Grace Oduja, an FDA member in HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service, was presented with the 2022 Wendy Jones Award by ITV Deputy Political Editor Anushka Asthana at the FDA’s Annual Delegate Conference.
The Wendy Jones Award is named in honour of a long-serving FDA National Officer, who led the union’s equality work for many years. It is presented annually to an FDA member who has done the most to forward the Equality and Diversity Agenda in the previous year.
Oduja was nominated for her work in developing and championing learning opportunities for BAME civil servants, by Head of FDA Learn Neil Rider. Rider describes Grace as a “lynchpin” in building relationships across civil service networks and says she “has never been afraid to step forward”.
“Grace has been a major factor in the success of FDA Learn in recruiting and supporting BAME staff in the union, as well as supporting FDA Learn in the work we have done with employers”, he added.
After receiving her award, Oduja said she was “honoured and thankful” and that she “never expected to be rewarded” for her work:
“It’s in my DNA to help but I must give the FDA thanks for giving me the opportunity to express that… Learning is one of my strengths and putting that to use to help others is my little way of adding value to lives.”
Oduja noted that she had seen a gradual improvement in the opportunities available to under-represented groups during her twenty-two years in the civil service, adding:
“I hope to continue to support people as much as I can so that the talent locked within our diverse colleagues can be set free, but also to equip our members to be the best they can be.”