AFBE 2015 Annual Report and Newsletter

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// WELCOME Welcome to our 2015 Newsletter and Annual Report. 2015 has been a very eventful year for everyone. The world in general has had its share of significant challenges with security concerns across the globe as well as the ever present migrant crisis. We have watched with interest significant engineering breakthroughs from the conclusion of three years of tunnelling for Crossrail, to the news on Major Tim Peake – the first British astronaut to visit the International Space Station. There have also been controversies around China investing £6bn in British nuclear power to generate circa 3.2GW of power as well as the somewhat emotional demise of UK deep coal mining with the closure of Kellingley, the UK’s last deep mine in December 2015. As with 2014, the continued downturn in the Oil and Gas industry has remained a challenge. These challenges have affected us all. In Dr Ollie Folayan’s Energy Voice news article published on October 2015 and titled “Oil price decline a ‘double-edge sword’ for energy sector”, referring to the challenges in the Oil and Gas sector he stated “The downturn is forcing us to think more creatively and expediently about how we run projects – doing what has to be done rather than blindly complying with industry standards”. Certainly as engineers this year has been a time for us to reflect on how we can become even more creative in our approach to problem solving. Reflecting on Tim Peake’s achievement a large part of his mission is an educational programme set to inspire and involve young people with computer coding and lessons from space. This in itself is inspiring because according to Engineering UK’s 2015 report the UK at all levels of education does not have either the current capacity or the rate of growth needed to meet the forecast demand for skilled engineers by 2022. For us at AFBE, in 2015 we have focused on sharing our knowledge with others, being more collaborative and supporting organisations seeking to really make a difference. In our 8th year we continue to invest our time and effort in engaging with the community and the engineering industry by providing programmes that equip tomorrow’s engineers while sharing our expertise on how the diversity challenge in Engineering can be tackled. Our mission to reach out to young people has continued to flourish through our programmes in London as well as Aberdeen. The success of AFBE-UK relies on enthusiasm and support of our members. This year we launch the AFBE Member of the Year award which goes to our very own Edward Obinna Onugha (aka Obie) of AFBE-UK Scotland. Congratulations on your Award. To find out more about Obie read our Member of Year article in this newsletter. In 2016 our desire is that our industry continues to push the boundaries that create a more sustainable world by actively pursuing activities that challenge more young people to consider careers in engineering. It is our hope that the articles in this Newsletter will encourage you to support our mission and become a member of AFBE-UK community. Regards, Dr Nike Folayan PhD MIET CEng Chair, AFBE-UK London


// FEATURES Page 03 2015 Update on AFBE-UK London By Dr Nike Folayan Page 06 AFBE-UK Scotland in 2015 By Dr Ollie Folayan Page 09 The AFBE-UK Scotland NextGen Programme -Inspiring Future Engineers By Jide Okwujiako Page 11 Transitions – Building Pathways from Today into Bright futures By Emma Opara Page 13 Time to spread the Word By Yinka Bankole Page 16 AFBE 2015 Member of the Year Page 18 Making Diversity part of Company Culture By Reneth McKenzie- Schoetz Page 20 “How Effective is Diversity in Current Business Practice?” By Nike Folayan


End of Year Welcome Dinner 2015

// AFBE-UK LONDON IN 2015 AFBE-UK London started this year with a celebration at City Hall for the Mayors Mentoring programme which began in 2013 and concluded 2014. The programme was created to provide an avenue for young Afro Caribbean boys between the ages of 13 and 16 to meet and be mentored by role models within the community over a 12 month period. The focus on young Afro Caribbean boys was set by the Mayor’s office because of their over representation in the criminal justice system and in the “Not in Education Employment or Training (NEET) group after the age of 16. AFBE was attracted to this opportunity because of the under representation of Black and Minority (BME) groups in science and engineering. We partnered with South London YMCA (now Evolve) and “Lives not Knives” to form a mentoring consortium. The consortium of AFBE-UK, Lives Not Knives and SLYMA (now Evolve

Housing) matched a total of 169 mentors and mentees in Croydon and Lambeth In January 2015 AFBE-UK organised a feedback session with some of the mentors involved. Although the feedback was not all positive we learned a number of important lessons which we shared in last year’s newsletter. At the end of the programme five students from Oasis Shirley Park School (one of the schools involved in the mentoring programme) were invited by MITIE to undertake work experience in April 2015. MITIE placed the students at their client’s office within Transport for London (TfL). An Excerpt of the feedback received from Gary Zetter (Operations Director at MITIE and AFBE advisory board member) who was actively involved in the mentoring programme is detailed below:


Darcy, Israel and Tyrique were selected to attend TfL because they all actually want to become Engineers. As close off to the work experience all attended the Counting House Office for a meeting with Jeffery Lee – National Apprentices Manager and Gary Zetter (Operation Director MITIE). It was an open forum and the Young Learners were encouraged to be open about their work experience and the following bullet points are their words. n They enjoyed the experience of being in the world of work and enjoyed the responsibility. n They feel underestimated at school and being in the work environment they felt grown up. n They gained a lot of knowledge in the work environment that school just can’t prepare them for. n They learned about how a building works and how tough a day can be. n All confirmed that they will be more respectful and supportive to their parents as they now understand how tough working all day can be. n They specifically mentioned how well they were treated by the MITIE Team and felt they gained respect of the Engineers by their willingness to learn/work hard. Overall they wanted to thank everyone at MITIE for treating them with respect and making them welcome. They recognised that Engineering is a good career and all still want to become Engineers and also learned that it can be tough for engineers getting the appreciation they deserve. They wanted to thank TfL for letting them come on site.

