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my future

2021/22 EDITION


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Foreword I’m pleased to welcome you to MyFuture, the fourth issue of our Education and Careers Guide formally entitled BAME. As you have come to expect, our goal is to lay out potential career options for 16 to 25 year olds and start them on their aspirational journeys. As ever, our goal is to lay out potential career options and inspire them to bigger and better things – but in light of the disruption to education caused by COVID over the last couple of academic years, and the renewed importance of early careers and lifelong learning in the disrupted recruitment market, we felt we should expand the age group we cater for – to the early and mid 20s. Our magazine aims to raise the aspiration levels of young people from BAME backgrounds looking for career choice guidance and information on further education and apprenticeship opportunities. To promote professional career paths, best practice, and supply useful information about the various entry level job options available – and to show clear examples of where they can lead. The delayed Tokyo Olympics have starkly demonstrated (if such a demonstration was necessary) that excellence breeds excellence, success breeds success. Those who have gone before clear a path, break glass ceilings, and provide both general positivity and inspiration as role models, as well as concrete help and advice. To that end, we again include case studies of successful individuals, some of whom have just started in their chosen careers and others who are more established. They relate their experiences and provide helpful tips for those seeking to emulate that success. Times are changing, and in the last few years many companies and other organisations have woken up to the fact that they need to institute active measures 6

for implementing change in the complexion of their teams and what they represent. Diversity and inclusion are now buzzwords trending in every boardroom and at every career fair. But what does this mean in practice? Does this lead to root and branch change to all aspects of organisational structures, or has it become a routine tick box exercise that HR departments do for appearances sake? We investigate further. COVID-19 has forced many businesses to direct their employees to work from home and it has become a cliché to welcome this as ‘the new normal’. Digitally connectivity may create only pluses for some, particularly those with years of experience, good contacts and settled careers, but there are minuses created by the lack of physical connection, particularly for those (of all ages) who are mainly in learning mode. The ability to constantly check where you are on a project, to compare how you are doing, to judge what the shifting priorities should be, to see if there’s a better way of doing it – these are the ways most people have traditionally learned their craft. Independent working may lead

to an individual steaming off in the wrong direction, with the wrong information or the wrong set of priorities, or just simply picking up bad habits that may prove difficult to shed. Seeing your professional colleagues in action day to day has always been to way to develop. The shortcuts, the jargon, modes of speech and behaviour. The good, the bad, how they react under pressure, you learn to discern and judge by example what cannot be taught. The discipline of getting up early and commuting to work, the structure created to the working day, the ability to have informal get togethers with peers and managers – over lunch, while making coffee, after work. Humans, being social animals, have evolved to communicate face to face. New technology might be a great extra to have, but whether it is possible to completely replace the physical with the digital – only time will tell. For those who find themselves confused by a tsunami of online information, or those who find themselves isolated and awash in the wake of COVID, we hope this professional careers guide will help.

Welcome Welcome to the MyFuture: Education & Careers Guide 2021/22 I am delighted to have been invited to introduce this edition of the MyFuture Education & Careers Guide. Diversity and inclusion are topics that are very close to my heart, being a woman from a diverse background who came through the comprehensive school system to pursue a professional career in law, in business and then in politics. Helen Grant MP

Helen Grant qualified as a Solicitor and founded her own successful legal practice in 1994. In 2010 she was elected as the Conservative Party’s first AngloAfrican female MP and has since served as Minister for Women and Equalities, Minister for Justice and Minister for Sport. She later became the Conservative Party’s Vice Chairman for Communities and the Chair of the Government’s Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network. Most recently she was appointed as the Prime Minister’s UK Trade Envoy to Nigeria.

Getting a good education was paramount. It offered me choice and opportunity and the same is true today if you put your mind to it. If you aim high and work hard, you can achieve whatever you wish.

“Apprenticeships, can provide life changing opportunities for young people to ‘earn whilst they learn’ and offer bespoke training with a direct path into a career.”

Many of you will be reading this with uncertainty about your career path, or unclear about how to pursue the next steps in a chosen direction. Included in this edition are a range of superb opportunities which can help and guide you. It also highlights some inspiring stories of young people who are making their way in their chosen career. I am particularly pleased about the focus on apprenticeships, which can provide life changing opportunities for young people to ‘earn whilst they learn’ and offer bespoke training with a direct path into a career. I hope that you will find the information helpful, that you will be inspired by some of the opportunities available and that it will help you believe in yourself, to achieve your own ambitions, no matter how lofty they may appear at this stage. I wish you the very best of luck in whatever path you choose to take, and never let anyone put you off trying to achieve your goals.

my future Very best wishes


About This Guide The aim of the guide is to provide young people from diverse backgrounds with relevant information and guidance to aim high and gain the confidence they need to think of themselves as the leaders of tomorrow.




The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is a not-for-profit organisation that works to create the best environment for business and economic growth, whose members include businesses of all sizes operating in the UK. Because the members it represents are business leaders and policymakers who are in a position to effect change, it is the most influential business organisation in the country. In October last year, working alongside major companies including Deloitte, Aviva and Microsoft, the CBI launched ‘Change the Race Ratio’ – a campaign to increase racial and ethnic participation in British businesses, especially in senior leadership and at board level. It is modelled on the 30 Per Cent Club campaign, which has successfully battled to get more women into boardrooms. The initiative is spearheaded by Lord Karan Bilimoria, CBE, DL, a crossbench peer, best known as the


founder of Cobra beer, and the first ethnic minority president of the CBI in its 55-year history. It has a stated target of at least one racially and ethnically diverse board member at every FTSE 100 company by the end of 2021 and at every FTSE 250 firm by 2024. Subscribers to the campaign commit themselves to transparent reporting on ethnic representation at senior levels – Board, ExCo and ExCo minus one – and to revealing their ethnic pay gap by 2022.

“No matter where you look – there’s so much hard, quantifiable evidence, showing that diverse businesses are more profitable, more innovative, and more competitive.”


Lord Bilimoria said he began work on his campaign long before the Black Lives Matter protests that swept the country last summer. “I came to the UK as a 19-year-old student from India in the 1980s and it is a very different country now,” he explained. “People warned me back then that, ‘You will never get to the top as a foreigner, there will be a glass ceiling’, and I’m afraid to say at that time, they were right. That was over three decades ago. Over these decades, I have seen – in front of my eyes – that glass ceiling being well and truly shattered. Today I am the first ethnic minority President of the CBI. This is all thanks to the amazing opportunities I have been given here in the UK. “Now it has totally changed. This country wouldn’t be the sixth largest economy in the world without the contribution of ethnic minorities.”

WHY NOW? Change the Race Ratio makes the economic case for how diversity and inclusion can help the UK’s economic recovery, arguing that no company can afford to let diversity and inclusion slip down the priority list in uncertain times. Firms with diverse boards outperform those that do not, Lord Bilimoria claimed, adding, “The business case is well proven. “No matter where you look – there’s so much hard, quantifiable evidence, showing that diverse businesses are more profitable, more innovative, and more competitive.”

A review by industrialist Sir John Parker into ethnic diversity in UK boards, commissioned by the government in 2016, found fewer than 7% of FTSE 350 directors are from BAME backgrounds. Separately, a report by Baroness McGregor-Smith, a former boss of outsourcing firm Mitie, found that dismantling barriers in the workplace could boost the economy. “A lack of ethnic diversity in business is costing the UK £24 billion a year in lost GDP,” said Lord Bilimoria. “Firms with the lowest gender and ethnic diversity in their executive teams are 27% less likely to be profitable. In the case of ethnic and cultural diversity, we know top-quartile companies outperform those in the bottom quartile by 36% in profitability. “And when employees feel included in the workplace their ability to innovate increases by 83%. “It’s about creating that environment, and that culture where everyone feels they can belong, and everyone feels they can reach their highest potential. “Diversity works. It’s not just the right thing to do – it’s good business. And in an environment so uncertain, so hard-hit by COVID and preparing for a new trading relationship with the EU, no business can afford to miss out.” The thinking behind this is that companies with diverse leadership teams are better able to understand and cater for the full range of their customers. It is also believed they are less likely to suffer mistakes made through ‘group think’ than those run solely by people from very similar backgrounds.


Research by McKinsey showed that firms with the lowest rates of both gender and ethnic diversity in their executive teams were 27% less likely to be profitable. 27% more chance of failure. “The time has come for a concerted campaign on racial and ethnic participation in business leadership. Progress has been painfully slow,” said Lord Bilimoria. “We want to do for racial and ethnic diversity what the 30% Club has done so successfully for gender equality. “A decade ago, the government review into women on boards – led by my colleague in the House of Lords, Lord Davies, set a target to increase female representation at the top of industry – to 25%. Ten years later, there’s only one FTSE 350 company that doesn’t have a woman on their board. “In fact today, 33% of FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 board members are women. And we need to keep building on this momentum to make sure that – one day soon – boards are truly representative.” Bilimoria added.

THE HUMAN COST Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI’s first female director general, has championed ethnic pay reporting. She stated, “Building workplaces that have the best of all of our talent, from all walks of life, has never been more important. For the UK to globally compete for people and skills, every business leader has a role to play in convincing the quiet sceptics of the importance of diversity and inclusion for UK recovery.” Ethnic pay reporting will be modelled on the gender gap rules. These require firms with more than 250 staff to calculate and publish the average salary and bonus figures for men and women. The gender statistics revealed that men are paid significantly more than women, although the reasons why must also be investigated in more detail. Evidence suggests BAME employees are paid substantially less well than their white British equivalents. A study by the Resolution Foundation think tank found they are missing out on £3.2 billion a year of pay compared with white colleagues. The foundation revealed the pay gap was as high as 17% for black male graduates. As Lord Bilimoria pointed out, “This isn’t just about money, there’s a real human cost, and legacy of pain here when people are discriminated against, because of who they are, what they look like, or where they come from. “Generations of lives lost. Hopes shattered. Opportunities denied.” “So when – eventually – the trials of this pandemic pass and they will let none of us forget its greatest lesson: that we are responsible for and beholden to, each other.” CBI Director-General Tony Danker stated, “For me, this is first and foremost a moral question. I have always believed that companies are superb institutions in helping people get in and on in life.


“But still too many people, because of their gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, background, or circumstance, find themselves unfairly held back. Their route barred, and talents ignored. I believe that no-one should have to experience that. “And I believe that business – among all institutions in society – should be best placed to solve this problem. We are fast, we work in teams, we help people fulfil their potential. “But it’s not just moral, it’s money!”, Danker added. “However, you cut the data, diverse and inclusive firms come out stronger and more agile. They have a better talent proposition and a better customer offer. Diverse companies capture all the prizes available.”

