AFBE-UK Annual Report 2017

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2017 has been one of AFBE’s most successful years since we began in 2007. This year we celebrated AFBE with a 10th anniversary Gala attended by business leaders, politicians, engineers and friends of our fantastic organisation. AFBE-UK has evolved into a national organisation with a membership of engineering professionals across the UK and increasing relevance within the EDI community. We have grown our network reaching and engaging with over 6000 individuals from ethnic minority communities. We set up the Making Engineering Hot! and NextGen programmes to reach out to young people from primary school to college age in 2009 and 2015 respectively. These programmes have now reached over 2000 young people across 40 schools offering numerous work placements and experience opportunities. Some of our participants now work as engineers in industry. AFBE-UK’s successful Transition programme started in Aberdeen in 2012. It provides an avenue for university students to receive sound advice from engineering professionals and prepares them for the exciting world of work. Today 70% of Transition participants are gainfully employed in engineering jobs within 12 months post-graduation. We have partnered with more than 30 employers and institutions on our career programmes. In addition, we have published articles regarding our work in reputable journals. Our programmes have been recognised in publications on best practice by the Royal Academy of Engineering,

the Chartered Institute of Highways Transportation, the Department for Transport, the Department for Business, Energy, Innovation and Skills, Aberdeen City Council and the Energy institute amongst others. AFBE-UK has been shortlisted and won various awards including the National Diversity Awards and the Chairman’s Award by the Institution of Chemical Engineers. We have also been involved in initiatives such as the Queen Elizabeth’s engineering prize and the House of Commons All Party Parliamentary Engineering Group for apprenticeship. We have featured in the national and local media publications such as the Independent, Oil and Gas News and the Voice newspaper. We were part of the Africa Catalyst project supporting the gathering of statistical data on the representation of women in three African countries. However globally, this year has also seen the rise in various polarising views and attitudes on aspects of our society; from the impact of the Brexit vote, sexual harassment in Hollywood to major security concerns in our cities (in particular Manchester and London) as well as the ever present migrant crisis. We have watched with interest the ever increasing impact of digital technology on our world and the rise of artificial intelligence including robots and challenges with cybersecurity. There are also indications that the tide of the downturn in the Oil and Gas industry is starting to turn although it remains a challenge. At the gala we awarded Tom Ilube (also our keynote speaker) the AFBEUK Person of the Decade. Tom is an amazing yet humble individual. He is Chief Executive of Crossword Cybersecurity plc; a European stock market quoted Technology Company. He is ranked first in the Powerlist 2017, an annual listing of the UK’s 100 most powerful people with African or AfroCaribbean heritage.


Tom spoke about some of the challenges he faced in his career and on his pathway to becoming an entrepreneur. He discussed the key ingredients for success as a business leader. Reflecting on his talk and in line with AFBE-UK’s future ambitions for the next 10 years to create the engineering entrepreneurs and business leaders of the future, AFBE-UK is launching “RoundTable”: a series to inspire our professional members to progress and excel in engineering. For us at AFBE-UK, 2018 spurs us on to continue to inspire the next generation of engineers while providing more space for growth and progress where our professional members can thrive. We will continue to invest our time and effort in engaging with the community and the engineering industry by providing programmes that equip not just tomorrow’s engineers but current engineers while sharing our expertise on how the diversity challenge in Engineering can be tackled. The success of AFBE-UK relies on enthusiasm and support of our members. There are two individuals I would like to commend from within London; the first is Abisola Ajani. Abisola joined us in 2016 as the student representative and in 2017 took on the role of Assistant Events Coordinator. Abisola led from the front setting up meetings, attending conferences not just in London but outside, manning exhibition stands, organising events and making sure our gala event was successful. On behalf of AFBE-UK’s board we are very grateful for the commitment she has shown and long may it continue. The second commendation this year goes to our very own Maddie Osei-Baffoe who worked tirelessly for the success of the gala event and attended nearly all events from schools outreach programmes to Transition events in London. This year the AFBE-UK Member of the Year award goes to Kasi Usani of AFBE-UK Scotland. Congratulations on your Award. To find out more about Kasi read our Member of Year article in this newsletter.


In 2018 it is our desire that our industry continues to push the boundaries that create a more inclusive workforce. It is our hope that the articles in this Newsletter will encourage you to support our mission and become a member of the AFBE-UK community. We are also grateful to all our 2017 Gala sponsors for making amazing happen. Arup, WSP, Ilesha Charitable Trust, Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), Intalock Oil and Gas, Risktec TUV, Royal Academy of Engineering, De Montfort University, London South Bank University and BAME Apprenticeship Alliance.

Regards, Dr Nike Folayan PhD MIET CEng Chair, AFBE-UK London



In this Newsletter... P age 5: Celebrating a Great Year by Dr Ollie Folayan P age 9: AFBE-UK Celebrates 10 Years of Championing Engineering Excellence through Diversity by Tolu Osobu P age 12: Making Engineering Hot 2017 by Reneth McKenzie-Schoetz P age 14: AFBE-UK Scotland NextGen Programme Inspiring Future Engineers by Jide Okwujiako P age 15: Transition: A Success Story by Phillip Enegela and Abisola Ajani P age 18: My Transition Experience by Ayomide Ukpong Page 21: AFBE-UK 2017 Member of the Year P age 23: Real Projects 2017 by Kasi Usani and Damilola Fari-Arole P age 26: Towards a more inclusive work force... Is engineering really welcoming? by Nike Folayan P age 29: Is it just me? by Maddie Osei Baffoe





within the two-year Brexit deadline, the possibility of extra tariffs on exports and the challenge of finding skilled personnel. However, he also anticipated that changes to regulatory procedures will be modest and that little would change on taxation as a result of Brexit as the EU has no remit over the UK’s fiscal regime for the industry. Prof Paul De Leeuw also said “The oil and gas industry is an adaptable, talented and resilient industry but, make no mistake, there are challenges on the horizon and events like the [Real Projects Brexit Seminar] help to create a better shared understanding of what lies ahead.”

