ENCOURAGING staff to be open about their sexuality has helped Somerset College in Taunton earn a place in a list of the UK’s 100 most gay-friendly employers.

The college was ranked 91 and is one of only two further education colleges in the Top 100 Workplace Equality Index created by lesbian, gay and bisexual charity Stonewall.

Sheena Murphy-Collett, director of human resources and customer services, said: “I am delighted that our hard work and commitment has been recognised by a high-profile organisation like Stonewall.

“This is a real boost for our College, which has worked hard to be a place where staff are encouraged to be open about their sexual orientation. We currently have a disclosure rate of 90%, and are committed to building on our current success and continuing to model best practice in the areas of diversity, inclusion and equality.”

The college says its measures include:

• Working with staff and students to raise awareness of equality, and to promote a positive and mature attitude to diversity.

• An LGB Straight Allies network group and awareness-raising days

• Management and staff training and development

• Reviews of policies and procedures.

• Incorporating ‘positive messaging’ around sexuality across the curriculum, and into enrichment activities.