MEANINGFUL ACTION, CONCRETE CHANGE Tony Danker continued, “What a year for this agenda. First came shock; and then came shows of support. But they’re only worth a dime if we now move rapidly to meaningful action and concrete change. Change you can see. Change you can measure. And change that makes a material difference to people’s lives. To achieve that, we can’t just speak about one aspect of diversity and inclusion without also understanding the importance of all others, and how they intersect to make up someone’s experiences.” Commenting on the impact of COVID, Matthew Fell, the CBI’s Chief UK Policy Director, stated that the pandemic not only triggered a global health crisis, a global economic downturn but also a social awakening moment, with different levels of severity impacting different groups. “Without action, there is a danger that the economic downturn will stall or even reverse progress on diversity and inclusion. “Women and people from an ethnic minority background have been among the most affected by the pandemic and the economic fallout. Given they represent three-quarters of the part-time labour force, women were hit hard when part-time jobs fell 70% in the first eleven weeks of the pandemic, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies. Individuals from BAME communities are more likely to work in occupations with a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure, this includes the health and social care workforce. “There is also an economic impact – BAME workers are over a third more likely than white workers to be in temporary work or zero-hours contracts.” However, Matthew Fell went on to state that he was “incredibly proud, and humbled, by the huge momentum we’ve seen so far (with the Change the Race Ratio campaign). We have four asks we want every business listening to consider in their own companies. “The current crisis has also provided the opportunity to implement flexible working and mental health and wellbeing policies on a grand scale. The way in which employers engage with employees has changed. According to the Employment Trends Survey, more

than eight in ten firms (82%) have increased communication with their staff to keep in touch with employees while almost a third of firms (64%) increased flexible working arrangements to prioritise their staff’s work-life balance. Unsurprisingly, more than half of firms (54%) have increased their mental health and wellbeing assistance for employees throughout the pandemic. “It’s a unique opportunity for businesses to develop this in a way that boosts diversity and inclusion and sustains an environment in which people from all walks of life feel welcome, like they belong, and are productive,” Fell added. “Board representation, diverse senior leadership, transparency in disclosing pay gaps and building an inclusive culture. They are practical and entirely achievable. They could make your business more innovative, more profitable, more attractive to talent. And help make society fairer for everyone.

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“We’re still so far behind 37% of FTSE 100 companies and 69% of the FTSE 250 don’t have a single ethnic minority director on their board.” On the question of how firms should address any historic links with the slave trade, Lord Bilimoria said: “It is very important to be aware and open about your history but it is what you do today that matters.”

LIST OF SIGNATORIES Companies have been invited to support Change the Race Ratio and its four Commitments to Change. The CBI’s Lord Bilimoria challenged them to show “that businesses can lead, and make a difference, we can be a beacon of light in society. A real example to others. And a driver of national ambition and progress.” The list of founding partners and signatories so far covers all sectors of the UK economy, from smaller consultancies and recruitment companies to household brand names and multinational financial behemoths. This list is growing all the time, but at present includes such names as abrdn, Alexander Mann, Amino Technologies, Atos, Autotrader, Avanade, Aviva, Axa, Birchwood Knight, bp, British Water, Brunswick, Business in the Community, Cavendish Group, CBI, Centrica, City Mental Health Alliance,


SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS FOR JOB SEEKERS Social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives and for anyone searching for a new job or career path, it is essential to build an online profile. Investing time in social media can expand your business network and boost your future opportunities. 14

The number of digital platforms continues to grow to almost bewildering levels. But it is important to keep on top of your online profile and to remember that other people can easily find your profile. Here are a few pointers to help you make the best use of social media:

LinkedIn is widely considered to be the best and most effective business social media tool. It is used by companies and individuals alike and has grown from humble beginnings in 2003 to become the world’s largest professional network with more than 610 million users worldwide. Hundreds of companies use LinkedIn to seek potential new employees, either individually or through LinkedIn’s ‘Talent Solutions’ that helps to find people with the relevant skills for the company’s needs. So if you are looking to promote yourself and to find your next career move, or you want advice from other professionals to help you find what you are looking for, you need to be on LinkedIn. Sign up to LinkedIn If you haven’t already done so, you need to create your own LinkedIn account, which is free and simple to do. All you need is to register your first and last name, enter your email address and create a password to sign in with each time you visit the site. Take a selfie Your profile is visible to other LinkedIn users and to any recruiters who may come across your profile. What they will see initially is your name, your photo and a short statement or headline. Bear in mind that this is a business networking site, so you should select a photo of yourself, preferably a simple headshot that reflects how you want to present yourself for employers.

As with all job interviews, first impressions matter, so you want to look professional and dress appropriately. Avoid having clutter background – ideally you should simply have a solid light-coloured background – and smile; this will help you come across as friendly and accessible to others who may want to connect with you and to check out your full profile. Create your profile In creating your profile, you should include the same information as used in your CV, i.e. your past and present employment, education, any volunteer experience, and your skills. Don’t just copy and paste your CV onto the website but think about detailing your skills and experience as concisely as you can. The more sections completed in your profile adds to your profile strength, increasing the chances of being noticed by managers and recruiters. Write a headline You need to decide on a short statement that will appear under your name. Rather than write a full sentence, think of this as your brand message as you seek to create an online brand for yourself. Just use a few key words and capitalise your heading like a newspaper headline so that it stands out more. Keep information up to date

wish to move in, or to emphasis different skill-sets or experience. As you start to build your online brand profile, it is a good idea to have consistency across your professional and social networking sites. Create connections Connecting with industry professionals will help to illustrate your experience and desire. Make connections with people who work in the same industry and with personal academic contacts. It is a good idea to include a message as to why you want to connect with them. Take time to gather recommendations from people you have worked with as this will help employers to understand your achievements from previous roles. In return, give appropriate recommendations when asked. Recommendations are like references in advance for potential employers, so don’t ask for recommendations for skills from people you don’t know. Join relevant groups This will allow you to expand your networks and to follow topical discussions online. This may even extend to invitations to professional networking events such as local business groups or job fairs which may be beneficial to attend if you are looking for employment.

It is important to make sure your profile is current and regularly updated. If you are looking to change jobs, you may want to amend your headline to reflect the direction you


FACEBOOK Facebook is used by most people for keeping in contact with friends and family and for sharing photos, memories and funny stories. But it is also used by many companies for promoting their brands and posting job opportunities. Facebook has many more features than LinkedIn enabling you to create event pages, fundraisers and tools for other countless applications, but you have to be diligent about how you use Facebook, especially if you want to use it for both social and professional networking. Keep your private life private Make sure you check all your privacy settings on Facebook and especially for tagged photos. Many recruiters also look at Facebook profiles to see if a person would fit in with the culture of their organisation. So if you are using Facebook as a professional networking tool, you should ensure that those drunken beach party photos are not publicly accessible to potential employers! Be selective of the companies you ‘like’ If you are looking for employment on Facebook, try to avoid a scattergun approach to selecting which companies to follow, and make sure there is an element of similarity in the type of companies you ‘like’. If you are looking to join a particular company or have a job interview coming up, having a look at the company’s Facebook page (as well as their own website) can help you with your background research. Follow leading recruitment agencies If you are looking for a job, make sure you follow the leading recruitment agencies within the sector(s) you want to work in, as they can help you find your ideal job. Join groups that reflect your interests As with LinkedIn, this will show that you are genuinely keen about your chosen profession. Be selective in what you post Facebook can be used tactically to promote your own professional ‘brand’ (i.e. your business self) by posting or sharing informative articles and videos. If you are aiming to start your own business in the future, creating a page or group for your business can help to separate your personal and professional life and build business relationships. To do this properly takes time and diligence, but it can be rewarding to do it.

YOUTUBE If you are looking for a career in the Arts, or you want an accessible platform for showcasing your creative ideas, designs and communication skills, then loading video samples of your work onto YouTube can be an excellent way to get noticed by potential employers. You should link your YouTube videos to your other social media sites and in any communication with recruiters.


TWITTER Twitter is another great way to search for vacancies. For example, using search hashtags like #jobpostings, #employment or #careers can let employers know that you are looking for opportunities. Twitter can also be an excellent networking tool, in that it allows users to post items (‘tweets’) of interest on current affairs relating to their areas of work. If you want to work in a particular sector, follow the companies you are interested in and try responding to and retweeting their tweets. However, Twitter on its own will rarely get you noticed by potential employers; it needs to be linked ideally to a blog or your LinkedIn profile. Rather than retweet a plethora of news articles, better to have one or two a week with links to an insightful piece on your blog.

SNAPCHAT With over 203 million people using Snapchat globally, it is now one of the biggest social media platforms where you can reach out to people, keep up with what is going on in the world and live in the moment together. If you are looking to find a job, you can find potential employers on the Discover section. You can create a snap story of your portfolio and follow the company’s media feeds on Snapchat to keep yourself up-to-date. Snapchat is now taking the lead in promoting individuals, especially for businesses. Similarly to YouTube, if you are looking for a career in the Arts, it is the platform where you can promote yourself. You can create a campaign for marketing in Snapchat’s ‘Ads Manager’ and that can be arranged according to your budget. You also have the option to keep your stories private and for your friends only, but if you are looking to promote yourself you can make your story public and have all the right people look at your snaps, be it promoting a product, an event or having your own Snapchat channel.

INSTAGRAM The popularity of Instagram has been growing rapidly over the past six years and is used primarily as a photo and video-sharing service amongst friends. However, with due care and attention, Instagram could also be used to demonstrate your social media skills and promote your own digital brand. If you are already using an Instagram account for sharing selfies and party photos, you should definitely consider creating a separate account if you want to use Instagram

OF COURSE, THERE ARE MANY OTHER WAYS OF SEARCHING FOR JOB OPPORTUNITIES ONLINE. You should regularly check or register with recruitment sites such as Indeed, Gumtree, Monster, Reed and Jobsite. In addition, you should check newspaper websites such as Guardian and Telegraph as well as checking your local newspaper for locally advertised vacancies and job fairs.

as part of your job search or personal brand building. If you do decide to create a business account, then the three things you need to consider before posting on Instagram can be summed up in the acronym APP: 1 . A - is it Appropriate? 2. P - is it Professional? 3. P - should it be Public or Private?

But remember that around 90 % of employers will look up a candidate’s social media profile as a routine part of their hiring process. So if you are currently searching for a new job, take time to Google your own name to see what company HR executives may find, then decide whether you need to rethink your privacy settings or start to create an online brand.


How diversity and inclusion can help you succeed…

What’s a Public Appointment?

Diversity UK is a charity, founded in 2012, which focuses on informing and educating the public about equality and inclusion initiatives, particularly in relation to race diversity. We do this by publishing articles on our website, via newsletters and on social media. We also undertake other initiatives on race equality including:

» Entering into the debate with parliamentarians and other diversity organisations.

» Engaging with workplace equality networks.

» Organising an event on

International Women’s Day (IWD) or speaking at other IWD events which takes place on 8th March annually.

» Ensuring Diversity UK is known

to community organisations and networks so that we can mutually support each other.