2017 has been a great year for AFBE-UK as a whole and Scotland has very much been a part of it. AFBE-UK has always worked at grassroots level, seemingly under the radar promoting engineering to young people but it’s fair to say that 2017 brought more open recognition from reputable institutions, many with which we had collaborated for years. Our first event was a talk on Fire and Explosions delivered by AFBE-UK’s 2017 Member of the Year, Kasi Usani. The Real Projects series began in 2014 and the objective was to mentor our mostly student audience by giving them a realistic view of the industry and by keeping them abreast of industry news and Kasi’s presentation set the tone for the rest of the year. This objective was best epitomised in March 2017 when an industry expert highlighted the key Brexit issues facing the oil and gas sector at our Real Projects event. In a finely balanced talk, Prof Paul De Leeuw discussed the potential effects of the EU Referendum on the Energy Industry. More than 70 people attended the event titled Brexit and the Oil Economy held at Robert Gordon University (RGU). De Leeuw, Director of RGU’s Oil and Gas Institute, highlighted the resilience demonstrated by the industry to overcome challenges in the past and pinpointed three key prospective issues for the industry: the potential lack of clear trade agreements

Prof Paul De Leeuw (Director - RGU Oil and Gas Institute)



There were other great seminars such as the seminars on ‘Investing the right way’ by Daniel Chew, ‘A Critical Analysis of Regulations and Regulatory Alternatives using the Piper Alpha and Macondo disasters as case studies’ delivered by PhD Law Student Eddy Wifa and an eye opening narrative of a project led by Ugo Uzu Schlumberger’s Europe D&M manager which involved drilling one of the most complex, extended reach High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) wells in the world! The talks were informative and inspiring. The NextGen programme which aims to encourage 9-18 year olds to take up engineering as a career reached over 250 young people in Aberdeen. The team visited Seaton School, Bramble Brae and Gilcomstoun School and seeing the enthusiasm on the faces of pupils and their teachers in all of the schools we visited this year made it all worth it. Our most recent visit to Kincorth Academy was covered by the Press and Journal. Earlier in the year, AFBE-UK Scotland’s work had been highlighted on the Aberdeen City Council’s portal for sharing good STEM practice.

Dr Ollie Folayan (Chair - AFBE-UK Scotland) After attending our NextGen event in April 2017 Catriona Walker, Education Support Officer, Aberdeen City Council said,” I’m so glad NextGen was successful again this year. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Bramble Brae to see your engineers in action and it was very obvious how focused the pupils were with the activities and also how much fun they were having. You and your engineers are an inspiration to both teachers and pupils.” 2017 saw the continuation of our Transition programme which has helped many students to find work. Two workshops were held in 2017; first in February at the University of Aberdeen with Px Ltd. Senior Project Manager Danny Kearns sharing his Transition experience with students and another held in October at the Shell’s Woodbank house in collaboration with the Shell African Network. At this Transition Event, I had the privilege of meeting a mother and son both engineering students attending the workshop at Woodbank; a first for Transition!


Over the last year, AFBE-UK Scotland received many encouraging messages from attendees mostly from the class of 2016 who have secured jobs at great companies such as Shell, PWc, Arup and other highly reputable companies. These messages really just encourage us to keep going and so we shall in 2018.


Please let us know if you are interested in giving a talk. Our first Real Projects event will be a talk titled “Competitive Interview Preparation” delivered by Charles Adoga, a Senior Petroleum Engineer at TAQA held on 25th of January 2018. This will be followed by a talk titled, “The Future of Oil” by Cranfield University Visiting Lecturer Chet Biliyok. Our schools outreach will also continue in 2018 and will include a return to Kincorth Academy in May. Transition dates are 17th February and 13th October 2018 and we welcome volunteers from all sectors of the energy industry. Finally our biennial Gala (normally our best attended event) returns again in 2018. Details of this event will be provided in due course. If you would like to get involved in any of our programmes, please get in touch with us at We look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime let me take this opportunity to wish you and your family a happy and prosperous 2018 and hopefully one in which you continue to play your part in inspiring the next generation of engineers!

In 2018 we plan to hold very engaging seminars on some hot topics including interview preparation, the future of the oil, digitisation of oil and gas upstream, Brexit and the oil economy and the internet of things.

Regards, Dr Ollie Folayan CEng MIChemE AFBE-UK Scotland Chair






AFBE-UK CELEBRATES 10 YEARS OF CHAMPIONING ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE THROUGH DIVERSITY BY TOLU OSOBU On 2nd November 2017, 120 guests including politicians, engineers, STEM promoters and academic leaders came together at the uniquely located IET Savoy Place to celebrate the tremendous work and achievements of AFBE-UK over the last 10 years in a Gala Dinner and Awards ceremony. Founded 10 years ago by siblings, Ollie and Nike Folayan with the aim of tackling the issue of under-representation of BME engineers in the industry, and to promote STEM subjects particularly to individuals from BME backgrounds; this inclusive organisation has been able to engage a mix of communities across the UK ranging from companies to engineering institutions and schools. The aim is to develop and showcase the engineering talent available within the BME community and contribute to the growth of the engineering sphere. AFBE-UK now runs various activities throughout the year catering to school aged children, students and professionals. In her welcome speech, Dr Nike Folayan said “If you set your mind to something and have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, you can achieve it”. Some of the young people who had been through AFBE-UK’s programmes, and are now employed, were also in attendance to mark the occasion.