These messages are very important and clearly show the impact that the mentoring programme has had. In August 2015 we were at Croydon Supplementary Education Project Making Engineering Hot, to deliver an engineering workshop to a group of secondary school students. Our team presented careers in engineering and progression routes. The secondary school students then took part in an interactive Bridge Building activity using paper and cellotape. The feedback received from all who participated was positive.


Another showcase of the Making Engineering Hot programme campaign took place in October 2015. AFBE-UK was invited by the Prince’s Trust BITC “Seeing Is Believing” programme to talk to about 20 business leaders on the challenges to recruitment and retention faced by BME people in Engineering (Read Reneth article on Making Diversity part of Company Culture for details). Later on that day we were invited by the Department for Transport (DfT) to discuss our community engagement programmes and to submit a case study on the Making Engineering Hot programme.

Making Engineering Hot at CSEP

In 2014, on the recommendation of our advisory board, we started to develop our business plan to map the strategic direction of AFBE-UK by evaluating our performance in the last 8 years. The business plan draft was completed in 2015. We are working on the implementation strategy and setting Key Performance indicators. We have welcomed some fantastic new committee members to the team (Yinka Bankole and Mweni Chibwa) who have been invaluable in providing objective direction in developing the business plan. We have continued to work with the support of PA Consulting and our Advisory Board members. Our first paper publication on Transition (Refer Ollie Folayan’s Article on AFBE-UK Scotland) was delivered this year. Our second publication on Making Engineering Hot was accepted and will be presented at the 2016 American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Annual Conference due to take place in June 2016. On a personal note, I had the pleasure of participating in the Royal Society’s Annual Diversity Conference in November 2015 this year speaking on my experiences and the barriers that may affect diverse groups. You may find my article on “How effective is Diversity in Current Business Practice?” in this newsletter of interest. In October 2015 I was invited to 10 Downing Street to celebrate Black History Month, It was an interesting and inspiring event with the prime minister David Cameron discussing challenges to diversity in the current climate.

Two of our advisers David Waboso CBE and Dr Nelson Ogunshakin OBE were also in attendance. In December 2015 I received and accepted an invitation to the Strategic Planning Board to support the development of Engineering at the University of the West of England. I am delighted and look forward to being involved in this. I continue in my role as a member of Board of Trustees for the Engineering Development Trust and this year I was invited to write a Blog on “What an Engineer should look like”. These activities continue to make AFBE-UK relevant in this space. The year ended with a Welcome dinner at Cottons Restaurant in Camden. The dinner was held to celebrate and welcome our new and prospective members. The overall feedback received from attendees was positive. So what do we have planned for 2016? Our notable activities include; Our schools outreach programme which launches again in January 2016, this year we are working closely with MITIE and Hackney CVS on MITIE’s apprenticeship scheme. The first Transition event in London is scheduled for May 2016 and our Annual seminar is scheduled for November 2016. As with previous years, we continue to need your support through volunteering, donations and contacts. If you are able to volunteer to support us we welcome enquiries to where you can also sign up to receive updates on our activities.


Dr Ollie Folayan at NextGen 2015 Event

// AFBE-UK SCOTLAND IN 2015 I would first of all on behalf of the AFBE-UK Scotland team like to wish you and yours a happy and healthy 2016. For many working in the energy industry especially in North East of Scotland, 2015 was indeed something of an ‘annus horribilis’. The much needed response by key oil and gas operators to the very urgent measures recommended in the Wood report, coupled with the devastating effects of the drastic drop in the price of oil have created what can only be described as the perfect storm. Cost reduction measures took effect from the start of the year resulting in large scale head-count culls, shelving of major projects by major operators and


the sinking of some previously buoyant businesses. It would appear that it is not only the oil industry that has been affected, as major changes in the steel, automotive, chemicals and coal industries also occurred in 2015. The challenge for AFBE as an organisation has been to retain our positive message about engineering as a viable career choice for all young people and to inspire others to succeed amidst the most trying of times. Our year in Scotland began in earnest in February with the first Transition workshop held in the MacRobert Building at the University of Aberdeen’s King Street Campus. One