Diversity UK also holds public bodies to account about the appointment of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) individuals to senior positions in the public sector. A public appointment is generally a ministerial appointment to the board of a public body or advisory committee. Public bodies across the UK deliver important and essential public services. This includes large public bodies overseen by boards of directors and small, advisory committees made up of lay members, experts and specialists. Examples of Public Bodies include NHS Trusts, the Food Standards Authority and organisations like the Arts Council. Overall there are in the order of 6,000 public appointees (as of 31st March 2018). As part of our work on public appointments, Diversity UK has undertaken research on the appointments process; participated in consultations, convened roundtable discussions, facilitated debates, hosted networking events and showcased good practice.

What does this mean for me? All this may seem a very long way away from getting your first job,

but, by ensuring equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) is at the forefront of the minds of the biggest bosses in the UK, we hope good practice filters down throughout the organisations they represent. This is constructive activism in keeping issues like the gender pay gap, ethnic pay gap, racism, bullying and harassment, microaggressions, career progression, and fair treatment at the forefront. We all want to live a fair and equal society and this is our way of ensuring that this actually happens.

You can be what you can’t see! Research has shown that diverse organisations are more profitable, take fewer risks and are more representative of the audiences they serve so there really is no better time to aim high. You can be what you can’t see! On the next couple of pages we ask how Trustee of Diversity UK, Francesca Jus-Burke, and Advisory Board Member Shivani Sharma got started in their careers. You can find out more about us at

verbal reasoning test and carry out two written exercises followed by an interview with a partner and a member of HR.

Francesca Jus-Burke Associate at Ince What is your current role? I am an associate (junior lawyer) in the corporate/commercial team at Ince, which means I advise businesses on matters such as buying or investing into a company, agreements for the provision of products/services, carrying out filings at Companies House (the register of companies in England and Wales), etc. I went to Loughborough University and studied European and International Studies. I started contemplating a career in the law in my mid twenties after I found out that a friend with whom I went to university completed the graduate diploma in law (an accelerated law course for those who didn’t study law at university). I joined Ince in 2016 and qualified in 2018.

How did you get your job? My career history between university and joining a law firm was focused on trying to get to the Olympics (which I didn’t manage) and then earning enough money to pay my way through post-graduate study. What I did get was lots of valuable work experience in private practice (law firms) and in-house (legal departments within companies), which helped me determine what type of law firm I wanted to work for. I found out about Ince when researching the types of international law firms that practiced shipping/commodities/insurance law. Some people apply to firms via their vacation schemes, which are paid one/two week placements. I did one elsewhere and applied directly for a training contract at Ince. I had to complete an online

What would you have done differently if you were being interviewed for it now?

partners in the firm) are busy people who don’t have the time to read long-winded emails. I developed oral communication skills through presenting and I developed written communication skills over time through school, university and my various jobs.

Nothing. I think I had the right level of extracurricular activities and work experience to stand out from the crowd. I was also passionate about why I wanted to join Ince (having done my research) and having had a few unsuccessful interviews beforehand I had polished my interview/assessment techniques so I was confident I could get the job.

Team-working: Depending on the department you are in you are often required to work closely with more senior and junior members of your team, which means you have to be good at working with other people (i.e. taking responsibility where necessary and supporting others). I developed this skill mainly through team sports at school and university.

What’s the best question you’ve been asked at an interview and how did you respond?

Self-motivation/drive: As a junior lawyer you are given work by lots of other people, which you need to complete within set deadlines. That said, as everybody is busy with their own work, you are also relatively autonomous, which means you need to be able to deliver work without being chased.

One that stands out is being asked whether I held any prejudices. I answered that given my experience in the charity and D&I spheres I appreciate that everyone has their own backstory, so did not think I had any. I was asked a few questions challenging that answer but stuck to my guns!

What sort of questions should applicants ask employers? I think three good questions are: • Why did you join the company and what has kept you here? • What is the working culture like? • Do you have any concerns that I might not be suitable for the role on the basis of my answers?

Time-management/prioritisation: Linked to the above, work gets thrown at you left, right and centre, all of which is seemingly urgent. So you need to be able to prioritise the work you are given and manage your workload so you can deliver to people’s deadlines but also maintain your quality of work.

What skills do you need to do your job and how did you develop them? Communication: I spend a lot of my time writing emails, drafting documents and talking to colleagues or clients. You have to be good at communicating your point succinctly, whether in writing or orally. Our clients (and


Programme in my final year of university, and was invited to interview for the Quantitative Research team given the nature of my university course. Having completed the summer internship, I received an offer to join the firm full-time as an Analyst.

Shivani Sharma Quantitative Research Analyst J.P. Morgan Asset Management What is your current role? I am a Quantitative Research Analyst at J.P. Morgan Asset Management in London. My team sits within the ‘Equities’ division, meaning that I work with fund managers who are responsible for investing clients’ money in the stocks and shares of a wide range of companies. My role involves enhancing the process of choosing which companies to include and how to construct these funds using mathematical and statistical methods, and programming languages such as Python. Before joining J.P. Morgan, I completed a BSc in Mathematics and Economics at the London School of Economics.

How did you get your job? I applied for the Asset Management Products Summer Analyst


What would you have done differently if you were being interviewed for it now? I remember being overwhelmed before my interviews because I didn’t know anything about being in Quantitative Research; I assumed that it wasn’t for me and that I didn’t have the right skill set, and this mindset made my preparation agonising rather than exciting. A few pieces of advice regarding interviews would be to try to get excited for the process, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and have faith that the firm you are interviewing for wants you to do well rather than catch you out or interrogate you. Any firm that has the opposite attitude may not be a firm you want to work for.

What’s the best question you’ve been asked at an interview and how did you respond? How many fridges are there in India? These ‘market sizing’ questions involve combining general

knowledge, commercial awareness and logical reasoning, and are surprisingly common in finance interviews. I think that I started with the population of India, and got to my answer by making assumptions about the number of individuals per household, the proportion of households that may own a fridge and the number of fridges per household. One question I was interested in before starting my career is: “In your opinion, is this industry/ division a good place to start a career, and why?”. Just because a few people chose to start their careers in one space 30 years ago doesn’t necessarily mean it is the place to start a career today, based on market conditions. This is always going to be a relevant question, and asking interviewers for their opinion tends to go down well.

What skills do you need to do your job and how did you develop them? The key skills involved in my role are reasonable mathematical ability and strong logic reasoning. Regardless of your coding ability (to reiterate, I had never done any coding before starting), you will always be able to learn as long as you can apply logic. Being comfortable with numbers is also essential in finding your role interesting and enjoyable.

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PREPARING FOR A BIG JOB INTERVIEW Congratulations! – you have been selected to attend an interview for your dream job. Now you need to make sure you are fully prepared. These tips will help you shine and hopefully secure the job! Now we have got to bear in mind that although most job roles require just a single interview to land the job, there are instances where you have to go through different stages of interview before you successfully complete the process. BEFORE THE DAY Research the company Knowing a few things about the company before the interview will give you a good head start. Check out the company’s website and do a Google search to see what others are saying about them.


Make sure you know exactly where the interview is to take place and how to get there. Re-read the job description Look for specific skills that the employer is looking for and think about examples from your past and current work/experience that align with these requirements. Be prepared for questions such as “Tell me about yourself” and “why you are interested in this role” and practise how you would answer these. Practise It’s a good idea to practise your answers out loud to yourself or with a friend to gain confidence in saying the words. Remember that when giving examples of things you have done in the past, try to be concise with a clear Situation, Task, Action and Result.

ON THE DAY Appearance First impressions count! Most businesses expect smart dress code, but even if the working environment is more relaxed about its attire, it’s a good idea to look smart, clean and professional for the interview. This includes having clean shoes – and positively NO TRAINERS!

Be early If you are travelling by public transport, make sure you allow plenty of time and have a back-up plan if there are any unexpected delays. Aim to arrive at the interview 10-15 minutes early. Arriving early in many companies allows you to sit in a reception area, to compose yourself and to observe some of the dynamics of the workplace. What to bring Make sure you bring several copies of your CV to the interview and a copy of your covering letter. There may be someone else in the interview who hasn’t seen your CV yet or who wishes to discuss part of your CV in the interview. Bring a notebook and pen. It is always good to make notes during the interview as these will help you in any followup and demonstrates that you are paying attention.

DURING THE INTERVIEW Switch your mobile phone off! Stay focused The senior person in the interview will greet you with a handshake. Be firm and decisive with your handshake without crushing any fingers, look the person in the eye and SMILE!

Sit up straight during the interview, try to maintain eye contact and especially when you are talking. Smile frequently as this will convey that you are relaxed and have a friendly disposition. In answering questions, take a little time to consider your answer, keep your replies brief and focused. Remember that the time for each interview is limited, so try to stick to the question being asked without rambling. Ask something Remember that an interview should be a two-way process. Having nothing to ask the interviewer conveys disinterest, so aim to have one or two questions ready to be able to ask the interviewer about the company or the job, such as how performance within the role would be measured, or how does the role collaborate with other departments.

If you haven’t heard back from the company after a period of time, you may want to send another email to check in with the employer and to reaffirm your continued interest. Keeping in touch with the company shows initiative and can sometimes put you in the frame should another role become available.

VIDEO INTERVIEW Some corporations might request for a video interview first and foremost, especially for graduate scheme applications. Now what do you have to do to prepare for this: Note: The video interview can last up to 30 minutes depending on what the employer requires. This can be pre-recorded or even live. It is important to know whether this will be a live interview or prerecorded, as you will have to prepare accordingly and it will be very different from each other.

End positively


You should ask for a business card of individuals at the interview, or at least make a written note of their email address, and leave the interview in a positive manner, such as “I look forward to hearing from you.”

If it is live, this will be similar to a face-to-face interview. You can use the tips provided above (‘Preparing for your interview’) to prepare for the day. Now this will be conducted through a video connection such as Skype or Google hangout or they might even use Messenger or WhatsApp.

AFTER THE INTERVIEW Send a follow-up email You should send an email to the interviewer within 24 hours, thanking them for their time and reconfirming your enthusiasm for the job.

Treat this interview exactly as you would if you went to an interview at the employers’ office. Therefore do all the necessary research, be confident and look sharp!

PRE-RECORDED This experience will be completely different from a real life interview and the good thing is you can do a retake! You might be given written questions or even pre-recorded questions from the interviewers. You will have the opportunity to respond by recording your answers within a limited amount of time; that could be 20 or 30 minutes. You might feel a little awkward at first but you will get used to it through practice. Best part is you can do the interview when you want (within a specified deadline) and where you want as long as it is a clear space with no ambient background noise. Similarly to a normal interview, you should finish in a mannerly way and on a positive note. Thank them for their time and say that you look forward to hearing from them. Don’t forget to email them within the next 24 hours as a courtesy. There are occasions where you will have a brief telephone interview; don’t be nervous, be confident and you should get to the next round with flying colours. For a group interview, it is always a little more tricky as your competitors are right in front of you. You have to make sure you stand out positively and make an impression that will last. The more you know about the company, what they do and the job role, the more chances you will have of standing out.