The event was hosted by international MC and former BBC presenter, Henry Bonsu, who kept up a lively atmosphere all through the evening making the guests feel relaxed and welcome. The guests were also entertained with performances from Poet Shade Joseph, self-taught saxophonist O’Brien Alaribe and the Chineke Orchestra whilst enjoying a delightful three-course meal.



Tom Ilube, British entrepreneur and educational philanthropist delivered a very positive, motivating and humorous keynote speech. He spoke about some of the challenges he faced in his career and on his pathway to becoming an entrepreneur. His speech evinced some of the traits that have contributed to his extraordinarily successful career as a business leader, these include: being comfortable with taking risks and failing, perseverance and taking measured steps. It was apparent that the audience were left feeling inspired and encouraged. Later that evening, Tom was awarded with the Person of the Decade award. In a brief address, MP Chi Onwurah (Shadow minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), remarked on how AFBE-UK is contributing to UK prosperity by widening the talent pool of engineers. She also emphasised on the continued work that needs to be done in ensuring diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The occasion was rounded up in an awards presentation to recognise individuals and organisations that have in their own way supported and upheld AFBE-UK’s vision to reach out and inspire the community. It was an opportunity to showcase and celebrate the achievements of a whole range of diverse individuals and organisations making real impact. In a rather ironic twist to this part of the evening, the visionaries, Nike and Ollie Folayan, unsuspecting as they were, received individual awards for “Championing Diversity for 10 years” from the AFBE-UK Executive Board to acknowledge their immense devotion to the organisation.


The event was hugely successful and received fantastic feedback from the attendees. We thank all our fantastic sponsors for the success of the event; Royal Academy of Engineering, WSP, Arup, Ilesha Charitable Trust, London South Bank University, De Montfort University Leicester, Risktec TUV, Intalock Oil and Gas, Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) and our supporter BAME Apprenticeship Alliance. Full list of awards and award winners are detailed below:

AFBE-UK’s 10th Anniversary Innovation Award 2017 Winner: Rotimi Alabi (RAB Microfluidics) Highly Commended for Innovation: Liter of Light and Makoko Project

AFBE-UK’s 10th Anniversary Outstanding Mentor Award 2017 Winner: Tunji Akintokun MBE (Director at Cisco) Highly Commended for Mentoring: Bola Abisogun Recognition Award for Inspiring the Next Generation of Engineers: Kerrine Bryan

AFBE-UK’s 10th Anniversary Company Recognition Award 2017 Winner: UK Power Networks

AFBE-UK’s 10th Anniversary Person of the Decade Award 2017 Winner: Tom Ilube

AFBE-UK’s 10th Anniversary Appreciation Award 2017 Winner: James Smith CBE


Tolulope Osobu is an associate member of the IChemE (AMIChemE) and a member of the Energy Institute. She studied Chemical Engineering (MEng) at the University of Surrey and has since worked for Pall Corporation. She has over 2 years’ experience as a technical sales engineer in the biopharmaceutical industries and has worked on a variety of filtration and separation projects in the UK and the Nordics. She is starting a new position as a Process Technologist at a leading Chemical Process Engineering company in 2018. Tolu joined AFBE-UK in September 2016 and strongly shares the values and purpose of the organisation.





This year MEH partnered with the Boiler Engineering Skills Training Trust (BESTT), a charity representing organisations that operate in all sectors of heritage steam engineering. In 2016 the Trust introduced their fully funded 12 month practical training course (Traineeships) in heritage railways, as a means of increasing the sectors workforce and to supplement retiring engineers. The charity’s focus for 2017 was to introduce engineering careers in steam railways to BME young people as well as their Traineeship for 2018. MEH used its network of schools and colleges to invite young people to three well-attended workshop held at Croydon Supplementary Project in July and followed up with an outreach event in Hackney. Attendees were given the opportunity to further attend six fully paid taster days at either Epping Ongar Railway or Kent; East Sussex Railway. Overall 30 young people attended the taster days, working with experts in the sector. MEH will continue to work with BESTT to promote their 12 month 2018 Traineeships, which are fully paid up to £15,000 including accommodation. If you know of someone who loves hands-on work direct them towards the BESTT 2018 Traineeship by contacting AFBE-UK at

2018 is the UK’s Year of Engineering (YoE) and the Making Engineering Hot campaign has been successfully awarded 3 years of funding to promote engineering in Southwark, Hackney and Newham by the BBC Children in Need grant awarding body. Commencing in early 2018, the focus of these 3 years will not only be promoting engineering careers to young people aged 12 -18 years old but we will also provide mentoring support to participants. We have seen how invaluable mentors are to individuals at various stages of their professional life. We want to focus on young people at the most critical point in their life and help them to make good choices. We are currently searching for mentors as well as individuals who can participate in our events. If you would like to participate in MEH in 2018 or know someone that may be interested in participating, please email us at or visit Reneth McKenzie-Schoetz (MPhil, MSc, BEng) is a Mechanical Design Engineer. She is the current schools programmes Manager for the AFBE-UK Schools Outreach programmes in London. Reneth is also responsible for quality control and planning to ensure projects are delivered to time and are of high quality. In her spare time, Reneth enjoys running, yoga and tending her allotment where she grows fruits and vegetables.







