Black History Month: A necessary opportunity to discuss and celebrate
Written by Kerry Peters-Taylor, Programme Manager – Education Works
Within the education team at ELBA there is always a keen appetite for Black History Month events. Our students are always keen to hear from black professionals, celebrating their journey and successes and continuing to highlight the spaces and places that our young people can feel inspired and energised to work towards.
This appetite is one way of seeing just how necessary and vital these focused engagement opportunities are; at our recent BHM Panel Talk we had over 100 students register to attend in a little under two weeks.
The key fact is, we need these events plus much more. A report from the Public Accounts Committee referenced the fact that the already existing ‘shocking inequality’ has only worsened through the pandemic. The impact on young black people was particularly acute, with unemployment rising to a “shocking” 41.6% in the last quarter of 2020, compared to an already high 24.5% a year earlier.
ELBA colleagues in the Employment team are working on incredible and impactful projects such as Parity and Balance, focused on young black men and women respectively.
In the education team, we are doing ever more to support black students through sessions and opportunities to engage with employers, get mentored and take on work experience, with some wonderful successes. Earlier in the year, we had the pleasure of [hosting] an transatlantic cultural conversation with the Young Black Leadership Alliance (YBLA), in North Carolina, for UK based Black students, which covered conversations such as your place/my place, Black Lives Matter, civil liberties, COVID-19 and youth culture. We welcomed a range of students interested in Current affairs and politics, learning and personal development, debate and discussion, gaining new cultural experiences and building CVs and personal statements. This was a great opportunity to learn from each other’s insights and experiences.
We are also continuing to support our black beneficiaries in all our existing opportunities through mentoring and employability sessions. This month, we have also had the pleasure of hosting three inspirational events for a school, college and a cross-university panel talk. We know it is incredibly important to maintain impact across institutions and continue these conversations as well as celebrate our black leaders within our alliance to help to inspire black students in the future generation.
If you would like to get your company more involved in engaging with and inspiring young black students, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.