At Voyage we have a Youth Advisory Board. This collective symbolises the highest form of Youth Engagement in our Charity. They have achieved some amazing things as a group, despite the circumstances of COVID-19. They challenge the status-quo, something we need more of in the BAME community. To find out more about what we do visit us at GEFFRYE MUSEUM My name is Peace Ogbuani and I am part of the Voyage Youth Advisory Board (YAB), which represents the highest form of youth engagement within the Charity. This has given me the chance to become an active young leader within my community. One of the many benefits about being a part of the Youth Advisory Board is that we strive to influence change. Within our own community, we noticed the local Museum (Geffrye Museum), had a statue of a slave master hanging, in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement.


We wrote a deeply emotive letter imploring the Museum to remove the offensive statue of Robert Geffrye. The letter was received and members of the community have felt truly uplifted by the notion of the youth, our future leaders, making a stand in solidarity against institutionalised racism being further normalised. It was an experience that encouraged me to look into issues occurring in my community and how I can make a change, and it has not only developed my qualitative skills, but it has also pushed me to further engage in the cultural history of my ethnic background. The institution

has now rebranded as The Museum of the Home.

CHILDREN’S COMMISSIONER My name is Rhoda, and I’m also a member of the YAB. One of the many highlights of being a part of the Board, is being able to consult people of power. Recently, we composed a presentation to deliver to the Children’s Commissioner and her colleagues. This was to voice our opinions on the current problems people from BAME backgrounds face in the education system and society as whole.

We highlighted two examples. Young person ‘A’ was representative of people who come from broken homes without role models to support them in education or their careers. Young person example ‘B’, which I presented, was top of the class, had academic ability and knew what the future held for them. However, due to the lack of opportunities or support from comprehensive state schools, they were not able to fulfil their potential unlike their white counterparts. I stated in the presentation that “due to the lack of opportunities not presented to the BAME youth they are not inspired to break the glass ceiling.” Being a part of the Voyage Youth Advisory Board has made me understand the importance of being a voice for young people, and that we can bring about positive change. This opportunity allowed me to gain confidence and I am now able to articulate my opinion in a more sophisticated manner, especially on subjects that I am passionate about, and for that I am truly grateful.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH I’m Rachael, and I am a member of the YAB. Black History Month is an important time for the community to reflect on the past and allow it to empower their present and future. Voyage played a crucial role with their Black History programme. This revolved around creative arts and I met various professionals who educated me about black people’s prevalence in the art industry. They gave me the opportunity to create films, be involved with a photoshoot – directing, modelling and taking photos. This was an amazing experience as I learned how to operate a professional camera, create sets and different elements involved with filmography. While

learning how to be a professional photographer it was inspiring to learn about Black people’s history and how they shaped the art industry as it is today. The team we worked with gifted me my own professional camera and that has allowed me to independently develop my skills. My name is Malik, and I am also a member of the YAB. Black history is absent from the current school curriculum in the UK, and not enough is done to highlight and celebrate black excellence in the month of October. Being a part of the Youth Advisory Board gives me the opportunity to engage in these activities, so that I can learn more about my own culture. Here at Voyage, we decided to hold a special programme centred around art and creativity to celebrate the month. I was part of a group that planned and filmed a documentary about how young BAME people benefitted from a creative Black History Month programme, with the help of film producer Seyi Rhodes. We began by learning how to use the camera and its various settings. We then filmed different shots from different angles before combining them together and documenting the final day of the programme. The programme has helped me develop a keen eye for detail and has also taught me some useful camera and editing skills.

HOGAN LOVELLS’ KNIFE CRIME INFORMATION PACK My name is Reuben, and I am also a member of the YAB. On the path of becoming young leaders in our community, we the YAB are working painstakingly to meet with various organisations to offer our advice towards ensuring a safer society. For example, we had a roundtable discussion with Hogan Lovells to

create a Knife Crime Pack, aimed at reducing the levels of knife crime occurring in our everyday lives. Office for National Statistics figures show that “In the year ending March 2020, there were around 46,000 offences involving a knife or sharp instruments in England and Wales,” and there were “4,757 finished consultant episodes (FCEs) recorded in English hospitals in 2019/20 due to assault by a sharp object.” This is the reason why the YAB are pushing to reduce knife crime and simultaneously reduce hospital admissions. Even though there have been slight improvements, our society has been engulfed with fear of stepping out of their own homes because of the risk of becoming a victim of knife crime – which hugely affects the BAME minority in suburban areas, as a result of postcode wars. As a BAME young leader myself, I cannot let my society fall, as enough cries for liberation of terror have been expressed. We need to cause a watershed of events from fighting to peace. The YAB and Hogan Lovells aim to create a information pack to reveal the risks, dangers and consequences of choosing to carry a knife and engaging in knife crime. This will help create positive values within friendship groups and will encourage the resolve to challenge negative influences within peer groups, by continuing to refresh and promote these materials to ensure that they don’t wither on the vine. By participating in the creation of this knife crime pack, I have been able to analyse different ways or promoting it, to make a positive difference in our society. As a result, I have gathered many skills such as patience, societal awareness, teamwork and communication.


HOW TO KILL IT IN A VIDEO INTERVIEW Our advice for a first-rate online job interview in the time of COVID-19

With COVID-19 more and more companies are having or choosing to brace the digital age in terms of recruitment. Top employers are now using video and telephone interviews as part of their application process, helping them to reach more early talents as they look for a future set of superstars. And, with these new forms of assessment, comes a whole new skill set to perfect. Explore the articles and features and find out how to shine, even when the interviewer behind the screen can’t see you and discover what it takes to nail a video interview. If you only take away one thing – act natural!

Firstly let’s understand, what is a video interview? Most online interviews follow the same format as a traditional face to face interview but are held over Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or a similar application.


These are known as live video interviews. Sometimes, you might be asked to upload a video of yourself answering interview questions, or answer a defined set of questions in a limited period of time. You can usually re-record these if you’re not happy with the result. You can think of that as the equivalent of doing a paper exam. Right now, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about – if it’s just an ordinary interview done over Skype, surely you should answer the questions to the best of your ability like you normally would. And it’s true, you should. But, as with any other interview, there’s a lot more to it than just answering the questions. We all know that appearance and demeanour are vital to success. In video interviews, this goes even further. As well as dressing and acting the part, you need to present yourself well on the computer screen. It’s the role of a film technician – finding the perfect picture, sound and angles to show yourself off to the best effect.

Why do companies choose to do video interviews? 2020 saw a real upsurge in the use of video to replace written applications for big recruiters. Soon the days of hammering out 500 words on your teamwork experience will be but a distant memory. The coronavirus pandemic has seen companies opt for video as opposed to face-to-face interviews to adhere to social distancing rules. It is likely that online will continue to be a more convenient way to host interviews, even as workplaces return to normal. Graduate recruiters may want you to deliver a resume to your webcam, answer a set of questions, or go through a complete interview by video. It might sound daunting but think of it as a great leap past the faceless lottery of the CV and straight to an interview with the people you’ll be working for. Body language accounts for 70% of communication so now you have the most powerful communication tool at your disposal to persuade someone to employ you.

How do you make a lasting positive impression from your video interview? 


Just as your CV should only be a page long, your video should also be short and to the point. While you can employ such mind tricks as recording it whilst needing a comfort break (as a certain MP used to do, it would make him more forthright and assertive!) or standing up (as Queen Victoria preferred, pontificating is dramatically reduced when MPs are forced to stand), you must remember the point of the video. The ability to collate information and communicate it efficiently is an essential graduate skill and will be one of the things a graduate employer will be looking for.


You never really know how you come across on-screen until you record yourself talking and watch the results. Yes, it can be painful, (“please tell me I don’t sound like that!”), but it gives you a chance to practise and correct any unfortunate habits. If there are questions you know to expect, practice them specifically. Deliver your answer directly to the camera, watch the result, and adjust as necessary for next time. Dress for a video interview just as you would for a regular interview. There is always the option for you to wear tracksuit bottoms under the desk if you like, but everything visible should be office-appropriate.

If it’s a resume type video, mention your name clearly at the beginning and the end. You’re trying to make the reviewer remember you and encouraging them to learn your name is a great way to stand out. You might also be able to introduce and use props sensibly, such as hold up cards with your university, degree and grades to reinforce what you’re saying.


Even Sir David Attenborough needed practice before perfecting his presentation style. Common mistakes include speaking too fast or too quietly or not looking at the camera. We naturally talk quickly when nervous which can pose the risk of the interviewers not understanding you. Copy the style of YouTubers – if they have millions of views you know they’re doing something right. The handy advantage of a video interview over face-to-face is that you can have notes off-camera to help you. You could put up a large board behind the camera with SPEAK SLOWLY written on it, as well as examples of times you’ve led a team, communicated effectively, performed a marketing task or whatever else the company might ask of you. Remember not to stare at your notes the whole time though, as an interviewer will quickly catch on to what you’re doing.


You’ll need to look directly into your webcam. When live, you’ll have to look at your interviewer’s face on the screen so you can respond to them properly. For the best of both worlds, resize the window and move it as close to your webcam as possible. For pre-recorded questions, you can look directly into the camera – but experiment first to see how well this comes across, so you don’t end up giving a creepy stare. To avoid looking wooden, you might set up a picture of a person just behind the webcam and talk to that instead.

If you can edit your video, look at any videos the company may have created and mimic their style. While this sounds like a lot of work, remember that you’re learning a very valuable skill. Videoconferencing will only increase in popularity. Ten years from now, you might make a critical presentation to your CEO via webcam – and you’ll be very glad you know how to set up the lighting.


“Sorry, I can’t get the webcam working!” – not a phrase an interviewer wants to hear. Test your equipment in advance to avoid the kind of embarrassment that could throw you off balance. If possible, do a trial run. If it’s a Skype interview, set up a call with a friend. This is less easy to do if the call comes via the company’s web conferencing software – you’ll just have to make sure your camera and mic work in other applications and keep your fingers crossed. A decent internet connection is also vital. Organise a backup location at a friend’s place in case your broadband has a bad day.


For your video interview, you should dress professionally – the same way you would for an inperson interview. Do you home and research the company culture before your interview so you have a good idea of what’s appropriate. To look your best on camera, avoid bright colours and patterns and opt for softer hues instead. If you are wearing a tie, wear a solid colour rather than a patterned one. If you wear glasses, adjust the lighting in the room to reduce glare from the lenses. Position the camera so that you are looking up slightly and centred on the screen. While it’s likely that the interviewer will only see your upper half, it’s still a good idea to wear professional pants or a skirt in case you need to stand up for any reason.

Finally, look happy and let your personality shine through. Use that body language to reinforce your message. The very act of smiling will relax you, show you have a personality and demonstrate you have confidence. Then you can sit upright and look professional when the conversation turns to serious matters, in the same way a newsreader will welcome you, only to change tone when appropriate.


