LONDON — Imperial College London’s communications division has become the first in-house team to secure the Blueprint diversity mark, achieving Ally status in the latest round of applications.

The Blueprint for in-house teams and communications organisations was launched in May 2022, nearly two years after its introduction for PR agencies. The diversity mark aims to promote racial diversity in PR and communications.

Awarded companies and organisations sign up to a series of commitments aimed at encouraging diversity from entry level to boardroom, from staff culture to recruitment and retention.

The independent panel of judges said the university’s communications division demonstrated a diversity, equality, and inclusion strategy spanning recruitment policies, widening participation, internal training, social opportunities, and campaigning.

Judges also highlighted a number of initiatives, including the Imperial As One Media Academy, a training program offering expert media training for minority ethnic staff and students, a style guide for writing about ethnicity, and a tailored internship program for underrepresented groups.

Blueprinted CEO Elizabeth Bananuka said: “Nearly two years after launching The Blueprint for in-house teams and comms organisations, it is an absolute pleasure to award Imperial College London's comms division The Blueprint Ally status. Their robust application detailed a thorough, thoughtful and committed approach to equality, diversity, and inclusion, and highlighted the significant role in-house pros, who make up more than two thirds of our industry, can play in creating a more racially diverse and inclusive sector.”

Hayley Dunning, a member of Imperial College London’s communications division EDI working group, said: “We are proud that the Blueprint Ally mark recognises the progress we have made and the initiatives we have put in place to ensure that the communications division is a welcoming, nurturing and energising place for everyone. Attaining the mark is not the end.

“We are looking forward to creating a roadmap for future developments and improvements in our work. We feel we're in an excellent position to lead by example, and in making further improvements we hope to inspire others in Imperial and the education sector to commit to improving diversity and the working environment for all.”

The deadline for the next round of agency applications for the Blueprint is 7 March 2024. Nine agencies currently hold full Blueprint status: Manifest, Blurred, Stronger Stories, Cirkle, Hope&Glory, CCgroup, Harvard, Riot and PrettyGreen – while Headland and Cowshed also have Blueprint Ally status.