We spoke to John Batteson, who works in our Recruitment team, about what Black History Month means to him, and why he thinks diversity at Frontline is important.
Could you tell us a bit about your background and what inspired you to work for Frontline?
Prior to joining Frontline I worked in recruitment consultancy. I spent some time working in Sydney and then London before coming to the decision that I wanted to do something which had a bigger social impact. My mum was a social worker, as were some of my close friends and so Frontline looked like an ideal opportunity to use my background and experiences working for an organisation who wanted to change social work for the better.
How important is diversity to you and how does that positively affect your work at Frontline?
I believe that teams, organisations and society more broadly benefit when people from different cultures and experience work closely together. One of our main aims should be to recruit a cohort of participants each year which reflects the communities they’ll be working in. In order to do that I think it’s important to make sure that the we have people from different backgrounds and with different personalities in the team and that everyone has equal opportunities to thrive.
What are your hopes and expectations for Frontline and the role it plays in diversity initiatives in the future?
From a personal perspective, I would hope that we continue to recruit participants onto the programme who have diversity of thought, culture and personality.
What changes do you want to see in how the charity approaches diversity and inclusion?
It’s important that as a charity we’re clear what we mean by diversity, so that we’re all on the same page and working towards the same thing. It can be confusing when there are different priorities. I think it would be beneficial to have regular meetings with people from each team so this continues to be at the forefront of our work.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
It’s a great opportunity to celebrate diversity more broadly and the steps forward society has made. We obviously haven’t reached where we need to yet, but it’s also important to reflect on the challenges faced by black people just 30 or 40 years ago and how far we have come in that time.
What have you done to celebrate Black History Month?
I can’t say I have planned this but I have spent a lot more time with my grandma over the last couple of weeks that I usually do. She was born in Jamaica and came over to London working as a nurse while also bringing up my mum and three other brothers and sisters. She’s a bit of hero in my eyes!