started to adopt a more values-based recruitment approach and since openly declaring my sexuality on our webpage. I was always scared of declaring my sexuality to others so openly, but have learned not to be afraid and have experienced the positive side of this.

Here is the link to the website page-

To support this further, we have started to be much more inclusive in our advert text, welcoming potential the opportunity to visit us, exemplifying inclusivity with a standard top and tail on adverts to make them feel more inclusive.

We also nominated ourselves for the World Skills UK Diversity and Inclusion Awards to gain accreditation for our inclusive work, this resulted in an incredible two award wins: Network of the Year for Acorn Training and Role Model Award for myself. We are now able to share these wins on our internal and external communications, further validating our advocation of inclusivity and diversity.


Please tell us how people have reacted to the D&I initiatives your organisation has introduced.

We have attracted 4 new LGBTQ+ employees and we are finding at interview interviewees are much more open about talking about their sexuality or that of their friends or family, citing that they want to work for us because they can see we are inclusive. We have found that during interviews, candidates are able to engage in informal and friendly chats with us as an organisation. They have also referenced their enjoyment at reading about our award win

Our networks were also alerted via internal and external comms to our diversity and inclusion award wins, we received news coverage, employers reaching out to congratulate us and an increase in following on our social media channels.


Please tell us about the impact these initiatives have had.

This impact has translated through to the internal ethos of the company, creating a safe and secure place for colleagues to discuss sexuality freely and boosting morale. We have also seen an increase of colleagues sharing good news stories promoting our diversity triumphs on social media.

We have also been able to declare our diversity and inclusion award wins when tendering for new work/contracts and this has assured awarding boards that we operate in an inclusive way – we have since had an extremely successful year of contract wins; boosting turnover and growth.


Tell us what you learned on this journey and how you’ll use that in the future.

I am delighted that we are able to attract a more diverse workforce, enriching our existing workforce and reinforcing our inclusive values and ethos.

I am also thrilled with the award wins for the company and myself, I’m extremely proud that our customers are able to call me a role model and that Acorn Training is considered a safe and secure place to learn and work. I believe in the strong network we have created and the positive impact it has on so many people’s lives.


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