The Commisceo Global Blog

Keeping you up to date with all the news, articles, tools, opinions and press relating to the world of cultural understanding, in and out of business.

Ethnic Minorties to be protected during recession



People from ethnic minority groups could receive additional financial support as a result of government fears they will be hardest hit during the recession.

At Labour's Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic annual general meeting in Leicester, work and pensions secretary James Purnell announced an initiative to ensure that no ethnic minority worker would be "left behind".

Purnell warned that employment levels among people from ethnic minorities fell by 10% in the last recession, and said it was important to ensure such mistakes were not repeated.

"In the past too many were left behind in bad times. Ethnic minority workers suffered most in the Tory recessions," he said.

Mr Purnell said the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) had agreed to work with the government to assess whether any groups were suffering disproportionately in the recession, and to advise ministers about corrective measures.

Read more > HR News
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CILT research into Intercultural Skills



CILT is now entering the second phase of its research into an occupational and functional map for languages and intercultural skills and is currently consulting on the cross-sector applications of languages and intercultural skills in the workplace.

You can contribute to their research

If you are a employer involved in the management or recruitment of any roles using language or intercultural skills or if you are an employee using your language or intercultural skills in your job, they would like to hear from you. They’ve prepared a short questionnaire that should take no more than 5-10 minutes to complete.

Your views are essential to this project. Please download and complete our questionnaire and return it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Friday 27th February. If you have any questions or comments about the project, you can email those to the same address.
Alternatively, their research team are conducting one-to-one telephone interviews with employers, employees and key stakeholders. If you have a lot of knowledge with regard to a particular role, or roles, and its (their) use of language or intercultural skills, it would be very helpful to talk to you. Please contact CILT directly to discuss your particular perspective.
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Christian bus driver refuses to drive buses with atheist ad



A bus company is attempting to accommodate the religious views of an employee who refused to drive vehicles displaying atheist advertising.

A Christian bus driver Ron Heather, from Southampton, Hampshire, has refused to drive a bus with an atheist slogan proclaiming "There's probably no God". He responded with "shock" and "horror" at the message and walked out of his shift on Saturday in protest.

His employer, First Bus, said it would do everything in its power to ensure Heather does not have to drive the buses.

When he returned to work last Monday, he was called into a meeting with managers and agreed to go back to work with the promise he would only have to drive the buses if there were no others available.

Audrey Williams, head of discrimination law at Eversheds, said: "The employer has been pragmatic and accommodating in its approach."

Read more > Bus Driver

What we say:

Religion in the workplace is of great importance today, especially in the UK with the passing of the The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003. This story portrays nicely a case where the employer used common sense to bring about a positive outcome for the employee.

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Is E-Learning the future?



The vast movement towards e-learning is clearly motivated by the many benefits it offers. However much e-learning is praised and innovated, computers will never completely eliminate human instructors and other forms of educational delivery. What is important is to know exactly what e-learning advantages exist and when these outweigh the limitations of the medium.

Features Unique to e-Learning

Like no other training form, e-learning promises to provide a single experience that accommodates the three distinct learning styles of auditory learners, visual learners, and kinesthetic learners. Other unique opportunities created by the advent and development of e-learning are more efficient training of a globally dispersed audience; and reduced publishing and distribution costs as Web-based training becomes a standard.

E-learning also offers individualized instruction, which print media cannot provide, and instructor-led courses allow clumsily and at great cost. In conjunction with assessing needs, e-learning can target specific needs. And by using learning style tests, e-learning can locate and target individual learning preferences.

Additionally, synchronous e-learning is self-paced. Advanced learners are allowed to speed through or bypass instruction that is redundant while novices slow their own progress through content, eliminating frustration with themselves, their fellow learners, and the course.

In these ways, e-learning is inclusive of a maximum number of participants with a maximum range of learning styles, preferences, and needs.

Collaborative Learning

All collaborative learning theory contends that human interaction is a vital ingredient to learning. Consideration of this is particularly crucial when designing e-learning, realizing the potential for the medium to isolate learners. With well-delivered synchronous distance education, and technology like message boards, chats, e-mail, and tele-conferencing, this potential drawback is reduced. However, e-learning detractors still argue that the magical classroom bond between teacher and student, and among the students themselves, can not be replicated through communications technology.

Read more >>> Kevin Kruse
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New national standards on intercultural respect at work



The first ever National Occupational Standards for working with people from different countries or diverse cultures will be launched today at a high profile event in central London. The new Standards provide a quality benchmark for building mutual respect, improving communication and workforce relations, and reducing racism.

The new National Occupations Standards for Intercultural Working describe the skills, knowledge and understanding required by anyone wishing to work effectively in a multicultural environment. They can be used to inform policy and procedures, provide a good practice guide for human resources professionals, and identify training needs to promote social and community cohesion.

CILT, the National Centre for Languages led the government-funded project to develop the new Standards, which were approved by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills in September 2008. Today’s launch celebrates the completion of the project, which has involved hundreds of organisations, employers and individuals from across the UK over the past two years.

Read more >> CILT
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