Apprenticeships Apprenticeships offer a great way to acquire knowledge, and the vocational skills and experience needed to enter many careers. They enable you to earn while you learn without incurring student debts, as your training costs are funded by your employer and by the government. There are many different apprenticeship schemes available across a wide spectrum of industries and professions, ranging from engineering and construction to accounting and nursing. Once accepted, you will be spending at least 50% of your time at work learning from work colleagues and gaining the necessary skills to help you progress, whilst also spending time attending college, university or other training provider as well as online studying. In England and Wales, there are four levels of apprenticeships available, ranging from one year to five or six years to complete, with many employers offering the chance to progress through the levels.


Apprenticeships will not be the right path for everybody to take as you’ll need to be committed in balancing your academic study with your work commitments. But if you have a clear idea of the career you wish to pursue, then an apprenticeship can provide you with practical on the job training and substantially boost your longer-term career prospects and earnings. Apprenticeships are being developed and approved all the time, so you can choose the right training for you, you can think about the level and duration of the training and discuss your expectations with the training provider. Don’t accept an apprenticeship because it’s the only one available at the time.


HOW WE’RE CREATING A WORKPLACE WHERE EVERYONE’S WELCOME AT COCA-COLA EUROPACIFIC PARTNERS Julie Thomas, Director, Inclusion and Diversity at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP)

by fully representative groups from all levels of the company across Europe, they identify meaningful actions that reflect the experiences of our people to drive positive change across our business.

2. EMBED AN INCLUSIVE CULTURE The pandemic has impacted the way we live and work and at CocaCola Europacific Partners (CCEP), we recognise this is an opportunity to assess how we’re faring as a business from an inclusion and diversity perspective, but also to identify how we can push ourselves further. We want to create a workplace where everyone’s welcome to be themselves, feels valued and that they belong. We believe that a diverse workforce is what creates truly great work. Inclusion is about how we welcome and create a culture where everyone, whatever their background or experience, feels accepted and valued and can contribute to the success of the business. Diversity, on the other hand, is the mix of all the great things that make each of us unique, be it age, heritage, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability – the list goes on. People feel they belong more when we all value these differences. To accelerate our Everyone’s Welcome philosophy, we are guided by four focus areas at CCEP:

1. PROMOTE ACCOUNTABILITY Having a key sponsor is crucial to getting initiatives off the ground. An Executive Leadership Team member is a lead sponsor for each one of our diversity dimensions (Culture & Heritage, Disability, Gender, LGBT+ and Multi-Generations), who is committed to removing barriers to inclusion and diversity. Supported


Collating feedback across all levels of the businesses is important in addressing issues and concerns across the spectrum. Our ‘In Your Shoes’ listening sessions are open to all, amplifying the voices of underrepresented groups in particular. Run by our I&D lead sponsors, the regular sessions seek to encourage participants to share their experiences in a safe environment, so that actions taken resonate and make a difference for everyone. The programme also encourages everyone to share their personal stories and reflections, promote conversations and create confidence in a long and thriving career at CCEP, safe in the knowledge that the business values the strength that the uniqueness its people bring.

3. ESTABLISH DIVERSE LEADERSHIP AND PIPELINES Diverse teams lead to more successful business outcomes. There’s a wealth of external research that demonstrates a clear link between diverse teams, improved wellbeing and greater performance. We also know that it’s important for people to ‘see’ themselves at every level of the company. We set an initial target to have 40% women in senior management and above roles by 2025 and we continue to improve on that target, at almost 36% currently, and we are exploring metrics for our other diversity dimensions. We want to promote the free flow of talent and to do that we have

introduced ‘Inclusion Nudges’. These are simple interventions that encourage managers to consider the bias that can playout during key career moments like talent discussions, interviews and performance reviews, and nudge them towards a more inclusive mindset. We believe changing these habits will have a profound impact.

4. BE DRIVERS FOR CHANGE Creating open channels of communication is important to reach as many people as possible. Across CCEP, everyone knows they are responsible for upholding our inclusion and diversity philosophy. Our colleagues are empowered to educate, celebrate and inspire each other through the company-wide Redline channel, where real people share real news and experiences. We have created Allyship Guides to support conversations on topics from race and ethnicity, to disability, as we know that collaboration and connection are core to a thriving and inclusive workplace. Our Board and leadership team recognise that real inclusion means embracing and valuing everyone. This requires continued commitment and change across CCEP and this can be achieved by engaging all corners of the business. We can only be changemakers by taking every voice into account. ****************************************** We spoke to three of CCEP’s current and former apprentices to hear about their experience of working at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners. They have undertaken just some of the wide range of apprenticeships CCEP offers, bringing them a diverse range of opportunities within the company.




“I joined the CCEP team in 2019. I really liked the idea of working whilst also gaining a qualification, as this would give me the best of both worlds. Having the opportunity to do six-month rotations in different departments also caught my attention.

“Since joining CCEP in 2014, I have stretched my skills and knowledge so much further than I anticipated. I graduated from my first apprenticeship with CCEP in 2018 and have now started studying for a degree apprenticeship in Engineering Manufacturing Design. Because of my first apprenticeship with CCEP I was able to be fast tracked into the second year of the degree, which for me is a big achievement.

“I completed my apprenticeship in Sales and Management with CCEP in 2018, and I’m now working for them as an outside sales rep. My job allows me to be based all around the UK and I love meeting all the suppliers and putting my pitching skills to the test.

“My first rotation within my apprenticeship was in planning where I was given the responsibility to order materials. My role in supply chain is a critical part of the business and each of the roles I learn in my apprenticeship are key to production. Since returning to site, I have started my second rotation in the QESH department (Quality, Environment, Safety and Health) – I analyse and extract data from different reports, creating quality checks for manufacturing lines. “My apprenticeship has boosted my confidence due to talking and liaising with many different people across the organisation. Presenting to local MP James Brokenshire and CCEP Vice President & General Manager of GB at the opening of our new production line was a huge achievement. “I’m passionate about advocating apprenticeships and opportunities for BAME Women in Supply Chain. I’m the first in my family to do an apprenticeship and I’m keen to demonstrate that going to university is not the only option. I want to break down stereotypes, which is why I’m getting involved in many different work opportunities – and I’m only in my first year! For example, I’ve set up a skills matrix to analyse skills gaps in the production team and have had the opportunity to be a Just Be Ambassador, promoting inclusion and diversity.”

“In year one of my first apprenticeship I got to learn both in the classroom about the basic fundamentals of engineering, and hands-on with tools and electrical circuits. In my second and third years, I worked four days a week in the East Kilbride factory in Scotland and attended college one day a week to continue learning. I was given a buddy who worked in a different area, meaning I learnt more about the business, as well as learning alternative techniques I could apply to my job. “In fourth year, I was trusted with more responsibilities, allowing me to test everything I had learnt over the past three years. By the time I finished the apprenticeship I was able to work independently as an engineer on the lines. “When the Capri-Sun lines were installed in the East Kilbride factory I was offered a full-time role. I have loved seeing the sustainable changes that have been made, including the introduction of paper straws to remove plastic waste. It is a really rewarding job to have around my studies.”

“When CCEP came to my school to talk about the apprenticeships they offered, I was really interested in working straight away and gaining a well-recognised qualification at the same time. “I was really excited about the responsibility I would be given as this was my first job, and I was intrigued about the opportunities it could offer me in the future. The apprenticeship enabled me to utilise skills I hadn’t explored before and really boosted my confidence. I was pushed outside of my comfort zone, working with people who were much older than me, and I was given responsibility to work on big accounts that are crucial for the business’s success. Once I had mastered the skills required for the job, I was able to put my own flair to it and get creative with my selling skills. “The skills I learnt during my apprenticeship have been invaluable for my job now; I had to problem solve under pressure, communicate with a wide range of people and use my time effectively. I am hoping in the future I can turn my hand to a different area of the business – I’m confident the skills I have learnt in the last three years will take me far in the future.” Visit our Early Careers site for more information



Meet Davana. She sta ed with us as a Customer Service apprentice but is now enjoying life as a Sales Representative. Everyday is different and can be a real challenge, but she’s loving it. If you’d like to be pa of the CCEP story, just visit our Early Careers site to find out more.

Davana Tomkinson-Salmon, Sales Representative, Coca-Cola European Pa ners. © 2020 The Coca-Cola Company. Coca-Cola, The Coca-Cola Contour Bo le symbol, Lippinco Ribbon and Choose Happiness are registered trade marks of the Coca-Cola Company. All rights reserved.

Action needed to attract BAME candidates onto training programmes Co-authored by Sharon Blyfield, HR Business Partner at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Limited and AELP Board Member and Jane Hickie, Managing Director, Association of Employment and Learning Providers Just before Christmas 2020, the government published official statistics for the apprenticeships programme in England and it was another set of data showing the terrible impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the take-up of the programme during 2020. The statistics contained a little ray of the light in reporting that even though 42,100 BAME apprenticeship starts are a decrease compared to 48,400 in 2018/19, the proportion of BAME starts increased from 12.5% in 2018/19 to 13.3% in 2019/20. However, the 13.3 percentage still falls short of the 14.5% proportion of England’s population with a BAME background which was recorded in the 2011 census.

It is not a proud record by any means, But before any fingers are pointed, the reality is that employers, training providers, schools, parents and government could all be doing better. This apprenticeships issue is not just confined to recruitment from the BAME communities because other data confirms that the proportion of school leavers going into an apprenticeship has hardly changed from around 6-7% in the last ten years. This is despite multi-million pound government marketing campaigns, launched to raise awareness among employers and young people about the benefits of apprenticeships. One of those benefits is that an apprenticeship is a job, i.e. it comes

with a contract of employment from day one, and at times of record numbers of redundancies, as in 2020, this is a highly valued aspect. The chancellor Rishi Sunak is very much aware of it and in his July 2020 Plan for Jobs, he included a new set of financial incentives to encourage businesses to offer more apprenticeship opportunities. For example, the government made a new payment of £2,000 for each freshly recruited apprentice for those under the age of 25 and £1,500 for those aged 25 and over. This money is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the government already provides for new 16-18 year old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan.


UPDATED MEASURES Another key measure in the Plan for Jobs was an additional £111m this year for Traineeships in England to fund high quality work placements and training for 16 to 24 year olds. Employers may receive £1,000 per trainee, up to 10 trainees. Placements are a vital first step on the ladder to the world for work for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and the programme has an enviable track-record of delivering positive outcomes for its learners.

The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) and its 800 training provider members want to make sure that all these opportunities are available to young people and adults from BAME communities. We have been talking to organisations such as the BAME Apprenticeship Alliance and Amazing Apprenticeships for several years about increasing the takeup and getting more commitment from employers and providers and there are still areas where everyone involved needs to improve.

A further welcome measure has been the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which has been effective in keeping apprentices in employment with the added bonus that they can continue training while on furlough. In this respect, apprenticeship training providers have done a fantastic job in keeping programmes going remotely despite the challenges involved in delivering work based learning online.

On the question of where training providers could be doing more to find candidates and match them with employers, we know that identifying talent requires a talent pool and there’s no better place to start than BAME communities. This means regular engagement with local schools, mosques, churches and community members. A key lesson from experience is that it is important to work closely with a few rather than loosely with many.