of the things that struck me at this event was that our programme which began in 2012 and primarily reached an ethnic minority audience was beginning to develop a broader appeal. The audience was indeed our most diverse yet and was hosted by Danny Kearns Senior Project Manager at TOTAL Exploration and Production Ltd. Danny delivered a very positive message reflecting that back in 1985 when he graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from London South Bank University, the industry faced similar uncertain times; but he emphasised the need for our young protégées not to give up. This message of positivity and persistence has indeed continued to be reflected through the rest of the year as we have continued to receive positive feedback from many of the attendees some of whom have gone on to secure jobs, work placements and have even succeeded at international competitions! One attendee (Thomas Abraham) won a major competition and credits interview skills gained at Transition for his and his team’s triumph, another attendee (Chuks Amadioha) was successful in finding a work placement in Colombia, still another attendee (Olabokun Adekoya) got a job in Wisconsin USA. All three informed us that Transition played a part...and there are others. The very successful Real Projects seminars which began in 2014 continued into 2015; a session titled “An overview of project management”, was hosted at the University of Aberdeen. The talk which was delivered by Emeka Obiwulu had attendees so captivated that questions and discussions continued on the back of Emeka’s presentation long after the session ended. Sustainable development has always been an integral part of the AFBE vision and this year AFBE had a fantastic opportunity to partner with an initiative called ‘Emerging Influencers and Leaders’ (EIL) Africa. EIL hosted former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Olusegun Obasanjo, Zainab Badawi of the BBC and many others to discuss the development of leaders for the future. My personal favourite was a talk by Tony Maseli of the United Nations who joined us via video conference from New York. Tony discussed the challenges and opportunities associated with development of manufacturing in Africa.

2015 was indeed a year of ‘firsts’ for us at AFBE-UK; this was best epitomised by the opportunity myself, Philip Enegela and Nike Folayan had, to address attendees at the Educating Enterprising Engineers and Scientists conference held at the Nathu Puri Institute, London South Bank University in June. We delivered a paper titled “Transition: Influence of Role Models on the Progression from Student Life to the World of Work” to a group of around 70 educators, researchers and engineers written based on the work done through the Transition programme. Our presentation was very well received and there were some requests made by delegates to run the Transition programme at their university. This paper presented by AFBE will also be included in a book published by Springer International Publishing AG this March. 2015 was not all work and no play as we took some time out to have some fun as well. In June, AFBE hosted members and friends from the Aberdeen community at our summer barbecue held at the Kippie lodge country club in Milltimber. The event brought together professionals from the oil and gas industry and their families, students from the University of Aberdeen and representatives of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and the Energy Institute. AFBE-UK Scotland also partnered with a team of medical practitioners to run an initiative called the Afro-Caribbean Health and Wellness programme. We were pleased to be part of a programme aimed at benefitting the community. Its been almost 5 years since AFBE set up stall in Scotland and in September 2015 we hosted our first STEM event here called NextGen geared at reaching 12-18 year olds. As we prepared for this programme we set out to achieve two key objectives; firstly we wanted to leave every young attendee with the impression that the engineering profession is an exciting one to get into; secondly we wanted our young mentees to understand that engineering whilst challenging is something they can do. Read the summary by Jide Okwujiako to learn more about the NextGen programme and about our plans for 2016.


NextGen 2015

In December 2015 AFBE Scotland launched our new website ( which specifically highlights programme run here in Scotland. Much of this work was managed by our very able web master, Obie Onugha. 2016‌ Prospects for the industry may look bleak but 2016 promises to be an exciting year for AFBE-UK Scotland. Our first event of year will be a talk held on the 28th of January 2016 by Ben Nnam, lead mechanical engineer at GE Oil and Gas on titled an Overview of Production Control Systems. This will be followed by monthly Real Projects seminars on an interesting variety of topics including, Project Management, Procurement : the bit between engineering design and project completion, technical safety, financial investment, offshore wind, wellheads and Geosciences. Our Transition workshops which have so far reached over 230 university students have been scheduled for February and October. The NextGen campaign kicks off in Q1 with an outreach campaign at the Kaimhill Primary


School. Finally join AFBE-UK Scotland as we celebrate our 5th year anniversary Gala at the 5* Marcfliffe Hotel and Spa. The event will be headlined by Scottish business man and entrepreneur, Jim Mccoll OBE and by Babs Omotowa MD Nigeria LNG and Vice President Bonny Gas Transport. This event brings together professionals from the energy industry, student, academics, politicians and representatives of professional engineering institutions. Details of all of these events will be uploaded onto the AFBE-UK Scotland website and on our social networking pages. I invite you to be part of the work we are doing at AFBE, help to mentor the next generation of engineers whilst making meaningful contacts some of whom could be of help in future. Best Wishes, Dr Ollie Folayan (PhD, CEng, MIChemE)

