EDM department partners with the Association For Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers

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The Engineering Design and Mathematics (EDM) department at UWE Bristol are delighted to announce their new membership with the Association For Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers (AFBE).

AFBE is a registered not-for profit organisation that promotes higher achievements in education and engineering, particularly among people from black and minority ethnicity (BME) backgrounds using engineering as a platform.

Since launching the organisation in 2007 they have reached more than 6500 individuals from ethnic minority communities, supported more than 1000 university students into employment through their CV clinics and career programmes and engaged more than 4000 young people with their school outreach programme Making Engineering Hot.

Support for Schools

With a range of workshops and outreach programmes available for schools and their local communities, which focus on young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds and other under-represented communities, AFBE provide a mixture of after school clubs, weekend mentoring, one day projects and mock assessment days for apprenticeships.

Support for Students

Their hugely successful Transition Programme reaches university students across several UK universities, preparing and mentoring students for professional careers in industry. To date 70% of Transition attendees have gone on to secure jobs in industry within 12 months post-graduation.

Support for Professionals

AFBE have produced several publications and continue to work closely with leading organisations, including the Royal Academy of Engineering on various steering and focus groups to map out the life-cycle of a BME professional in industry and understand levers for retention and progression. They host many networking events and webinars throughout the year, which give professional members access to leading thought leadership within industry, mentoring from industry experts and exposure to real life projects within the industry. Other initiatives like their Real Projects and Chess Club give professionals ongoing professional development support including mentoring for professional registration.

AFBE Roundtable Discussion Forum

The Challenge

Engineering is essential for the future prosperity and economic growth of the UK, however there is a growing skills gap within the industry. Lack of diversity is a major concern for the engineering workforce, with only 12% of women engineers and 7% from a BME background. Widening participation in under-represented groups is an essential part of addressing this nationwide skills and employment gap.

In order to tackle this challenge, the EDM department, as leader for skills development for the Digital Engineering Technology and Innovation (DETI) initiative, have launched their new DETI Inspire programme, which will champion STEM for children in the West of England, with a particular focus on challenging stereotypes and perceptions about STEM careers in order to appeal to under-represented groups in engineering.

The EDM department is a proud leader of skills development for DETI, with a strong commitment to increase diversity, we have several great projects already underway such as BAME girls into Engineering, a strong Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity committee, and of course our Athena SWAN Bronze Award. We are very pleased to support AFBE as part of our work with DETI to expand support for BAME young people, our students and staff, and engineering employees across the region.

Lisa Brodie, Head of Department: Engineering Design and Mathematics

With the recent launch of their Diversity Demonstrator, a network of diverse engineering students and professionals, the team hope to inspire the next generation of engineers, providing engineering outreach, mentoring and role modelling to all children in the region. For more information or to sign up to the Diversity Demonstrator engineering network, complete this short survey.

If you are a current UWE student or member of staff and would like more information on the support available to you from the department or AFBE, please contact deti@uwe.ac.uk

DETI is a strategic programme of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), delivered by the National Composites Centre, in partnership with the Centre for Modelling & SimulationDigital Catapult, the University of the West of England, the University of Bristol, and the University of Bath. DETI is funded by £5m from WECA, with co-investment from the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and industry.

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