Race Equality Awards 2016 - Champion and Executive Sponsor - Mitie

Gary Zetter  - Director of Apprentices & Sustainability Programme, Technical Facilities Management


At school, Gary saw that his Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) classmates faced many more challenges compared to white students. He was a founding member of Mitie's Diversity Steering Group in 2010 and has continued to demonstrate leadership on race equality within the organisation. Gary believes the key to this is recruiting and retaining the best talent, and he has built a passionate team dedicated to delivering clients' and Mitie's corporate and diversity objectives.

Gary set his business five-year diversity targets on ethnicity and gender. He has also set Community Reach Targets through the 'Business & U' Sustainability Programme, a targeted campaign which aims to increase the number of BAME young people applying to apprenticeships at Mitie. Gary has developed case studies for the programme and provides senior staff volunteers, including himself and his team, to speak about the programme at careers days. He produces monthly 'Apprentices, Sustainability and Diversity' reports where he measures, reports and sets targets for his business via KPIs and SLAs.

Gary has spoken to business leaders at Business it the Community (BITC) Seeing is Believing visits in London and Bristol and works with industry leaders to develop strategies for engaging further sector support. He also encourages partnership working between the engineering industry and BAME communities, and has connected Mitie's CEO Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith with BAME apprentices in support of her work with the Government on BAME employment.

Gary also continually works with BAME students and their families to raise aspirations, provide advice and celebrate achievements. In May 2015, he organised a BAME-specific workshop with external facilitators to engage with BAME apprentices about their experience at Mitie.

'Business & U' has so far reached 8,000 students and young adults across the UK, and four of Mitie's 10 new apprentices enrolled in London in 2014/15 are from BAME backgrounds. Gary is currently working with Diversity Jobs and the 'Big I.D.E.A' website to develop and encourage more diversity within the business. He has also won several internal awards and has been shortlisted for a number of external awards.

Gary's work has impacted positively on workplace culture by sharing best practice internally and providing a platform to showcase under-represented groups. This has led other managers to review their approach to enabling BAME talent to fulfil their potential and helped combat the stereotype that engineering is an industry populated almost exclusively by white males. His work has been instrumental in diversifying Mitie's apprentice intake and providing opportunities for scores of young people, and his transparent approach encourages others to 'be themselves' in the workplace.