The AFBE-UK Scotland NextGen Programme Inspiring Future Engineers By Jide Okwujiako The findings of research carried out on the state of Engineering in the UK in recent years has reiterated the fact that although Britain’s engineers are world class and contribute significantly to the economy, the UK at all levels of education struggles to meet the forecast demand for skilled engineers. NextGen was formed from a desire by the AFBE-UK in Scotland to respond to this urgent need to prime the engineering talent pipeline. The

first NextGen event took place in Aberdeen on the 26th of September 2015 and it was truly remarkable. The aim of NextGen is to inspire young people to consider careers in engineering and the sciences by informing them in a fun and exciting manner. The pilot event welcomed around 30 teenagers, aged between 12 and 18, together with an equal number of


professionals from various engineering disciplines. It began with an exhibition supported by a number of service companies and major oil and gas companies based in Europe’s energy capital. Following the exhibition there were talks, speed-networking, a fun quiz and exciting team challenges all designed to test and enhance the would-be engineers’ problem-solving, teamwork and communication skills. For example, the teens worked in teams to design and build an oil production facility using lego blocks. They were also given opportunities to talk about their designs and the best teams were rewarded with interesting prizes. The high level of interest shown by the teens and the infectious energy in the auditorium was good indication of the success of the event. Overall the message was one of engineering as an awesome profession. This feeling was captured by the words of the teenage delegates who said “The event was very interesting and fun and I learnt a lot about what engineers do and how to become one”.

And it wasn’t only the teenagers that had fun, it was an equally rewarding experience for the adults including AFBE-UK members, volunteers from the Aberdeen engineering community and parents who were happy to spend the afternoon with the teenagers, sharing their experiences and engaging with them. Speaking at the event, Dr Ollie Folayan who is the Chair of AFBE-UK in Scotland said that the aim is to take NextGen to the schools so that more students can get a good appreciation of engineering by engaging directly with engineers. NextGen has attracted a lot of interest from companies, schools and the Aberdeen City council. Plans are already underway to replicate the event in schools within and around Aberdeen with the first school event scheduled to take place in March this year.

Jide Okwujiako is a Chartered Safety Engineer currently working at Wood Group PSN. 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. Jide is AFBE-UK Scotland’s NextGen Coordinator.


Transitions – building pathways from today into bright futures By Emma Opara As part of the cornerstones underpinning its goals for 2015, AFBE-UK Scotland held two “Transitions” events in Aberdeen to benefit students who would soon be graduating from both major universities in the city and we are pleased to report that despite the despondency threatened by a falling oil-price, the events ran with remarkable success. “Transitions” is fuelled by a passion to coach young people in the soft skills needed to gain their first foothold on the employment ladder and achieving this usually requires as much knowledge and experience in one room as AFBE-UK Scotland can harness from different sectors of the industry to give inquiring minds some insight into

their chosen careers. So, we answered the call when it came and on 21st February 2015, assessors and students alike gathered at the Aberdeen University for a full day of discussions, interview clinics, mock assessment centres and general networking. A good number of attendees had been to previous events put on by AFBE-UK Scotland at the Aberdeen University and word of mouth spread fast so we ended up with a room filled with more than 30 candidates. Thankfully, there was no shortage of assessors either and we kicked off in high-gear, with plenty of expectation to be met on both sides.


It ended up being even more rewarding than the organisation could have hoped for, with everyone fully involved in all of the day’s activities. Feedback received from students afterwards indicated how useful they found the opportunity to get real life experience of typical interviews; prepare themselves for the diverse personalities likely to be encountered at assessment centres; meet established professionals in particular disciplines; identify areas of improvement in their jobsearch strategy; and network with other students. We also received comments on how well-organised and structured the event was and how it accurately modelled actual scenarios in an interview or assessment room, going by the testimonial of one soon-to-be graduate who had already started his initial foray into the job market. All in all, a very good day indeed and by 31st October 2015, AFBE-UK Scotland was primed to do this again with the Aberdeen University being used once more as the preferred venue. Our second event was undoubtedly more subdued in terms of attendance and in evident consequence of the market downturn which Aberdeen’s oil & gas industry faced in 2015. With less guarantees of employment, students have started looking elsewhere and into other sectors for work and this loss of talent is the unfortunate truth which the oil & gas industry must contend with and prepare for when the busier times come back around. For us on the day, we welcomed about 15 students but reduced numbers did not seem to affect the level of enthusiasm and energy in room. Having a guest speaker like Mr. Danny Kearns from TOTAL EP-UK certainly helped drive the positivity higher as the Senior Project Manager gave a very evocative talk about his own personal

beginnings and the fascinating twists encountered in his 30-year career in engineering. It was the right kind of start to an event which AFBE-UK Scotland continues to see as vital in ensuring the influx of key skills to the industry, notwithstanding the present climate and the day’s agenda followed that of the previous event but we may have found group assessments a little more animated as attendees gave us some memorable presentations when time came to discuss the case studies! Having a smaller group surely aided one-on-one interactions between the assessors and students and the best testimonial of that “Transitions” event was discovering that many of the candidates had just gained their first experience of a typical UK job interview and assessment centre on that Saturday. Absolutely wonderful news for members like me who joined the AFBE with my own personal desire to mentor graduates who now stand where I once did, as a complete newbie to the working world and even though I’ve only been part of the association from September 2014, I’m thrilled for this chance to constructively imprint on students’ lives. I am also humbled by the association’s commitment to the quest – in the words of one student, “it is inspiring that even in the midst of all the upheaval in the industry, AFBE members can still come out to give their time and professional advice to those who need to hear it.” It will be a challenging 2016 here in Aberdeen but I have no doubt better and more fulfilling events lie ahead for “Transitions” – and there’s always room for one more assessor so please feel to lend your expert counsel to the panel and join us at the next one!

