How to get Diversity & Inclusion Certification for the MICE Industry

Diversity, equality and inclusion are terms that have initiated plenty of discussion across every industry, particularly over the past few years when systematic issues of inequality in society have been brought into the public eye. 

Many people now feel that it is not enough to be a passive advocate for diversity and inclusion; instead, we should all be making an active effort to address the problems caused by inequality and use the privilege we have to try and level the playing field.

Undertaking diversity and inclusion training or education courses to receive certification is one way that many businesses, including those in the MICE industry, are taking steps toward addressing things like unconscious bias or a lack of diversity in their organisation. 

In this article:

What is a DEI Certificate?

A diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) certificate is the ‘award’ or proof given after completing a DEI course to demonstrate that you have completed the training. It indicates that you have understood the course material enough to be considered proficient, which may be judged by an assessment or just by the fact that you have interacted with all of the content available.

A DEI certificate may be awarded to an individual or to an entire organisation, depending on the kind of training and who actually completes it. In some cases, one person may receive a certificate after taking part in a diversity, equality and inclusion course and then share what they have learned with the rest of their organisation to help spread the learning around.

Diversity and inclusion certifications indicate to other people or organisations that a person or place has committed to learning more about inequality and what they can do to combat this. This can be very important if you’re trying to promote an event as an inclusive environment, as an official certification demonstrates that you have taken part in a training course and made a commitment to learning about how best to create diverse and inclusive spaces.

Do I Need a DEI Certification?

The question of whether you need a DEI certification may seem like a no-brainer, but there are several wider points to consider before you pursue this qualification.

The first is exactly why it is that you or your organisation wants this certification. Is it because you’re looking for guidance on how to make your events and your business more inclusive? Or is it just to stay in line with your competitors and tick a box that indicates you’re doing something to combat inequality?

The latter might seem like an incredibly disingenuous gesture, but it’s something that has come to light in the wake of many companies across a range of industries trying to appear more inclusive.

While many are actually putting the work in, some see gaining a DEI certification as an easy way to appear like they’re trying to become more diverse and inclusive without actually applying what they learned and making tangible changes.

Because of this, gaining a DEI certification might not be enough to indicate that your organisation is putting in the work to become more inclusive. As well as completing a training course and becoming certified, what actually matters is how you apply this learning, what changes you make and whether this makes a difference to the diversity and inclusivity of your business and events.

So, as to whether you need a DEI certification, consider what you’re actually going to get out of it and whether there are other actions you could take to address issues of MICE industry inequality. It’s definitely worthwhile gaining a certificate as an official indication of the work you’re doing, but this gesture is only really meaningful if you plan to do something with what you’ve learned.

Also consider the content of the course, who it’s run by and what kind of organisations it’s designed for to make sure that you’re going to get something useful out of it. It’s also worth noting that one diversity, equality and inclusion course probably won’t be enough to tackle the massive issue of inequality and more training may be required later down the line.

How Much Does DEI Training Cost?

The cost of DEI training will really depend on the content and kind of course you’re undertaking, as well as the number of people being trained.

If you’re undertaking a qualification for the entire organisation, then extensive training courses with interactive elements and resources for the whole team tend to start at $500-$1000/£400-£800 for a half day. You definitely pay for what you get with these certifications, so it’s worth viewing these costs as an investment that will bring plenty of benefits to your business.

There are also plenty of diversity and inclusion certifications that you can gain through online courses, which can be a great general introduction to topics surrounding these issues. Depending on the length of these courses, you can pay between $40-$60/£35-£50 for several hours of virtual training.

One of the best ways to undertake meaningful DEI training and gain a certified status is by working with a consultant who can tackle specific issues or aspects of your organisation that may be affecting how inclusive the environment is.

This is the costliest kind of DEI training available, with prices depending on the size of your business and the scale of the work that needs doing, but is also definitely one of the most effective approaches.

How to Get Diversity and Inclusion Certifications

If you decide to get a diversity and inclusion certification, your first step is finding the right provider. As we’ve already mentioned, working with a specialist DEI consultant is a fantastic option for ensuring that meaningful change is made, but there is also a range of other training courses you can undertake to gain various certifications.

