About Agile Nation.
The Agile Nation project was created in 2007 to provide a positive and lasting effect on the progression of women in Welsh workplaces.
Developed by Chwarae Teg, this £12.5million project was funded by the European Social Fund and the Welsh Government to support the delivery of the aim of Priority 3 Theme 3, “promoting gender equality in employment.”
To achieve this Agile Nation has worked to support women, employees, employers and educators through a rounded approach that proactively highlights gender equality, career advancement. With an aim to working towards a reduction in the gender pay gap.
The Agile Nation project operated across the convergence areas of Wales and had a planned lifecycle that concluded in March 2015, It was delivered through a number of different strands.
These strands were:
Research – four pieces of new research were commissioned to further understanding of the barriers facing the progression of women in the workplace.
Agile Nation Ascent – that directly supported the progression of women in the workplace, through ILM accredited training.
Agile Nation Evolve – provided support for businesses to implement diversity strategies along with remote working practices.
Fair Foundations –assisted schools to develop gender-aware learning environments.
Transnational – established partnerships with complementary organisations and projects within Europe to share knowledge and enhance understanding.
The project was substantial in size and it has not only met but exceeded its targets. This has resulted in:
2,921 women taking part in the Ascent programme.
504 businesses supported through the Evolve programme.
97 businesses gaining Exemplar Employer status.
55 schools taking part in the Fair Foundations programme.
3,477 participants in total.
4 pieces of research commissioned.
4 transnational partnerships established.
Each of the strands was a fully developed programme targeted to challenge gender inequality in different ways;
At an influencer level by undertaking new research to strengthen understanding of the issues and barriers facing women in the workplace.
On a personal level by helping women to develop their skills and progress into more senior roles.
In the workplace by showing employers how to embrace diversity and embed diversity strategies into the business.
In education by showing schools how to create gender-aware learning environments to give both genders the opportunity to develop unhindered by stereotypes.
Internationally through developing European partnerships to share learning and take advantage of established best practice.
My Agile Nation.
Hayley Dunne (left) presenting an Ascent Award to a Rockwool team member. Hayley was part of the Chwarae Teg team that developed the Agile Nation project, and Hayley was also the manager for the project up until 2013.
My Agile Nation began in 2006 with the planning and development of a new project. Since 1992 Chwarae Teg has developed and delivered a range of projects to support the progression of women in Welsh workplaces, and this successful track record gave us the confidence to aim high and develop a project that was far larger in its scope and scale than anything we’d ever done before.
By planning such a comprehensive project we were able to bring together in one programme a series of different strands that together would help to tackle the issues and impact of the gender pay gap from a number of different directions.
In 2008 the funding was approved by WEFO (Wales European Funding Office) and the Welsh Government (through its match funding scheme) and suddenly a new European Social Fund and Welsh Government Funded project – Agile Nation was a reality.
This truly was the highlight of my career to date, and knowing that over the next six years we’d be able to make a positive difference for thousands of women across Wales set in place the most amazing challenge both for Chwarae Teg and myself.
I’m delighted with the achievements of the project, and whilst there are lots of statistics to highlight these achievements, it’s only when you read and hear the stories of our participants that you get a real appreciation of the life enhancing impact Agile Nation has had, and will continue to have, for these women, the employers who took part and the schools we helped.