Emma Opara is a Lawyer whose cheerful engagement with commercial legal practice began from her early days of working as a Barrister and Solicitor. Emma then transitioned to the oil & gas industry. Her current role is that of Deputy Contracts Manager for two Fugro operating companies in Aberdeen and when she’s not passionately negotiating contracts, she loves to focus on her other joys of singing and enriching people’s lives. Emma is AFBE-UK Scotland’s Public Relations Officer.


Time to spread the Word By Yinka Bankole I first met AFBE by chance during the Making Engineering Hot Event at St Pauls Cathedral on Walworth Road, as a STEM Ambassador. I was immediately impressed by the event and have been even more impressed knowing now how much effort was put into it by the likes of Nike, Reneth and other AFBE members at that time. The most positive impact, however, was how I was convinced it was time for me to chip into ensuring future generations of engineers are created fairly, based on ability and from as wide and diverse a background as possible. All organisations are only as good as the members. With respect to AFBE this is especially the case. So much work has been carried out by the Folayan bionic couple in London and Aberdeen and an increased membership base with dynamic goal seeking individuals is definitely due. With this aim in mind, individuals with potential are being headhunted on the internet and by word of mouth.

Black Engineers (NSBE) and aim to establish a dominant awareness and presence in UCL, South Bank and other universities with a strong ethnic presence. The aim is to add to our ranks individuals throughout the engineering career life cycle. Statistics have shown that there’s an enormous diverse pool of engineering individuals in the South East and the UK as a whole. Many are in blissful ignorance of the existence of AFBE-UK. 2016 is the year to reach out. Ignorance of our existence must no longer be an excuse for inadequate networking. If you’re reading this newsletter and I’ve managed to keep your attention to this point, please accept my open challenge to inform 5 engineering individuals you know about AFBE-UK. This could be from LinkedIn, Facebook, church or even at work. The sky is the limit when we tap all of the talent.

Personally, through LinkedIn I have recruited five dynamic talented engineers, liaised with the National Society of

Yinka Bankole is a Chartered Engineer and member of the Institution of Chemical Engineers. He is a director of Intalock Oil and Gas Consultancy and also contracting as a Flow Assurance Consultant with Fluor Corporation a multinational engineering and construction firm. Yinka is AFBE-UK London’s Business Strategy Lead.


// GETTING INVOLVED We are often asked by individuals 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: Recognition: As a member you will gain recognition among your peers, leading and influential industry leaders and others. Mentoring: You have the opportunity to be assigned to an industry mentor or to be a mentor to others. Networking: There are lot 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.


Through our Making Engineering Hot Campaign and Next Gen you can help inspire the next generation of engineers. This will give you greater influence within your community as you provide career options to young people. Sharing your Experience: You can share your experiences in an informal environment, give and receive advice from other members. We have many members with varied levels of experience from different areas and fields. Connections: There are many opportunities to meet high profile engineers and industry leaders through our biannual advisory board meeting and annual seminars. Careers news/Information Portal: We provide our members with any information we have about opportunities and vacancies within our industry. These and many more are just of a few of the benefits of membership.

Why do we need a group that represents BME interests in Engineering?

How is AFBE-UK different from other professional engineering institutions?

Over the last few years, research has consistently shown that the popularity of science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects (STEM) have 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).

We have links with organisation 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.

Is AFBE-UK exclusively for people of ethnic origin?

How does AFBE-UK fund its activities?

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 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.

The events are fully self-sponsored by the generous donations from our members. We have had support from organisation such as the Big Lottery and others. However most of our members donate time and money to support our activities.

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 info@afbe. uk to find out more. Annual Subscription fees are ÂŁ30 for full time professionals and ÂŁ5 for students. Organisation membership is also available, contact for details.

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 2015 Member of the Year Award Goes to…

Dr Ollie Folayan on the awardee:

OBINNA EDWARD ONUGHA (B.Eng. (Electrical/ Electronic Engineering), M.Sc. Communications Engineering)


Obie Onugha’s contribution to the team was outstanding in 2015 as it was 2014. Quite early on 2015, Obie worked to identify a number of website site providers comparing a number of proposals, whittling these down to two potential companies which we then contacted. All through the year Obie continued to liaise with our selected provider to discuss content, style, price, layout etc. The new AFBE-UK Scotland website was launched in December 2015. Obie has also managed our presence on social networks and has in doing so, engaged a broad spectrum of contacts who would not otherwise know about AFBE-UK. A man of very talents Obie is our technical ‘go-to’ person when we organise events and have to operate audio-visual equipments; he is also our in-house graphic designer displaying a rare combination of technical know-how and creative flair. A very supportive team player Obie constantly exudes positivity and often takes the initiative to perform tasks that go even beyond his remit. I would therefore on behalf of the team like to take this opportunity to thank Obie for his enormous contribution to AFBE-UK and to congratulate him on his ‘Member of the Year’ award.