For adults who don’t yet have a level 3 qualification (equivalent to an A level), the government will introduce from April 2021 a Lifetime Skills Guarantee. This will enable an adult to train or study for free for a level 3 qualification from a list of 400 qualifications spread across a wide range of sectors.


“It is vital to utilise existing apprentices as powerful case studies to showcase and share their journey”

FACING THE CHALLENGE It is crucial as Britain becomes even more diverse to recognise that a blanket approach does not work across all intersections of BAME communities. This means that understanding the challenges of Black communities is different from Asian communities and different to those from, say, Eastern European countries etc. The advice to providers and other relevant stakeholders is to study the areas of target and understand the breakdown of ethnicities, learn about the various cultures and engage with them respectively. Moreover it is vital to utilise existing apprentices as powerful case studies to showcase and share their journey. One reason why strong case studies matter is that traditional careers such as medicine, law, and engineering etc have been seen to tick the pillars of good social mobility, especially among South Asian families, namely: opportunity, progression, job security, skills and money. Presenting alternative career routes with clear case studies is the best way to overcome the barriers of perception related to vocational training programmes such as apprenticeships. We include a couple of examples on the opposite page of young people who have had positive experiences through apprenticeships

A DESIRE TO SUCCEED Let’s be honest; training providers might be fully signed up to getting more BAME apprentices and learners engaged but often they must work hard to find local employers with the same level of commitment towards recruitment. The message which providers should present is that for a BAME apprentice to thrive within an organisation, the culture must be one which allows them to be encouraged to learn and grow. This is important because individuals from these communities bring with them previous experiences of resilience and challenges through hardships which many BAME youth use as motivation to become more socially mobile. They hold a desire to succeed to the very top with the right opportunity and organisation. This is a characteristic that most employers find embedded with all apprentices, but perhaps they don’t realise how strong it is within young people from BAME backgrounds. The numbers at the start of this article show that even if all training providers adopt best practice, we still have a considerable way to go before the proportion of apprentices who are from BAME communities overtakes the BAME percentage of the population in England. As referred to earlier, the action required needs to be a team effort. In our secondary schools, for example, there are brilliant teachers who volunteer to become apprenticeship champions but not all schools are prepared to inform their students about the advantages which apprenticeships offer despite a legal obligation (the so-called ‘Baker Clause’) to do so. AELP believes that the government should be much tougher in enforcing the obligation. How can students from BAME communities go home to explain to their parents or guardians the benefits of a non-university route if they are not being informed about them in the first place? The threat of prolonged economic uncertainty could turn 2021 into a challenging year for all employment and skills training programmes, but we should not use it as an excuse to do less to promote opportunities to individuals from BAME communities. On the contrary, we should be doing even more and at board level, AELP is preparing a strategy to enable this. It is an exciting challenge to have.




Media broadcast camera operator at BBC Media Production, Level 3 Apprentice

Lab technician at Specsavers Spectacle Maker, Level 3 (Advanced) apprenticeship

My job role is to be on constant call for programmes (such as the One, Six and Ten O’Clock News etc) and journalists (UK Newsgathering, World service, Digital etc) who are working a story and need a camera crew. My job can vary from a quick zoom interview, a few days filming abroad or filming departure shots of the Prime Minister outside Downing street. Every day is different, and you must be prepared for all types of situations. I have filmed at Liverpool’s training ground ahead of their Champions League final against Tottenham. I had the pleasure of being second camera in an interview with the manager, Jurgen Klopp, and Player of the Year, Virgil Van Dijk. I got pictures with them both and the interviews aired on BBC Breakfast. My proudest moment has to be graduating from the Apprenticeship scheme. I was given the opportunity to make a graduation video, give a speech about my journey and also was presented with the ‘Promising leader Award’. The day reflected all my hard work over the 12 months of my course, which didn’t go unnoticed by my employers. Akeem’s advice: If university isn’t for you, then this is an amazing alternative. Source: Amazing Apprenticeships

My job role is to help with the production and manufacture of spectacles, to carry out the quality control process and to ensure lenses are ordered through the system correctly. Some tasks during a typical working day include blocking, glazing and final checking spectacles, sorting the lens delivery and contacting any patients whose spectacles are delayed. The most exciting project I have worked on during my apprenticeship would have to be planning and organising a series of school visits with one of the store directors to encourage more children to enter STEM based careers. It was also lovely to be able to give a speech at my old secondary school about my experience as an apprentice. One of my proudest moments since starting my apprenticeship would be making it on to the Modern Muse Youth Board as a female empowerment ambassador, or perhaps making it into the apprenticeship handbook! Henna’s advice: Remember you’re not in it to take part, you’re in it to take over! Source: Amazing Apprenticeships The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) is a national membership organisation that represents the interests of an extensive number of organisations. For more information visit



WHAT’S AN APPRENTICESHIP? Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study. They are genuine jobs and under all circumstances an apprentice will be employed from day one. An apprentice will: – work alongside experienced staff – gain job-specific skills – earn a wage and get holiday pay – be given time for study related to their role (the equivalent of one day a week)

WHAT LEVELS ARE THERE? All apprenticeships include elements of on the job and off the job training, leading to industry recognised standards or qualifications. Some also require an assessment at the end of the programme to assess the apprentice’s ability and competence in the role. Name


Equivalent educational level



5 GCSE passes at grade A*–C or 9 – 4



2 A level passes / Level 3 Diploma / International Baccalaureate


4, 5, 6&7

Foundation degree and above



Bachelor’s or master’s degree

WHAT CAN THEY EARN? The national minimum wage (NMW) for apprentices is £4.30 per hour (from April 2021). This applies to apprentices aged under 19 or aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship. An apprentice aged 21 who has completed the first year of their apprenticeship is entitled to a minimum hourly rate of £8.36. Traditionally only apprentices aged 25 and over, and not in the first year of their apprenticeship, were entitled to the National Living Wage, but from 1 April 2021 this was extended to 23 and 24 year olds. The current NLW is £8.91 for 23 year olds and over, and the NMW is £8.36 for 21 to 22 year olds, and £6.56 for 20 year olds.


This is the legal minimum pay per hour, most receive more. The Apprenticeship Pay Survey 2018-19 states that the mean total weekly earnings for Level 2 and 3 apprentices in Great Britain was £304, an increase in mean total weekly earnings from £282 in 2016, More details on salaries and entry criteria in specific apprenticeship occupations can be found on GOV.UK and search ‘apprenticeships’. The average starting salary for a degree apprentice in 2019 was £17,800 per year,

WHY APPLY? – Earn a real wage; – Be trained in the skills employers want; – Set yourself up for the future – apprentices enjoy marked salary increases when they complete their training, and those completing a higher apprenticeship could see increased earnings of an estimated £150,000 over their lifetime.*

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS Apprenticeships are available to anyone over the age of 16, living in the UK and have no upper age limit. The National Apprenticeship Service is committed to ensuring that high quality apprenticeships are a prestigious option, accessible to all people from all backgrounds. All vacancies on Find an Apprenticeship ( will clearly state what the entry requirements are for the job role being advertised. There will be different entry requirements depending on the industry, job role and apprenticeship level. Recent changes to the minimum English and maths requirements now mean that people with a learning difficulty or disability can now access a level 2 intermediate apprenticeship as long as they can achieve an entry level 3 qualification during their apprenticeship. A Disability Confident Employer will generally offer an interview to any applicant that declares they have a disability and meets the minimum criteria as defined by the employer. For more details, search Disability Confident on GOV.UK.

WHERE TO LOOK FOR AN APPRENTICESHIP? With so many opportunities on offer, there are several ways you can find an apprenticeship. More details, including videos of current apprentices, are available at You can search and apply for vacancies on Find an Apprenticeship on GOV.UK. When you register, you can set up email and text alerts for new vacancies which may be of interest. For more information on employers you can visit the vacancy snapshot at It displays a range of employers fact files outlining the types of apprenticeship vacancies available at these companies across the year. If you have a specific interest in a certain employer, it is also worth going direct to their recruitment site. You could also meet employers and their apprentices through the live broadcast feature. In these interviews, you can take a look behind the scenes of a range of different employers and meet some of their apprentices Contact the National Apprenticeship Helpdesk for further support on 0800 015 0400 or by email The YouTube channel has useful hints and tips on applying plus other videos on apprenticeships, visit YouTube and search apprenticeships/NAS.

HOW TO APPLY? At any one time on Find an Apprenticeship there are between 12,000 - 20,000 apprenticeships vacancies online available at, in a variety of careers and industries. You can search by keyword (job role, occupation type or apprenticeship level) and by location. In addition, some employers advertise vacancies on their website. Once the right job comes up, simply register on the website and follow the step by step instructions to apply for the role.

WHAT’S THE ROLE OF THE TRAINING PROVIDER? The training provider has a key role to play in providing off-the-job training, assessing progress towards achieving qualifications and supporting you generally during their apprenticeship. They work very closely with the employer to ensure that the apprentice receives:

on average at least one day per week of formal training, higher than the proportion in 2016 (43%). You can find out more about learner satisfaction with training organisations and colleges by accessing the learner satisfaction survey results on the FE Choices pages of GOV.UK.

HOW MANY HOURS PER WEEK WILL AN APPRENTICE BE WORKING? The minimum duration of each apprenticeship is based on the apprentice working 30 hours a week or more, including any off-the-job training you undertake. However, this does not apply in every circumstance. For example, people with caring responsibilities or people with a disability may work reduced weekly hours. Where this is the case, the duration of the apprenticeship will be extended to take account of this. The time spent on off-the-job training should be at least 20% and should be included as part of working hours. The employer must allow time to complete the apprenticeship within the working hours. If support is needed with English and maths, the should also be within their normal working hours.

FURTHER SUPPORT Additionally, a £1,000 bursary is available to support for care leavers starting apprenticeships who are aged 1624, this will be paid directly to them in the first year of the apprenticeships. You can also find more details on GOV.UK. If you need help with you apprenticeship application or professional advice on making the right choices, visit for a web-chat with an adviser or call: 0800 100 900 (free from landlines and mobiles). To follow the National Apprenticeship Service: @Apprenticeships / @FireItUp_Apps @fireitupapps FireItUpApps Visit or call 08000 150 400

– an induction programme on starting – a detailed training plan (including on-the-job training) – regular progress reviews – opportunities to put into practice off-the-job learning so that they can achieve their qualifications/ requirements of the apprenticeship – mentoring and general support throughout the apprenticeship This will all be documented in a commitment statement that is part of the Apprenticeship Agreement. This is an individual learning plan that the provider, the employer and apprentice will all sign up to. According to the Apprenticeship Pay Survey, 9% of Level 2 and Level 3 GB apprentices stated that they received


Creative, Arts & Media If you have a flair for design and creativity, or you are attracted by a career in the performing arts, then this could be the career sector for you. With the digital boom, the global push towards innovation, and a growing cultural economy, creativity is capital and design is at the forefront. Creative thinking is a highly prized attribute in almost every industry, and there are a multitude of opportunities available to those who study art, design and architecture. From developing a diverse skillset to designing your own career, there’s many reasons why you should value your creativity and passion and ignore the naysayers. While artistic talent can provide a strong foundation for a career in design, perhaps more important is a willingness to develop technical skills and an ability to solve problems creatively.