AFBE-UK’s NextGen initiative continues to promote engineering as a career choice by inspiring and enlightening young people in Scotland. This is recognising the engineering skills shortage and the need to support the next generation of engineering talent in fulfilling their dreams and aspirations. NextGen was extended to a secondary school this year for the first time, having been held in several primary schools and in the community since its inception in 2015. In 2017, NextGen reached out to over 250 students aged 7 to 18 in various primary and secondary schools in Aberdeen. Each NextGen event was packed with exciting activities including model exhibitions, science busking, team challenges, quizzes and presentations, helping the students to engage with engineering professionals of diverse backgrounds, learn about what they do and how to excel as engineers. NextGen’s activities were supported by the Aberdeen City Council and several multinational companies including Total, Chevron, Shell, Taqa, Schlumberger, Plexus and the IChemE. The events were facilitated by engineering professionals from different companies, volunteering as Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) ambassadors. NextGen has been received positively by the students, teachers and other stakeholders with excellent feedback. Dr Ollie Folayan, AFBE-UK Chair in Scotland sums up the aim in the following words “We hope to highlight

that engineering is about being creative, bringing projects to life and doing something that can have a real impact on day-to-day life.’’ We look forward to reaching out to more primary and secondary school students in 2018 and the coming years. Jide Okwujiako is a Chartered Safety Engineer and an active member of AFBE-UK in Scotland. Jide’s background is in Civil Engineering/Structures and he also holds a Master’s Degree in Safety and Reliability Engineering from Aberdeen University. Jide is a STEMnet Ambassador and AFBE-UK Scotland’s NextGen Programme Coordinator.




BY PHILLIP ENEGELA AND ABISOLA AJANI The dynamic nature of the job market, particularly in the UK, has made it rather challenging for students to focus on attaining excellent grades in their studies and prepare for the job search, which inevitably comes at the end of their academic studies. An additional hurdle to be surmounted by candidates is the presentation of their skills, competencies and achievements in a summarised document which can get them noticed by recruiters / prospective employers. If selected for the next stage of the recruitment process, they will have to provide compelling stories and evidence of competencies which they possess, and demonstrate the competencies set out in their CVs in assessed activities. The team at AFBE-UK run “Transition” events which mirror the recruitment process, to make the experience less daunting for candidates. “Transition” is AFBE-UK’s flagship programme which prepares students and young professionals for the world of work. It essentially is a dry-run for candidates to practice how to handle the unnatural situations which interviews and assessment centres can turn out to be for many people. A team of experienced individuals ranging from senior / technical experts to management-level professionals volunteer as assessors at our events.

In line with a real life job application process, a typical transition programme workshop can run for either a whole day or an evening featuring individual mock interview sessions with industry professionals and a mock group assessment centre for a make believe engineering job vacancy. Transition offers each participant a brief CV review and thorough feedback on their interviews and group assessment performance with practical tips on how to improve. The top performer receives a job application ‘make-over’ which includes a critical CV review, a personalised LinkedIn profile picture and a mentoring opportunity as well the opportunity to gain internships or graduate recruitment offers. In addition to being an employability event, transition also serves as a networking opportunity for the participants and professionals involved.



AFBE-UK London successfully ran two transition workshops partnering with WSP and Bloomberg in 2017 and catered for approximately 90 students from various Universities in London with the help of over 70 volunteering engineering professionals. A number of participants from past Transition events were able to secure internships and graduate employments with companies such as WSP, Shell, Galliford Try and EDF. With Transition, AFBE-UK hopes to help provide a platform for talented students particularly of BAME backgrounds to enhance their interview skills improving upon their overall chances of being able to secure employment. For companies, the scheme offers a pool of talented diverse students who are better equipped to take on engineering roles.’ Mott MacDonald has recently signed up as a Tier 1 sponsor of Transition in 2018.

AFBE-UK Scotland ran two transition events in 2017 in collaboration with GE and Shell (through the Shell Africa Network, SAN). The events, which reached more than 80 students from 3 universities in Aberdeen and Edinburgh, had candidates drawn from various nationalities with a wide demographic spread – we had a mother and son at one of our events this year! We also successfully included a sight-challenged candidate, who participated in all segments of the event and rated it very highly. Our most recent event featured insight into the hiring process from a HR manager focusing on adapting to technology-influenced changes in recruitment, a keynote speech from a Vice-President at Shell, and a shorter, but nonetheless motivating speech by an AFBE-UK member whose transition journey over the last 5 years gave the candidates the much-needed zeal to pursue their dream of landing an offer with an employer.


On average, 70% of candidates who have had the Transition experience have secured jobs within 12 months post-graduation. Phillip Enegela is AFBE-UK’s Transition Events Coordinator in Scotland. He started his career at KPMG advising clients in the Energy sector on Tax Compliance/Regulatory matters and Business expansions/structuring. Philip subsequently took up a research role at the Corrosion and Protection Centre, University of Manchester, collaborating with a team of researchers to advise National Grid UK regarding ageing assets. Philip has over 5 years work experience providing professional/advisory services to Energy clients. He holds a PhD in Corrosion and Materials from the University of Manchester. Abisola Ajani is currently studying for a PhD in Chemical, Process and Energy Process Engineering at London South Bank University in collaboration with University College London. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Chemical Process Engineering from University College London and First Class honours degree in Chemical and Process Engineering from London South Bank University. Abisola joined AFBE-UK as a student member in 2015. Since joining the organisation, she has been actively involved in planning and executing key events one of which was the first Transition event in London. Abisola is also the student representative of AFBEUK in London.