About our 2015 AFBE-UK Member of the Year Obie is an Operations Engineer with Harris Caprock Communications responsible for the design, implementation and maintenance of satellite and terrestrial network solutions for energy and maritime clients operating in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Originally from Nigeria, Obie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical/Electronic Engineering from the University of Port Harcourt and a Masters in Science in Communications Engineering at the Robert Gordon University, graduating with a distinction. From a very young age Obie was fascinated by the mystery of the telephone, radio and television. In his own words “By senior secondary school year, I was tired of constructing toy cars with long control wires and antennas that could not receive the right TV signals and happily signed up for the STEM classes in the hope of becoming a real Engineer someday”. In his first work experience as an intern at Shell, Obie was responsible for maintaining voice and data communication systems within the Shell network in southern Nigeria. This experience led him to pursue a career in telecommunications. Since Joining Harris Obie has taken up various roles within Harris and gained several industry certifications.

Obie joined AFBE-UK to network with engineering professionals from backgrounds similar to his and to help inspire the next generation of engineers. What Obie likes most about being a member of AFBE-UK is the opportunity to inspire others and give back to his community through AFBE-UK programmes such as Transition and NextGen. What he has enjoyed most is meeting engineering professionals from culturally diverse backgrounds.

From his career Obie’s advice to budding / young engineering professionals is this; “Choose an engineering career you are passionate about and you will never have to work a day in your life. I have learned that there is always room for improvement. The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man’s foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher”

As an engineer, Obie has worked on a variety of projects including: l Design and implementation of Advanced VSAT links and MPLS circuits providing voice, video, internet and corporate data services to offshore locations for Odfjell Drilling and Prosafe l Design and implementation of SCPC and TDMA VSAT links and MPLS circuits providing voice, video, internet and corporate data services to remote sites for Subsea 7. l Network moves, adds and changes for clients including ConocoPhillips, Diamond Offshore, ExxonMobil, Shell, Transocean, Total and Tullow.

e! i b O s n o i t a l u t a Congr 17

Making Diversity Part of Company Culture By Reneth McKenzie-Schoetz In the UK, diversity falls under the umbrella of the equality legislation. The government’s approach to diversity is one of inclusion for a variety of social groups. They believe that the economy is strongest when everyone has the opportunity to contribute to it. Between 2010 and 2012, the coalition government published “Building a fairer Britain” [1]. This strategy was introduced to tackle the barriers to social mobility which the discrimination laws over 40 years have not overcome. It starts at grassroots with early years intervention such as free education places and confronting the issues of poverty to opportunities for women and ethnic minorities amongst others. The key areas of the strategy have been implemented by the Home Office since 2007 [2] and are as follows: Creating equal opportunities for all: ‘equal opportunities’ does not mean uniformity – it means treating everyone as an individual, recognising both their needs and their talents, and giving them an equal chance to progress. Devolving power to people: removing top-down targets, and supporting everyone in playing their role as active citizens. Transparency: shining a light on inequalities and giving individuals and local communities the tools and information they need to challenge organisations that are not offering fair opportunities and public services that are not delivering effectively. Supporting social action: giving voluntary and public sector professionals the freedom to collaborate and innovate. Embedding equality: integrating equality considerations into government policies and programmes.” The government commissioned the Department for Business and Skills (BIS) [3] to examine the business case for equality and diversity. The report concludes


that if implemented correctly diversity can bring positive outcomes to an organisation. However, this strategy has to be specific to each businesses requirement. For this a concrete plan of action is required. The UK engineering sector is currently experiencing a shortage of skilled professionals. To increase the numbers choosing engineering careers, the government has financed STEM organisations over the years as well as other initiatives to tackle the issue of these shortages. Engineering UK’s latest report [4] has shown the positive outcomes of these ventures but also the continued shortages. In 2015 senior business leaders from the STEM sector met with AFBE-UK members through the Princes Trust “Seeing is Believing” programme. The delegates met with Black & Ethnic Minority (BME) engineers from various professional levels to understand their working experiences as well as their current support mechanism. In addition, the collaboration between AFBE-UK’s Making Engineering Hot Campaign (MEH) and MITIE was show cased. The successful working relationship helped MITIE diversify by attracting BME talented employees. The delegates heard first hand from some of MITIE’s current apprentices as well as the enthusiasm of the AFBE-UK engineers. The conclusion of the discussion was that “there is no silver bullet” however delegates saw that simple changes could positively affect their business [5]. In order for diversity to be successful it has to be implemented by senior management and not Human Resource managers (HR). It should not be a separate entity but woven into the culture and ideology of each organisation. In an article addressing diversity by John Whitaker on his HR Hardball website he states “Senior Corporate Leadership (not Human Resources) needs to take responsibility for this initiative, and that requires a radical shift in the company mojo. If the company culture doesn’t change, how can you expect the employee

