SOLAS Wins Highly Commended Award for Advancing Social Inclusion


SOLAS, The Further Education and Training (FET) Authority, has won a highly commended award for Advancing Social Inclusion at the National Diversity & Inclusion Awards which recognises and celebrates progress on Diversity & Inclusion in Ireland.

SOLAS was awarded for their positive action on recruitment, as well as their partnership with the Irish Prison Service (IPS) and the Irish Association for Social Inclusion Opportunities (IASIO).

Accepting the award on the night from left to right, SOLAS CEO, Andrew Brownlee, People Engagement Manager, Caroline Jones, Support Manager, Gay O'Connor, and Strategic HR Partner, Gwen Doyle.

Commenting on the award Andrew Brownlee, CEO of SOLAS said: “A key part of our role in SOLAS is driving the transformation and growth of the FET sector and having a diverse and inclusive workplace is pivotal to this success. It also has a positive impact on how we deliver our strategy, innovate for the future, and serve learners - who are at the heart of everything we do.”

Speaking about SOLAS’ ambition to become one of the most progressive public sector bodies in Ireland Andrew continued: “Our People Team have been leading a broad range of initiatives to build upon our diverse and inclusive workplace culture.

Our commitment to both the Public Sector Duty and the Equality and Human Rights Act has encouraged us to take positive action in the recruitment of those who face barriers to achieving purposeful employment. Our collaborative partnerships with both the Irish Prison Service and the Irish Association for Social Inclusion Opportunities have been transformative for SOLAS and we are delighted to continue working together in the future.”

Investors in Diversity Silver Accreditation

SOLAS has also recently achieved an Investors in Diversity Silver Accreditation from the Irish Centre for Diversity. The silver accreditation recognises SOLAS’ actions, policies and processes which look to embed equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the values of the organisation.

It builds on the bronze accreditation achieved in 2023 and shows SOLAS’ ongoing progress and commitment in this area over the past number of years.

To achieve the silver mark, SOLAS conducted an EDI employee survey which included asking staff for their views on whether SOLAS promotes equal rights, accepts and respects individual differences, and works inclusively with people from all walks of life.

Speaking about SOLAS’ recent achievements Caroline Jones, People Engagement Manager said: “At SOLAS, we have an Equality and Human Rights Policy that creates the conditions in which equality is promoted, discrimination is prohibited, and human rights are protected in accordance with the spirit, as well as the letter of the law. A strong inclusive ethos will continue to underpin all of our work at SOLAS.