Case study - Choosing a training provider for your cultural diversity and inclusion strategy

by SSI
Settlement Services International (SSI) is a community organisation and social business that, with its subsidiary Access Community Services, provides life-changing human and social services for over 52,000 people in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. SSI employs almost 1,000 people. We support newcomers and other Australians to achieve their full potential. We work with all people who have experienced vulnerability, including refugees, people seeking asylum and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, to build capacity and enable them to overcome inequality.

The evidence is out that to reap the full benefits that a diverse workforce presents, employers have to work on building inclusion. A key activity in any diversity and inclusion strategy is training. But how do you pick a quality provider? 

The following tool is designed to guide you through a conversation with a prospective cultural diversity training provider with key questions and responses you would be looking for. The more responses you can tick off the better.

Cultural diversity training for the purpose of this tool refers to training that supports people to work with a diverse range of cultures in a responsive way rather than cultural awareness which generally refers to training that encourages learning about a specific culture or cultures.

Note: The tool is designed for identifying a training provider who delivers cultural diversity training however some of it could be adjusted to apply to other diversity inclusion training.

  1. Why do you/your organisation deliver this training?
  • Commitment to supporting equity and inclusion more broadly
  • Values driven and shows alignment with your organisation
  • Desire to share their learnings


  1. Why do you think diversity training is important for an organisation?
  • It demonstrates an organisation’s commitment to equity and potentially aligns with the organisational values and fulfils obligations to society as outlined in law.
  • There is a strong business case for inclusion as it has benefits for the organisation, the workforce and the customers/clients (see Diversity Council Australia’s Inclusion@Work Index to understand benefits for the business and employees that the training provider should be speaking to).


  1. What do you mean by “….”? (insert terminology the training provider is using e.g. cultural responsiveness, cultural competence, cultural awareness)
  • There is a focus on increasing self-awareness and using self-reflection
  • Views culture as universal i.e. everyone has it
  • Speaks to valuing diverse thought and the benefits it brings
  • Acknowledges diversity within diversity and concepts of intersectionality
  • Explores power and privilege that is afforded by systems and structures surrounding us and how awareness of it can lead to equity and inclusion
  • Examines unconscious bias, but stresses that being aware of one’s bias is only the first step, and that meaningful change requires action
  • Recognises racism as a barrier to inclusion and is committed to principles of anti-racism, seeking to deepen an understanding of racism at the interpersonal, institutional and systemic level
  • Recognises the unique position and experiences of First Nations people in Australia and advocates the necessity of additional training led by First Nations people
  • Provides additional resources to support long-term, whole of organisation change


  1. Tell me about your facilitators and what are their qualities/skills
  • Ability to facilitate safe, respectfully curious and transformative conversations
  • Subject matter expertise
  • Personal commitment to equity and inclusion
  • Flexible and learner focussed
  • Lived experience of coming from a migrant, refugee or First Nations background and/or working in culturally diverse workplaces
  • Pursues ongoing professional development
  • Holds qualifications both formal and/or experience related
  • Experience in face-to-face and online training


  1. What methods of delivery do you use?
  • Interactive & engaging through the use of diverse delivery methods such as presentation, discussion, group work, case scenarios, activities, videos
  • Practical application through case studies, intra-group members and facilitator lived experience examples, resources and tools
  • Based in their experience as well as research evidence
  • Face-to-face and online training
  • Consideration is given to accessible learning for people with diverse needs and who experience barriers to access e.g. closed captions, electronic readable versions of materials


  1. Tell me why you/your organisation is positioned to deliver this training?
  • Training is grounded in experience of delivering services successfully to culturally diverse people and communities
  • Commitment to the training for their own workforce
  • Demonstration of recruiting and retaining a culturally diverse workforce
  • Training is constantly evaluated and reviewed to maintain quality and relevance
  • Positive evaluation results ideally collected pre- and post- training
  • Able to provide customer testimonials


This tool has been designed by Settlement Services International (SSI) Diversity Training and is based on our lived experience both as a consumer and provider of diversity training as well as our industry knowledge. SSI recommends that training be supported within an organisational diversity and inclusion strategy to have maximum impact.


Suggested reading:

Diversity Council Australia (DCA) Inclusion Directory Network for potential training providers

DCA Inclusion@Work Index: Mapping the state of inclusion in the Australian workforce

Cultural competence in Australia: A guide. FECCA (2019)


More information is available at