MY TRANSITION EXPERIENCE My name is Ayomide Ukpong, I am a student of University College London studying Electronics and Electrical Engineering and I am a member of AFBE-UK. I was honoured to be one of the winners for the first Transition event in London in 2016. Since the Transition event, AFBE-UK has supported me in different ways by organising events that have created a platform for me to expand my professional network in various industries. They have graciously mentored me and guided me in making enhancements to my CV and LinkedIn profile to attract employers and with their help; I secured a summer internship at WSP as well as an industrial placement with EDF energy. I am grateful to have been a part of AFBE-UK as they have helped me maximise my potential and broaden my career prospects. I have learnt a great deal from AFBE-UK and would encourage anyone who is looking for career guidance, or even just need a little boost; it can go a long way. I never would have thought that I’d have achieved what I have thus far, and along my journey I have learnt new things from each and every experience.

of how different teams collaborate to deliver projects. I also attended meetings with professionals from other departments within WSP and external companies. Overall, the internship was a great experience; it gave me a better insight into the railway industry. I deepened my knowledge and put to practise my technical engineering skills. I also got to hone my interpersonal and organisational skills through the plethora of day to day tasks I encountered. Apart from work, I had the opportunity to network with a variety of professionals within the company. The experience helped to build my confidence as I communicated and built strong, lasting relationships with other employees. I am truly grateful to have embarked on this journey to a better future.

I worked closely with the Communications and Controls team during my summer internship with WSP. I worked mostly on designing CCTV Coverage for Coventry Rail station multi-storey car park using AutoCAD. I was also involved in different tasks that contributed to projects like Crossrail. I had an opportunity to rotate and work with other teams such as, the System Engineering and Project Management team, to get a better picture

Ayomide Ukpong (AFBE-UK Transition Event Participant)




We would like to welcome new members; Pall Corporation and Hyperion Search who have recently joined as AFBE-UK organisation members and Mott MacDonald as Transition Tier 1 sponsor.

We are often asked by individuals and organisations seeking to find out about AFBE-UK “What’s in it for me?” Here are some answers on why you should get involved as well as some frequently asked questions on AFBE-UK:

Through our programmes you can directly engage and inspire the next generation of engineers. This will give you greater influence within your community as you provide career options to young people. haring your Experience: You can share your experiences in an S informal environment, give and receive advice from other members. We have many members with varied levels of experience from different areas and fields.

rand Recognition: As a member you will gain recognition among B your peers, leading and influential industry leaders and clients for investing in diversity. M entoring: You have the opportunity to be assigned to an industry mentor or to be a mentor to others. N etworking: There are lots of networking opportunities because we have several annual seminars and networking events where we bring people from within our industry together. Influencing Change: AFBE-UK continues to gain recognition within the engineering industry, and we are starting to have a voice in influencing change in international development and issues relating to BME communities in the UK.

onnections: There are many opportunities to meet high profile C engineers and industry leaders through our bi-annual advisory board meeting and annual seminars. areers news/Information Portal: We provide our members with any C information we have about opportunities and vacancies within our industry and as an organisational member you can advertise using our job board and social media platforms. This is evidence you are clearly trying to engage diverse communities.



Why do we need a group that represents BME interests in Engineering? Over the last few years, research has consistently shown that the popularity of science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects (STEM) has declined. Ethnic minority communities form around 6.7% of the total population of working age and it has been estimated to double within the next 50 years. Ethnic minorities in the UK represent a younger, growing marketplace 80% are under 25 years old. It has therefore become even more important to increase participation by ethnic minorities in science, engineering and technology (SET). Is AFBE-UK exclusively for people of ethnic origin? No. AFBE is not exclusive to people from a particular ethnic origin, however our activities focus on people that have and share an interest and the experience of people of BME origin in our communities. Our mission is to display the vast array of engineering and technical talent available in the BME community in the UK. Our Vision is to function as a representative body on issues and developments that affect the careers of BME Engineers and BME Communities in the UK and abroad. Do I have to work as an engineer or be an engineering employer to be part of the AFBE-UK? Not Necessarily. Our members come from a wide spectrum of scientific and technology related backgrounds. Other members studied for degrees in engineering and moved into other fields while others work within the engineering industry but are not necessarily engineers by training. The important thing is that they have a strong STEM (i.e. Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) background and passion for the engineering industry. How is AFBE-UK different from other professional engineering institutions? We have links with organisations such as Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), The Institution of Mechanical Engineering

(IMechE). Institution of Chemical Engineers, (IChemE), Engineering UK, The institution of Civil Engineering (ICE), the Energy Institute and the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) amongst others. We encourage our members to work towards chartership through involvement with these recognised bodies. We therefore exist to complement these organisations. How does AFBE-UK fund its activities? The events are fully self-sponsored by the generous donation from our individual and organisational members and through programme sponsorship. We have had support from organisations such as the Big Lottery and others. However most of our members donate time and money to support this cause. How can I support AFBE-UK? You can support us through membership and donations. We also welcome contributions through provision of venues for our events. Get in touch with us at to find out more. Annual Subscription fees are ÂŁ30 for full time professionals and ÂŁ10 for students. Organisation membership of AFBE-UK is also open to all engineering and nonengineering organisations. Wherever you are and whatever stage you are in your career. AFBE-UK can help you and you can help AFBE-UK.