The creative industries cover much more than just TV and theatre; they encompass everything from film to fashion and music to gaming. The sector is one of the fastest growing industries in the UK. There are over 2 million jobs in creative industries, contributing an estimated 5.5% towards the UK’s GDP. Apart from actors, dancers and musicians, there are many more technically skilled jobs in production, lighting and sound engineering, not forgetting marketing, advertising and communications. Research shows that the creative industries are on average at low or no risk of automation compared to other sectors. The skills used in innovation aren’t easily replaceable by a machine and, in fact, computers complement most creative processes, making creative skills more productive.

Engineering If you have a mechanical aptitude, love solving problems and you want to earn an above average salary, you should consider a career in engineering. The application of engineering is all around us, using knowledge of science and mathematics to help improve our lives. Engineers design, create, research and find alternative and better solutions. There are many different types of engineering, including civil engineering, computer software, electronic, chemical, medical and mechanical engineering. The skills you learn through study and experience are highly sought after by employers, especially analytical thinking, attention to detail, numeracy, communication and computer technology, all of which are highly transferable skills.

University graduates with a degree in engineering tend to earn around 20% more than the average graduate earns over their career. The industry is actively looking for over 200,000 new skilled recruits every year and is especially seeking to attract more women and students from BAME backgrounds.


INVESTING IN SKILLS, DRIVING SUCCESS Do you want to work in film and television but don’t know where to start? Whether you are practical or creative, an organiser or good with figures, there could be a role for you in the UK’s screen industries and we can help you find it. Seetha Kumar, CEO of ScreenSkills, takes you through the options available and the routes you can take.

Seetha Kumar, CEO, ScreenSkills

Hair and make-up are among the many craft and technical jobs in the screen industries. @Erroll Jones/ScreenSkills

ScreenSkills is the industry-led charity responsible for skills and training at every stage of a career in screen, which also includes visual effects (VFX), animation and video games. We don’t train actors but cover the wide array of jobs behind the camera – and there are lots of them. Television shows and movies need directors, producers and writers as well as electricians, carpenters and hair and make-up artists, not forgetting the visual effects artists and animators, accountants and publicists. Britain’s screen industries are world-famous. And, while some production was stopped, temporarily, by the Covid-19 pandemic, these industries are growing. It is true that jobs in this area are highly competitive, but they are also


very keen to recruit. Many roles are freelance, where you go from project to project and are not employed by a single employer. This may mean some positions are not ideal work for anyone who wants the certainty of a “regular” nine-to-five job. The work is often demanding and may mean long and irregular hours at busy times. But it is also exciting and rewarding and offers many opportunities. The diligent and talented can earn a good living. How do you decide whether a career in screen might be for you? One way is through initiatives such as the BBC’s Digital Cities, which offers a programme of free events. ScreenSkills careers team also attend careers events such as skills shows as well as providing

information, for example through online sessions offering people the chance to explore the options available in the UK screen industries and as a taster of what to expect. Other support can include advice on writing CVs and how to make contacts and network. For people who have already acquired some experience in the industry, there is the ScreenSkills Trainee Finder scheme, where successful applicants receive basic training on issues such as health and safety and set etiquette – the dos and don’ts of how to behave during filming – before undergoing paid placements on films and prestigious television dramas from Wonder Woman and James Bond – No Time to Die to Derry Girls and Black Mirror or children’s shows such as Hetty Feather or Molly and Mack.

We have careers information on our website including approximately 200 job profiles for screen roles. There are also downloadable resources for teachers and parents so that anyone can learn more about jobs in screen. One of the things ScreenSkills is trying very hard to do is to create a more level playing field. Film, television, animation, VFX and games should not be restricted to those already in the know so we are developing clearer routes into the screen industries such as ways for potential recruits to find courses that should help them get in, even if they have no connections in the industry. For example, if you are thinking of pursuing your ambitions at a university or further education (FE) college, we have ScreenSkills Select which is a signpost to courses relevant to a career in the screen industries. We work with industry experts to identify courses that deliver the practical skills and knowledge employers want. We list all the courses that are awarded the ScreenSkills Select endorsement in a searchable directory on the ScreenSkills website. Until now, ScreenSkills Select – an enhanced version of ScreenSkills’ old accreditation system known as the Tick – was largely adopted by universities, but we are collaborating with colleagues in education to make it work for further education, too. We are developing more apprenticeship standards and arguing for amendments to make the system work better, because being paid to learn opens up the industry to people who might not otherwise be able to join. Although there is a need for more apprenticeships and for the system to work better for the screen industries, they do already exist, and major broadcasters are a good place to start if you are interested in this route. There are screenrelated apprenticeships such as broadcast engineer, carpentry and joinery, junior animator or as an assistant accountant. Once you’re in the industry, we encourage you to stay in touch, as we have courses to keep the workforce up-to-date. Anyone aged 18 or over can register to become part of our community and you can choose to showcase your latest work history and details of any skills and training you have. Once you have registered, you can apply for

a range of workshops, seminars, masterclasses or other training, much of it free. For example, special online learning was developed to apply health and safety rules for the prevention of the spread of Covid-19 to the reality of working on set or location. ScreenSkills also offers a mentoring programme, the ScreenSkills Mentoring Network. There are more jobs than many people realise in the UK’s screen industries and they cover a wide mix of skills. The rapid growth of recent years means that there are skills gaps and skills shortages in many areas from accounts to locations and script supervisors to production coordinators. Many TV dramas and films were forced to stop production when the coronavirus pandemic hit hard, but the industry worked closely with the UK government to enable the safe return to work and all the evidence of lockdown was that the content the industry produces remains in high demand. A career for life Research by the innovation foundation Nesta before the pandemic suggests that workers in the creative industries are much less likely than most to be replaced by robots in future. There is widespread confidence that this remains the case. It is also a sector that is trying hard to become more inclusive as it knows that it is important to have a workforce that reflects the society in which we live – workers who can help television, film and animation to tell a greater variety of stories about different people’s experiences. Mim Shaikh, the actor, writer and broadcaster on television and radio including the BBC Asian Network and Radio 1, is a ScreenSkills ambassador because he is keen to encourage others to consider a career in the industry. “Nobody in my family had done anything like this before. Everybody in our family had done the same thing – to go and work as an accountant, lawyer, in finance or medicine,” he says. “Nobody did anything out of the norm. I’m so glad I did. My younger cousins have been able to see what my life is like, work-wise. They never knew something like that was possible before. I’m a living example that you can build your own network.

It can be easier if you come from a middle-class family who can help you. But it can be done, even from humble beginnings and if your family are working-class.”

“We need more diverse storytelling and the only way we can achieve that is by having more diverse storytellers” Nainita Desai, the composer of music for film and TV including David Attenborough’s Wildlife on One, says: “We need more diverse storytelling and the only way we can achieve that is by having more diverse storytellers, be they on screen talent or off screen talent to embrace a more comfortable, inclusive, eclectic environment.”   She adds: “Nurturing up-and-coming composers and making people aware of what writing music for the media involves is something I strongly believe in. There are of course many degree level courses in music and there are a handful of postgraduate courses… However, there are many ways to climb a mountain, whether you choose to go down the formal education route or not.”  Amma Asante, the screenwriter and director of films such as Belle and TV series like The Handmaid’s Tale, is a ScreenSkills patron because: “I’m passionate about how the industry can find ways to open up training, employment and retention of crew from diverse backgrounds and under-represented groups, creating viable opportunities for success. What progress we will have made when it becomes normal to step on a set and see not only black women directors but, for example, black women grips and sparks [electricians], directors of photography and location managers.” Get in touch if you want to know more. Visit or email


Creative Access’ TOP TIPS for undertaking a VIRTUAL INTERNSHIP

Working from home has become the new norm. Who would have thought? Creative organisations are having to find other ways of delivering valuable pathways to employment for industry entrants – and virtual internships have proven to be a big hit. So, if you’re still searching for one, keep sending targeted applications and stay positive. Creative Access helps talented individuals from groups that are under-represented in the sector in terms of ethnicity, socio-economic background, or disability to enter the creative industries. We’ve placed dozens of new interns during the Pandemic in creative organisations such as ITV, Apple, The National Theatre, The Economist, and Pan Macmillan and we have many more on our website being advertised each day. Leyla Mohammed interned at Creative Access for four weeks and, despite the initial nerves around starting a full-time internship from


the very same home she’d already spent four months locked down in, she found the experience positive:

“I can safely say that my apprehension was unnecessary – every aspect of the remote internship was enjoyable. Every day brought something new and, as I grew more comfortable, I learned how to effectively work from home, which made everything easier and much more valuable.”

For many people, internships are the first step of their professional career. A virtual internship may not allow you to do things typically associated with starting at a new employer, but they are also proving great ways – especially for those not based in main cities where many employers are based – to get valuable experience. In order to make the best out of this remote experience, we’ve put together our top ten tips:


Separate your workspace from your leisure space:

Everyone’s living circumstances are different. Your colleagues will have children, pets, flatmates, partners, and parents that they might have to interact with during the working day. People will understand if there are disruptions due to working at home for you too. That said, try to create an environment that comes across as professional and that is conducive to work, where distractions are kept to a minimum. At the end of the day, you’ll want to change your scenery and switch off from work mode, so ideally you’ll be able to separate work from pleasure.


Establish a routine:

As tempting as it might be to roll out of bed five minutes before your first meeting starts, waking up early and getting ready as if you were going into an office will mentally prepare you to be the most productive you can.


Embrace learning in all its forms:

An internship is a learning experience, so if you’re given feedback on your performance and work, consider yourself lucky and make note of it! Use the feedback to learn and grow, so that your contributions to the team become more and more valuable. Embrace other opportunities that will help you better understand your role, the work your colleagues do, and how everything comes together within the organisation.


Be confident and curious:

Confidence goes a long way, especially when joining an established team as an intern. Have confidence in your thoughts and ideas – employers always want to hear fresh and new perspectives; Remember in order to have secured this opportunity in the first place, you must be a very strong candidate.


Ensure clear and frequent communication:

Understand the culture of communication in your organisation:

• Understand what is expected of you and when • Know who to speak to or run drafts by, and how • Know when lunchtime is and when your work day is expected to end • Check in frequently with your manager during the day (don’t forget to pick up the phone as well as email) • Send an update at the end of each day what you’ve completed today and what you’re tackling tomorrow • Your manager should be there if you need any help, or if your work needs re prioritising



Use this internship to make as many connections as you can with anyone you come into contact with during your internship. Attend as many virtual professional and social events as you can. Ask your line manager who else you should e-meet in the organisation. Use this opportunity to set up a LinkedIn profile – if you don’t already have one – so you can stay in touch with all the people you meet during the internship.