Some of the top-rated courses include:

  • The National Centre for Diversity

As well as offering a series of e-learning courses covering various topics regarding DEI, the National Centre for Diversity also runs an accreditation program called Investors in Diversity where they work with businesses towards achieving a certified status as a diverse organisation.

  • DiversityFIRST™ Certification Program

This is a US-based certification program that can be done virtually, providing individuals with five days of extensive diversity and inclusion training designed to give them a solid foundation to make organisational change.  

  • Diverse Matters Training

Diverse Matters is a DEI consultancy organisation that works with businesses globally to provide all kinds of diversity and inclusion training, as well as coaching and DEI audits, delivered either in-person or online. You can view a full range of topics they offer training and certification for here.

  • Institute for Diversity Certification

The Institute for Diversity Certification offers two different qualifications: The Certified Diversity Professional (CDP) or The Certified Diversity Executive (CDE). The exams for these certifications are taken online, with optional virtual revision sessions to help students prepare for the assessments.

 

You may choose to partake in a training course like one of the ones we have outlined above, or you may work with an independent training provider on a more tailored program to achieve a DEI status. Within the MICE industry, there may be training courses tailored for certain kinds of events and organisations, so it’s worth doing your research into consultants with experience in your industry sector that may be able to provide more targeted training and support.

Once you’ve found a certification provider, you’ll next need to register for the course or organise training. Working towards this certification may take anything from half a day to several months depending on the provider, the format and the nature of the course.

Once you’ve received your DEI certification, it’s incredibly important to remember that your responsibility doesn’t end there. Completing diversity and inclusion training is a very useful step toward tackling inequality in the MICE industry, but in order to make a real difference, you need to commit to continually learning, changing and improving, not just gaining a one-off qualification.

Why is Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Important in the MICE Industry?

Diversity, equality and inclusion are issues faced by almost every single industry, and MICE is no exception. As highlighted in a session on the topic by Stephanie Corker as part of the virtual IBTM World Online in December 2021:

  • 83% of industry professionals are Caucasians
  • Only 3% of the industry is represented by black, African or Caribbean professionals
  • There are no CEOs from minority groups out of 145 senior leaders across the largest 20 global exhibition organisers 
  • Only 23% of women hold executive roles
  • Only 3% of people in the industry identify as having a disability

 

Tackling these issues of inequality requires effort from individuals at every level, ensuring that job opportunities are accessible, workplace environments are inclusive and people from minority backgrounds are represented across the businesses in the industry. This is important not only because it helps to combat wider systemic issues of inequality, but also because businesses with a diverse workforce have been proven to be more successful in a range of areas.

Diversity, equality and inclusion are particularly important in the MICE industry as events can be places that end up being un-inclusive by nature. A diverse range of attendees and/or speakers and exhibitors not only leads to more creative and progressive discussion and collaboration, but also sets a precedent for the rest of the industry and builds a positive reputation which can only bring more business to your door.

 

Consider:

  • Is there an equal representation of genders at your events? Will people of marginalised genders feel comfortable attending and have you made the necessary steps to ensure this (eg: gender-neutral bathrooms)?
  • Is there an equal representation of ethnic backgrounds at your events? Will people from minority cultures feel comfortable attending and feel represented by speakers/vendors as well as other attendees?
  • What steps have you taken to allow for disability access to your events? Have you considered access needs for in-person events? Are virtual events captioned or signed?
  • Have you considered how you will support neurodiverse attendees?
  • Is any of the language used around promoting your event or at your event specifically cisnormative or heteronormative (eg: using terms such as ‘ladies and gentlemen’)?

 

It takes extra effort to ensure that all kinds of people are represented and able to attend events in the MICE industry, but this is a necessary step towards ensuring equality.

Summary

Diversity and inclusion certifications are a fantastic way to improve your knowledge of DEI issues and work towards productive ways of making events and your organisation more inclusive and diverse. Completing these training courses indicates a commitment to improvement, but it’s also important to remember that there is a lot more you can do to support efforts to improve DEI in the MICE industry, and that certifications are often only the tip of the iceberg.

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