AND THE AFBE-UK 2017 MEMBER OF THE YEAR AWARD GOES TO… Kasi Usani Chartered Engineer; MSc in Safety Engineering & Risk

Management; B.Eng. (Civil Engineering); various other Safety Engineering related Certifications. Dr Ollie Folayan on the awardee: We first met Kasi Usani in 2014 when he was invited to give a lecture at our Real Projects series on the role of a safety engineer through the Project life cycle.


from planning of school programmes and transporting models to/from events to helping to facilitate events even using his own resources. In October this year Kasi led a one-day course teaching a team of professionals currently working in the industry how to participate in Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) studies. Kasi has also provided advice and mentorship to some young professionals. It is therefore my pleasure to commend Kasi Usani as the 2017 AFBEUK’s Member of the Year. In Kasi’s own words: “I (with my twin brother, who’s older, technically!) am the last of a family of five; born, raised and educated in Nigeria.” According to Kasi choosing to study engineering at university was a logical progression because of his preference for the sciences and math in secondary school. Following Kasi’s first degree, he spent a couple of years working as a Civil Engineer and then a stint working in a Bank. After about a year working in the bank, Kasi quickly realised he’d much rather get back into engineering. “Working in a bank provided me with the inspiration (of sorts) for me to stick to engineering as a career” Kasi says.

Kasi is an engineering consultant who has provided services to a number of oil and gas major including Shell. Kasi joined AFBE-UK in 2015 and has since been a committee member and the coordinator of our Real Projects Series.

Kasi proceeded to study for a Master’s of Science (MSc) degree in the University of Aberdeen. The MSc in Safety Engineering & Risk Management was an outlet for him to practice a broader and for him more interesting field of engineering than Civil Engineering. He was offered two jobs even before completing his MSc and took up an offer as a Graduate Safety Engineer with an EPC company in the Oil & Gas Industry.

Despite considerable work commitments and a new addition to his family in 2017, Kasi was key contributor to all of our core programmes, NextGen, Transition and Real Projects. Kasi gave useful contributions at all stages

Kasi exited the graduate programme less than two years later, and was posted on overseas assignments, first to Colombia where he worked on a greenfield engineering project for an onshore oil & gas production and



processing facility where he was responsible for all the safety engineering requirements in the FEED phase of the project. At the time, it was really going in at the deep end for Kasi as he did not have that many years under his belt as a Safety Engineer and was essentially working on his own on the project. This prepared him for another overseas assignment, this time on a brownfield engineering project when he was posted to Oman, for a total period of about two years, before returning to Aberdeen. He was promoted to Lead Engineer not long after, and worked with the company for some time before leaving to become a Safety & Risk Consultant with (a larger) Oil and Gas Operating company. Kasi joined AFBE-UK because he could identify with its aims & objectives - essentially, ‘making engineering hot’ for kids and helping young graduates/students to make their way into the engineering profession. In his own words Kasi reflects that “Although I didn’t suffer too many conundrums in career choice growing up, I realised that this was often the exception rather than the rule, and wanted to contribute my tuppenceworth to this noble cause.” As a member of AFBE-UK Kasi has mostly enjoyed the feedback that participants have often returned after attending AFBE-UK events, and the testimonials they give of how AFBE-UK has helped them in subsequently getting jobs; or, just the knowledge and insight that they’ve gained from attending AFBE-UK talks and presentations. He also thoroughly enjoys the looks on kids’ faces when they safely land their ‘helicopters’ on the paper-and-clip ‘helipads’ they have made as part of the NextGen programme. Kasi’s advice for the next generation of Engineers: “Never fail/fear to come out and ask ‘stupid’ questions during engineering study meetings or brainstorming sessions, or to express an opinion that may appear to run contrary to the popular view within an engineering/

project team. You could be saving a project from failure or, if things don’t go as planned after the popular decision has been taken, someone else will ask the same question you didn’t ask, and you’ll be kicking yourself for a long time! Always be willing to put yourself forward for challenging tasks and projects, even those that are not your ‘bread & butter’ – you learn and develop faster from them, and these could lead to quicker career progression.”

Congratulations Kasi!




This year, as in previous years, we’ve also had a weekend event: a fullday workshop on Coordination & Conduct of HAZOPs, which was well attended by both mature industry professionals and graduates alike. Attendees came from as far away as London!


Real Projects is an AFBE-UK event for both engineering graduates and experienced professionals in industry. It is a monthly series of Presentations, Seminars and Workshops on selected topics presented by experienced engineers and other professionals, based on their professional experiences, activities and projects that they’ve undertaken. At inception, it was primarily aimed at giving young graduates (and undergraduates) a feel for ‘how stuff is done’ out in industry, a practical supplement to the theory from Uni. In 2017, Real Projects in Scotland has clearly grown beyond this conceptual goal; not only have the audiences become wider ranging, they’re getting ‘bigger’ too: this year, we’ve had the CEO of Maersk Oil UK attend two Real Projects events, while the MD of another big company has attended one and requested to be sent invites to all our events in 2018! The presentation topics have become broader too: where our topics used to be mainly (Oil & Gas) engineering related (understandably, considering the predominant industry in our catchment area), they now regularly feature business and entrepreneurial subjects (e.g. ‘Investing the Right Way’, ‘Brexit & the Oil Economy’, etc.).

