Guest Blogger, Richard John, Realise & Panellist at CHS Birmingham 2023

Let’s be clear; sure, words like ‘equality’ and ‘diversity’ are important for issues around decency, respect and creating a fair society; but for the totally hard-hearted they also make sound business sense.

A few examples: the event apprentice programme offers a brilliant route into events and is ideal for those who don’t feel ready for a three-year degree course (whether that’s because of a dislike of perceived academia or the thoughts of the financial burden associated with it. It means that any apprentice you take will have the opportunity to ‘earn while they learn,’ whilst working through a structured programme and achieving a nationally recognised qualification, all paid for by the government.

(Oh, and don’t get me started on ‘internships,’ yet another annoying American import, which is invariably privileged white kids learning how to order coffee!)

And what about recruiting from the pool of people with a recognised disability. They total more than 10 million in the UK. They also control around £60 billions of discretionary spending; and what business wouldn’t want a share of that?

Oh, and the recent studies about neurodiversity also present opportunities for both hard and soft-hearted. The estimate is that 15% of the population could be ‘on the spectrum’ (your truly included) so when you show that your events are more than just ‘son et lumiere’ and that you will be considering ALL your audience, then I’ll vote willingly with my feet.

What’s more, there’s no excuse for not knowing how to reach these diverse audiences; make sure you circulate your vacancies as wide as possible and create a recruitment and selection process that weeds out the biases that we all carry. And for organisers, there are awesome resources such as the ‘Diversity and Inclusion at Conferences and Events’ website ( with a handy 10-point charter that means you will know how to design and market events to a wider audience. Now, who doesn’t want that?

Full wallets AND a clear conscience? It doesn’t get better than that!

Richard John is C. O. O. of Realise ( Connect with him at

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