References [1]“Building a Fairer Britain: Progress Report” The Equality Strategy; 22 May 2012; HM Government progress-report.pdf [2] “Making the Most of Our Diversity”, Diversity Strategy 2013-2016 Mark Sedwell Permanent Secretray; Home Office file/226459/E_D_Strategy_report_v3.PDF [3] “Economics - The Business Case for Equality and Diversity”; BIS Occasional Paper No 4. A Survey of Academic Literature 2013; Department for Business Innovation and Skills www. report_v3.PDF [4] “The State of Engineering”, Engineering UK 2015 RT Honourable MP Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills [5] “Promoting Diversity in STEM Sector”, The Prince’s Responsible Business Network; 2 November 2015 [6] “Diversity is a Hot Topic”, John “Whit” Whitaker, HR Hardball diversity-hot-topic

Reneth McKenzie-Schoetz and Edney Ndumbe addressing Business Leaders at Prince’s Trust “Seeing is Believing” Event.

make-up to change? The law of attraction is in play here, as we continue to attract the kind of employee we already represent.”... “Until your company has an authentic environment of embracing, promoting, and valuing diversity—or, more importantly, until it represents and appeals to diverse candidates—that room just ain’t cooling down.” [6] From our collaboration with MITIE we have found that when senior management modified their approach they were able to reach the “hard to reach”. When MITIE attended their first MEH workshop in 2009 they saw and understood the potential of the attendees. This change in perception was the catalyst for change within their organisation. They understood that the investment in

diversity needs to be part of a long term business strategy. AFBE have continued to collaborate with MITIE and will in 2016 work to expand their apprenticeship programme so that it attracts a more diverse and talented workforce. AFBE through our MEH campaign are passionate about the promotion of engineering to the BME community. Our aim is to introduce and demystify routes into the numerous industries that exist in engineering. We believe that there is a vast amount of untapped talent which can increase the number of available engineers. We aim to expand our working relationship with industry to assist with the development of business strategy for a diverse workforce as well employee retention.

Reneth McKenzie-Schoetz (MPhil, MSc, BEng) is a Mechanical Design Engineer. She is the current schools programmes Manager for the AFBE Schools Outreach programmes. 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 and yoga, tending her allotment where she grows fruits and vegetables.


“How Effective is Diversity in Current Business Practice?” … By Dr Nike Folayan Diversity is a buzz word often used by various sectors of the business and education community. In recent years diversity appears to have become the “star” subject of many conferences, seminars and meetings. One such conference which I participated in was the Royal Society’s Annual Diversity conferences in November 2015. The Keynote speaker Harvard University Professor Mahzarin Banaji and Author of Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People spoke about unconscious bias. The session challenged everyone to look more deeply into our natural biases. The insight for me was that even with the best of intentions everyone has a bias towards the familiar and inclusivity is something that we must all work on to achieve.


More businesses are being encouraged to demonstrate commitment to diversity by reaching out to candidates who fit the categories they are seeking. For the past few years, the engineering industry has started to recognise the need to make diversity a priority with various benchmarking activities including the Diversity Corcordat by Royal Academy of Engineering as well as other employer groups looking at Best Practice within the Industry and showcasing them. The effect of this enthusiasm is twofold. On the one hand, diversity has gained recognition as a word used to describe fairness, inclusion and equality. Unfortunately on the other hand, this has also meant that it is often misconstrued as the removal of meritocracy, the

promotion of quota systems and in some cases exclusive positive discrimination. The outcome of this is that business diversity strategies in some cases have become a box ticking exercise and diversity… another problem we must solve. The UK government has been very enthusiastic in the promotion diversity in Business. An address by Chi Onwurah MP at AFBE-UK’s Advisory Board meeting in October 2013 certainly reaffirmed the UK government’s continued commitment to diversity. In her address Chi highlighted how the significance and influence of engineering and engineers within ethnic minority communities could be overlooked because of limited materials available online. Chi Onwurah noted “There

is a strong consensus about the need for change and there is an opportunity to make a difference because of the consensus and momentum within government with regards to diversity in engineering. It is therefore up to groups like AFBE-UK and it’s advisory to champion the best way to promote engineering within diverse community groups. There is optimism that statistics and groups engaging with engineering will over time become more diverse.” Similarly at the Black History Month celebrations held at the 10 Downing Street which I attended in October 2015 the Prime Minister David Cameron further emphasized his governments’ commitment to increasing diversity in business and the challenges around recruitment practices.