Feedback from participants at Real Projects events has been inspirational, to say the least – it has ranged from reports of how knowledge gained from the seminars has helped participants to complete academic and project assignments, to awe at how events of such quality and utility are rendered free of charge. …it’s just what we do folks!!



engineering challenges themed ‘Future of Oil & Gas: What’s Next?’ The event was held at the Shell Centre in London and welcomed over 25+ university students and young professionals from diverse fields and backgrounds. The evening featured presentations from guest speakers and oil industry professionals –Taiwo Oyewole, Global Manufacturing Lead for Bitumen & Sulphur Business at Shell, Dr. Chet Biliyok, Chartered Process Engineer at Energy and System Technical Ltd and Yinka Bankole, Chartered Process and Flow Assurance Engineer at Fluor Corporation, a lively panel discussion and networking event. In September, in a bid to increase awareness on the importance of Engineers in Parliament and Leadership, AFBE-UK London held a Real Projects seminar and networking event themed ‘Engineering and Politics’.

AFBE-UK London held its first ever Real Projects seminar and networking event in 2017 themed “The Future of Railways” in collaboration with the Young Rail Professionals. The seminar which took place at WSP Offices in London, brought speakers including Dr Nike Folayan, AFBE-UK Chair and Technical Discipline Leader Communications and Control(Rail) at WSP and guest speaker Andy Phillips, Project Manager at CPC Project Services to meet with a room full of enthusiastic students and young professionals from various engineering backgrounds to discuss UK’s Digital Railway Programme and how technology will enable more trains, better connectivity and greater convenience for passengers. AFBE-UK London also collaborated with the Shell African Network in May 2017 to organise and host the second in a series of talks on real-world

The seminar, which was hosted at the House of Commons, was well attended and welcomed an audience of over 20 Engineering professionals and students from across the UK for a short speech followed by a panel discussion from guest speaker Chi Onwurah MP (Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy, Science and Innovation and the only Chartered Engineer in the UK parliament). Chi Onwurah’s talk featured discussions on her academic and career journey and on transitioning from Engineering into Politics. The event also included a short survey, which gave the opportunity for the audience to express their views on the importance of Engineers in Politics. Results of which revealed that all were in agreement that Engineers, with the wealth of skills they possess, would make great politicians particularly in areas of public policy such as Energy, Transport and Infrastructure, Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Policy.



Wishing you all a Successful 2018 ahead! Damilola Fari-Arole is a graduate of Chemical Engineering with a Master’s degree from Imperial College London. Prior to this, she graduated with a first class honours degree from the University of Surrey. She has since joined Network Rail as a Graduate Engineer in Safety, Technical and Engineering, which encompasses railway asset management, engineering assurance, safety and sustainability. As Real Projects Coordinator, Damilola helps to organise and host AFBE-UK London’s Real Projects programme. Although majority voted to likely consider a career in politics, they believed that the lack of understanding or general interest in the industry is the reason for underrepresentation of Engineers in political positions and this issue could be addressed through exposure, mentoring, training and importance of engineering skills in policy role models. Following a Q&A session, Chi concluded with important career advice for the room of enthusiastic Engineers, with emphasis placed on the importance of Engineers in leadership positions and policy development as well as the need to encourage more female students in STEM. Our line-up of events for 2018 is currently on the drawing board, and is likely to feature more varied subjects/topics, including communication and soft-skills, etc. added to our core engineering topics. Needless to say, it would be worth keeping an eye out for Real Projects Flyers in 2018! We would like to thank all our speakers, facilitators and attendees throughout the year; you are the architects of all the impact that Real Projects is making.

Kasi Usani is a Chartered Safety & Risk Engineer with several years’ experience working on oil & gas projects in the UK, the Middle East and in South America. He is currently a Safety Engineer with the Shell Projects & Technology group. Previously, he worked for almost seven years at Wood Group PSN where he rose to become a Lead Technical Safety Engineer. He has been involved in different projects spanning the entire lifecycle of typical oil and gas facilities, both onshore and offshore. Kasi holds a Master’s degree in Safety Engineering & Risk Management from the University of Aberdeen, and is a TUV-certified Functional Safety Engineer (for Safety Instrumented Systems).




In 2017 in addition to all the fantastic events including our anniversary celebrations, NextGen, Transition, Real Projects and Making Engineering Hot that AFBE-UK has hosted, I have had the privilege of presenting talks at various events. These events include the IET 9percentisnotenough seminar, Amey’s Diversity Event, Westminster Employment Forum, CIHTs diversity focus and the Royal Academy of engineering diversity panel. I continue to contribute at various strategic boards and committees and I was also featured in the Year of Engineering 2018 launch video. I have been excited by how our industry has seemingly actively began to embrace diversity. However, I am somewhat concerned by the direction of travel of the diversity message, which may exclude some diverse groups or push some groups further down the food chain. This is not only from a recruitment perspective but also a progression view point. In 2017 AFBEUK contacted over 150 UK based engineering companies to introduce AFBE-UK as part of our anniversary celebrations. What we found was that even organisations that seemed to be promoting diversity programmes, were extremely selective on which strands of diversity they were willing to support and more importantly the conduit / outlet they felt comfortable to support activities through. We found that organisations were more willing to engage with diverse communities if the outreach activities is championed by individuals/organisations not from

the diverse community they were trying to engage rather than community led organisations (race/ethnicity). Nevertheless, In comparison to 5 years ago when AFBE-UK carried out a similar exercise, the reception this time round was much better. It occurred to me that even after 10 years of championing ethnic diversity within our industry, some strands of diversity were simply not as attractive and maybe slightly uncomfortable for many engineering organisations to engage with as others.


