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Commit to Empowering Young Women and Students Globally

A version of this article was first published in FE News on 3rd November 2023.

It’s vitally important that more companies commit to empowering young women and students globally to promote more diversity and inclusion. Michelle Hopkins-Jones, Global People and Culture Director at Yugo, offers some advice on how companies can embrace this ethos as well as celebrating what companies, such as Yugo, are already doing.

Diversity in the workplace is crucial, and supporting the future workforce from a young age throughout their university journey will help to promote this. Companies need to represent a 50% or more female workforce at all levels of leadership, as a starting point to promote Diversity & Inclusion. Global People and Culture Director, Michelle Hopkins-Jones, manages 108 sites across the leading student accommodation company, Yugo, to ensure standards and parity are not only met but operated at the highest standard by accepting feedback to engage a diversity, equity, and inclusion stance across all residences.

Michelle has emphasised the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, saying:

“Empowering young women and students globally is not just a mission, it's a responsibility that we all share, and that’s why over half of our female employees hold leadership positions within the business.”

 - Michelle Hopkins-Jones, Global People and Culture Director, Yugo Students

Michelle has also shared some advice on how Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) companies can continue to uplift young women and other students to ‘Live Your Best Life’:

Creating a better future by providing holistic living experiences that encourage personal and professional growth for individuals from all backgrounds is a necessary commitment to promote diversity. By uplifting and celebrating extraordinary female students around the world, we can inspire and motivate others to achieve their goals and aspirations in all aspects of life, including the workplace. Diversity and inclusion are essential for a thriving and innovative workforce, so dedication and action must be taken to create an environment that embraces and celebrates their differences.

Leaders of organisations should champion diversity and demonstrate the competitive advantages that it yields. There’s a duty to speak out and be firm and clear about diversity and inclusion policies and processes, not only to attract and retain talent in the future but to also show that it is a fundamental differentiator.