Panel Discussion at Royal Society’s Annual Diversity Conference 2015


With all the effort going into discussing diversity, it would appear that we are certainly on the way to a more diverse work force. However in truth this may not necessarily be the outcome. Generally when the word “Diversity” is discussed within the engineering community, deliberations are generally limited to gender with other less regularly mentioned strands such as ethnicity, social class, sexual orientation and disability discussed as secondary. Furthermore, the broader definitions of diversity which must always include “inclusion” are largely ignored. Subjects like diversity in education, experiences, ideas and backgrounds are generally excluded. Most individuals are a multiplicity of various forms of diversity and this should not be ignored if we are to attract the talent that we need. It is clear that gender disparity in engineering is the starkest aspect of lack of diversity and increasing gender diversity is of vital importance. However it may be somewhat naïve to assume that focusing exclusively on gender diversity is all that is required to overcome the scale of the challenge in promoting engineering. In reality the focus on only one strand of diversity may be counterproductive in addressing, engaging and welcoming other diverse groups. Only by promoting engineering to all groups with specific tailored approaches to different “known” strands of diversity can we begin to tackle this challenge. A more general approach on diversity of ideas and experiences which will enrich our industry can be found not only in considering the advantages of increasing one form of diversity but understanding other forms of diversity in the industry. Overall a diverse workforce has been shown to increase resilience, capacity to innovate, and improved financial performance [2, 3]. Information available shows that companies with more diversity at senior/ management level had increased employee satisfaction. However Diversity Implementation can be very demanding as

it requires the dedication of the time and resources. Research shows if diversity is well managed, organisations can benefit from enhanced creativity, flexibility and problem solving skills. One of the reasons why diversity strategies become redundant and ineffective is because they are not properly managed. Refer to Reneth’s Article on Making Diversity Part of Company Culture. Organisations must first understand the landscape (benchmarking) of their employees. AFBE has found that obtaining data on their ethnic make-up of engineers post-university from most organisations is notoriously difficult. Organisations would benefit from conducting and obtaining these diversity figures so that strategies are suitably tailored. Many engineering companies do not actively promote their achievements in diversity. Part of doing this is by promoting the support they give to their employees involved in promoting engineering. An industry becomes more attractive to people from diverse backgrounds when they can identify with people of similar backgrounds; and by similar backgrounds I mean similarities that sometimes go beyond gender and ethnicity. In other words, a story/message coming from a similar background may be more inspiring than someone who just happens to be the same gender/ethnicity but has come from a more privileged upbringing. These complex factors must be considered if we are to reach out to all. We at AFBE make it our responsibility to understand these complexities and how they affect the entire life cycle of an engineer from school age to seasoned professional. We provide end to end support at every stage through our programmes. Although we do not cater for every form of diversity we understand that no community is homogeneous and that to make our industry diverse means understanding the key challenges within each community and tailoring interventions for each strand of diversity.

References 1. See more at: 2. 3. How cultural diversity can be good for business Information sheet 4.


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From Left to Right : Transition (January 2015) Aberdeen, Emerging Influencers and Leaders Conference supported by AFBE-UK ScotlandKeynote Former Keynote Address by President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, (March 2015)


Conference /Paper delivery by Dr Ollie Folayan & Dr Phillip Enegela at Nathu Puri Institute , London South Bank University (June 2015)

Making Engineering Hot in Croydon Supplementary Education Project (August 2015)


NextGen in Aberdeen Scotland (September 2016)


Princes Trust “Seeing is Believing (November 2015) inset include Edney Ndumbe, Nike Folayan and Gary Zetter of MITIE and IET Partnership Event attended by Dr Ollie Folayan (December 2015)


Call for Papers! The Spark! Contest invites current and former students to produce innovative thinking on a topic related to Energy, under Franco-British supervision. It is a two-round Contest overseen by Energy industries, and sponsored by JeanBernard LEVY (CEO of EDF). The aim of the Contest is to foster a Franco-British community of Energy, in order to bring a pool of young talent closer to Industry (visits, internships, scholarships, introduction to senior stakeholders and many other prizes to be awarded!). It is open to any current or former student (up to and including 28 years of age) from French and British Universities and schools of higher education. For its inaugural year, the Spark! Contest will focus on Nuclear Energy, exploring the environmental impact and political challenges of nuclear generation:

“The nuclear fuel cycle in 2040: The challenges and solutions to achieve sustainable nuclear generation in Europe” Provisional Timescale: • 1st December 2015: the Spark! Contest is officially launched; • 8th February 2016: Deadline to send the pre-selection 1-pager (in English); • 19th February 2016: The pre-selected students are notified; • 29th April 2016: Deadline to submit the final 10-page document (in English); • End of June 2016: Award Ceremony, during the World Nuclear Exhibition (WNE) 2016, in the presence of senior industry Stakeholders.

See: for more information and to register now! Guidelines: You may work alone or as a team – 2 members maximum; • The one page pre-selection document is a written document to be sent in PDF format and entitled as follows [LAST NAME1 & LAST NAME2 – Pre-selection – SPARK! Contest 2016]; • The header form for each member: [FIRST AND LAST NAME, UNIVERSITY, GRADUATION YEAR]; • To announce your participation, to send your pre-selection one pager and for more information, contact: or

// ABOUT US AFBE-UK is a registered not-for-profit organisation working towards advancing diversity within engineering through its programmes. AFBE-UK 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 is not exclusive to people from a particular ethnic origin, however it focuses on people that have and share an interest or experience in inspiring people of BME origin in our communities. AFBE-UK was founded in 2007, it is 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 seminars, conferences, workshops and mentoring programmes. Current AFBE chapters are located in London and Aberdeen.