A few weeks ago I was invited and attended a networking event hosted at one of the UK’s most prestigious engineering institutions. The purpose of this event was to launch 2018 as a year of championing engineering to the next generation of engineers. Not unusually I found myself to be the only female ethnic minority engineer in attendance. At this event I noticed a few things which I would like to share. I found that it seemed as though everyone was familiar with each other. No one at the networking event made any attempts at all to engage with me. More so it appeared that even when I tried to join into the various conversations, groups would soon disperse not long after I brought up my passion for championing BAME diversity within industry. Even when joining all female groups, I had a feeling that I was intruding on the conversation. I also noticed that most of the schools promotion tools displayed at the event appeared to focus on gender diversity exclusively. This was interesting bearing in mind that one in four school age young people in England are from an ethnic minority background and an average of 25% of engineering university graduates are from BME backgrounds.


Now these observations may all be “only my perception”. However through various conversations I have had, I find that it is the common experience of many engineers from ethnic minority backgrounds. I have now begun to consider whether indeed it was right for me to continue to encourage people from various backgrounds into engineering with the promise that our community is welcoming. As someone that has worked in the industry for over a decade, I find that I am still unsure how inclusive our industry really is and whether others like me feel they belong. Nevertheless it is encouraging to note that the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Inclusive Cultures report raises the importance of inclusivity and highlights some of the subtle selective diversity practices that our industry has adopted over the years. In May 2017, I wrote an article for the QE Prize, where I talked about creating a sense of belonging in engineering for all communities. In the article I wrote: “My hope for the future of engineering lies in an industry where engineers from diverse backgrounds have a sense of belonging, are accepted as members of the group and not the exception, and feel truly valued within the industry. I hope for a future when we can engage with diversity in a way that goes further than recruitment practices and where diversity translates into inclusion, nurturing and retaining talent. Such long-term impact is what AFBE-UK aspires to achieve through its programmes.“ The topic of Diversity and the Diversity Market Place is very busy at the moment. Diversity and inclusion has become a hot, “sexy” topic and gained pre-eminence lately but back in 2007 when AFBE-UK was founded it was not as popular. AFBE-UK has worked tirelessly and our success has been almost solely on community action and the desire of the membership, advisory board and supporters to continue to make impact in the lives of others, through



personal contact and in ways that ensures lasting impact. We have and are supporting many engineers in industry through Real Projects and mentoring. We are passionate about the progress of people from diverse backgrounds in the industry and not just increasing recruitment numbers. Our message is about getting the best talent for the job through attraction, recruitment, retention and progression. The United Kingdom has a long standing history of engineering achievement, and there is no doubt this will continue. Incorporating diversity and inclusion into the culture of engineering will guarantee a future of higher achievement and growth in the UK. A diverse workforce opens up a wealth of possibilities, encourages creativity and fosters innovation. An organisation with a wide range of employees is well placed to understand the needs of and interact with their extensive client base. Engineering is a global profession and diversity places organisations in a prime position to recruit and keep talented individuals in a competitive labour market. As we enter into the Year of Engineering 2018, I believe that if organisations want to engage with ethnic diversity in a meaningful way, a key ingredient is engaging with the community through organisations such as AFBE-UK who fully understand and are aware of the unique challenges that our community faces. We are passionate because of our shared experience as BAME engineers working in the industry. We would like for our industry to embrace and collaborate with us if we all really want a more inclusive engineering industry. AFBE-UK’s motto has always been that we are a small organisation with a big impact and we hope to continue to make a real difference. We do not have all the answers but we can signpost organisations who want to bring about meaningful change.





With quarterly events, RoundTable will provide the opportunity for professionals to share their experiences and concerns about a chosen topic in a safe, confidential setting. It will also provide the opportunity to network across the industry and across different career levels. The first RoundTable event is planned for 23rd March 2018. Look out on the AFBE-UK website for details.

RoundTable, a new initiative from AFBE-UK aims to answer this question and other difficult questions we think of in the workplace with open discussions aimed at professionals. These sessions will also be welcome to new graduates or students undertaking an internship or placement. RoundTable events will have no more than 20 participants in each session, so there will be an opportunity for everyone to get their voice heard. In addition, a chairperson will be available to monitor the conversation and ensure that anyone that wants to speak can.

MEMBERS NEWS If you have been to an AFBE-UK programme and would like to share your experience, please send us an email at Please send any news you would like to share with us to



EVENTS HIGHLIGHT GALLERY 2017 Making Engineering Hot 2017 Taster Days


10th Anniversary Gala Dinner & Awards




NextGen in Aberdeen


Transition in London and Aberdeen




Real Projects in London and Aberdeen

Christmas Dinners in London and Aberdeen



ABOUT US AFBE-UK (Association for BME Engineers) is a registered not-for-profit organisation that aims to challenge and inspire people of black and minority ethnic (BME) origin to make enhanced contributions in their respective fields, and also to add value to the community, using engineering as a platform. AFBE-UK was founded in 2007 in London as a network of engineers who enjoy what they do and seek to engage the industry and make a positive contribution to the community. These goals are achieved through our conferences and our mentoring programmes. AFBE-UK also aims to contribute to discussions on sustainable development in developing countries. To find out more about AFBE-UK and the work we do please visit our websites; and