Be kind to yourself:

We know you’ll want to make a good impression, but remember not to overwork yourself. You don’t need to work outside of contracted hours (except of course for extenuating situations). Rest is an important part of work – it allows you to recharge, stay sharp and focused, and a fresh mind often helps breed fresh ideas.

“It’s a common guilt complex where people working from home feel the need to work outside of hours, or even around the clock. I can attest to this – there were days where I felt like I had to start early or finish late (on my own accord, of course). Recognise that this is a common guilt complex that comes with the process of getting used to working from home. Going out of your way to do extra work is great to an extent, but don’t overdo it!” – Leyla Mohammed


Stay in touch:


Ask questions:


Own up!

Ask questions, not just about your role, but in an attempt to understand the ‘why’ – the bigger organisational picture. Remember you are an intern so can legitimately ask as many questions as you like!

We all make mistakes; it’s part of normal life. Don’t be afraid to take responsibility for errors and use that as an opportunity to learn for another occasion.

If you want more advice about entering the creative industries, we have always got dozens of great roles the length and breadth of the UK on our Opportunities page. We’ve also got lots of great resources, events – including regular CV clinics – and competitions. stay in touch with Creative Access. You can reach us on any of the following ways:

@_creativeaccess @_creativeaccess Creative Access Creative Access Register with us at:


Inspiring Diversity in the Professional Clothing Industry Yvette Ashby is the Founder and CEO of PCIAW® and has been an influential player in the professional clothing industry for over 20 years. Yvette was directly approached to lead PCIAW® because there was no association dedicated to representing the professional clothing industry and it was her experience which sought to fill the void. Throughout Yvette’s career running the Professional Clothing directore magazine, her passion for textiles and innovation knew no bounds and it was this desire for progression, which saw the creation of PCA Vision Awards, which provided opportunity to a diverse pool of student talent to compete for a globally-esteemed prize for the best designs for professional clothing.


Yvette and the rest of the PCIAW® team were closely involved when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March and April 2020 and were instrumental in solving some of the issues involved with trying to satisfy the huge global spike in demand for safe and appropriate quality PPE equipment, all while dealing with a lockdown and a media near-frenzy on the topic.

The UK workwear and PPE markets are valued at £8.66 billion and employ over 44,000 local workers. BAME Magazine interviewed Yvette and asked her what a career in professional clothing has to offer young people.

Hi, Yvette, can you tell us a little about the PCIAW® and what your organisation does? The Professional Clothing Industry Association Worldwide (PCIAW®) is a non-profit association. We are the voice of the professional clothing industry and comprise a network of thousands of global businesses across the entire international supply chain for workwear, corporatewear and PPE. The core objective of PCIAW® is to connect the entire supply chain and to create opportunities to help businesses develop by putting buyers in touch with suppliers. Our purpose is to create a platform for businesses in the professional clothing industry to share their voice and message, regardless of size. We build relationships with businesses from around the world to help connect the industry, in order to learn from each other – no matter how long you have been in the professional clothing industry, there’s always more to learn. The PCIAW® has a great responsibility to represent the industry and offer opportunities to businesses in the professional clothing industry with a passion for quality and innovation. As a non-profit industry association, the PCIAW® works in the interest of our Trusted Members. We ensure our members have a voice and are represented by our organisation’s structure which includes a nonexecutive Board of Directors, composed by a selection of PCIAW® members to reflect different international perspectives.

What motivated you to develop a career in the professional clothing industry? Throughout my childhood, back in Jamaica, my mother and father encouraged me to make all my own clothes – hats, coats and everything and so when I think back, I can pinpoint my passion for textiles back to these memories. What motivated me? I have to laugh at this one – I was told once that it was a man who invented the padded bra and I just couldn’t believe it. Why would a man be developing something as sensitive as my bra? It really upset me, how would a man know if a bra was comfortably designed?

So I thought, you know what, we need to encourage young girls and young women to come into our industry and work, bringing out the best of who we are as females, and who we are as people and just keep on pushing forward. Without diversity, we would continue having people designing garments who in no way represent the individual who wears them.

“Females with an Asian background had a 65% fit rate on first attempt, which highlights the need for greater consideration of diversity in end users.” How important is diversity and inclusion within the textile industry? Professional clothing is a global industry which clothes diverse people across the world. Corporate– wear contributes to a business’ brand image, for example in the airline and travel sectors; banking, hospitality and event industries, plus supermarkets and more, whilst workwear and PPE offers protection to end users when working in potentially hazardous environments. It is imperative that the product design in the professional clothing industry considers variations in size and fit for diverse populations, as it is clear that women and BAME individuals are not sufficiently catered for. PCIAW® Board Director, Natalie Wilson wrote an article in the latest edition of PCIAW®VOICE magazine, which reported on the fit rates of PPE during the pandemic – 90% of Caucasian wearers could fit properly on the first attempt compared to 85% of people from an Asian background. Females with an Asian background had a 65% fit rate on first attempt, which highlights the need for greater consideration of diversity in end users. The bulk of our clothing is made by people with diverse backgrounds and we have to celebrate and include them.

Do you have any diversity networks at the PCIAW®? Not enough. When I look back upon my own experiences, I can remember when I started hosting the Professional Clothing Awards over 12 years ago at the Metropole Hotel in Birmingham. I had over 500 people attend and when I looked around the room and I could count on one hand how many people were from a black or ethnic minority group. Realising this said something to me – that I have to make sure that on this international platform, everybody is recognised, no matter who they are or where they are from – again, I say that it’s about those who innovate who count. It is important to see newcomers enter the industry and give the industry leaders a run for their money. In 2016, I recognised the need for young designers to take an interest in the professional clothing industry so I started PCA Vision and travelled around the country visiting universities and their tutors and students to create a competition to design functional workwear, corporatewear and PPE. The first competition had almost 200 students taking part from all the universities which was a huge challenge to judge them – PCA Vision is about inclusivity and equal opportunities purely based on talent.

What advice would you give for young BAME students wanting to work in textiles? The professional clothing industry has an ageing workforce and it is important that we encourage the reinvigoration of skills and talent by supporting the younger generation from all walks of life. The Black Lives Matter has brought the disparities of opportunities to the forefront and I would love to see more BAME individuals training to enter the textile industry. When most people think of studying textiles, they think of the fashion industry. I want young people to know that the professional clothing industry is growing. It is continuously innovating and there are opportunities available. What I want to say to everyone is, don’t be afraid. If you have a talent and passion for textiles, then come


on, let’s see your light shine and let us see what you’re worth. Don’t sit back and think it will never be your chance because I recognise everyone, no matter who they are, no matter where they are in the world, they will have something of value to contribute. The PCIAW® works closely with the UKFT, who run a Skills Council, which offers training courses, apprenticeships and job opportunities, which is open to all.

What obstacles may BAME candidates face when joining the fashion industry? I think people are now beginning to open their eyes. We’re here in the UK, and we’ve been pushing the government to encourage manufacturing closer to home, which offers environmental benefits as well social and economic opportunities. The PCIAW® has hosted several webinars on nearshoring manufacturing of professional clothing and I’m working tirelessly to offer greater opportunities for people and businesses and the response has been phenomenal, people are finally starting to get it. The PCIAW® has a voice that goes into government. We worked with the UKFT to lobby for opportunities for UK businesses to benefit from government procurement contracts and worked hard to educate the National Audit Office and the UK Cabinet Office on the complexities of manufacturing and procuring PPE. I have just joined the UK Home Office Employers’ Consultation Group to ensure fair working practices and immigration policies. We expect more opportunities for the industry to arrive based on this hard work. I think what is lacking at the moment is knowledge, pure and simple – I and the PCIAW® hopes to fix this going forward. From my point of view, PCIAW® should aim to achieve more. I want to invest more money into making sure that anybody who knocked on my door could be pointed in the right direction for advice or we could help them directly ourselves. That’s something that I and the PCIAW® will be working on.


“I think it has to be a state of mind. BAME candidates may need to work twice as hard to get ahead, so I say, work three times as hard and don’t let anyone get in your way. Persistence and perseverance is key.” Why are BAME candidates not drawn to the clothing industry and what are the remedies? They’ve just got to believe in themselves. I’m going to take away the myths. I arrived in this country

from the Caribbean, Jamaica, when I was just nine years old and my parents were here to help rebuild the country. My mother was a nurse, and I thought to myself, what is this strange place? The UK was a foreign land to me. There was nothing that the UK at the time was offering me that I wasn’t getting in my own country. Personally, I can’t sit here today and tell you that I have been bullied or pushed aside. I’ve always respected myself and tried to be brave – I think it has to be a state of mind. If somebody knocks you down, you get up, brush yourself off and go with it. BAME candidates may need to work twice as hard to get ahead, so I say, work three times as hard and don’t let anyone get in your way. Persistence and perseverance is key. I like to say, ‘you never come anywhere, you always arrive’.

I think society needs to ensure opportunities reach all people, from all backgrounds as the BAME community have talent and they need the chance to prove it. I think confidence is the biggest obstacle and the remedy is what I referred to before, don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t succeed.

What strategies have you put in place to ensure a pathway from entry level to senior management? My passion is taking on young people because I love to see them bring creativity to the business and to inspire me. When I look for new people, I set them a task – if they impress me, I listen – I’m not looking at their skin colour, age or gender. I give my team free rein to come to me and say, I like this or I don’t like that. I’ve been around for over 25

years and I want to leave a legacy. The industry is growing, the association is going to grow. You have to invest in young people and people who have passion and believe in what you’re doing. That will drive them up the ladder quicker than anything else. But I encourage everybody to know your worth and speak your truth.

“You have to invest in young people and people who have passion and believe in what you’re doing. That will drive them up the ladder quicker than anything else.”

What would be the main attraction for young people in the industry? When I visit the universities for the young designers awards, I ask them about their ambitions and they tell me they want to be like Vivienne Westwood. With respect, not everyone can be Vivenne Westwood but there are plentiful opportunities to rise to the top in a way that is secure and stable, with a path for real growth and development. One day, you may even take over from Vivienne Westwood with your own skills and innovations because like me, she’s not going to live forever. You have to start somewhere and I think about how many people have left university only with degrees in fashion and textiles or garment technology, only to go on and work in McDonalds. That breaks my heart. I want to see the passion and talent to be put to good use. People and businesses want their brand image to look good. You wouldn’t board an airline without seeing the flight attendants dressed in beautiful uniforms. You wouldn’t see a firefighter running into a burning building without being fully kitted-out. You wouldn’t go into a stylish hotel and not see the staff looking glamorous. You ask what the attraction is for young people wanting to work in the professional clothing industry – it’s that there is so much style and functionality to innovate with, the only limit is your imagination. This is what we want to instil in young people. Look, open your eyes and carve your pathway until you reach the heights of being a star like Vivienne Westwood.

To find out more about us and about working in the professional clothing industry visit



Photography courtesy Sylvie Belbouab

We speak to Sanaz Amidi about Rosetta Arts, a community based hub for art and creative learning in the heart of east London

You’ve been CEO and Trustee at Rosetta Arts since 2007. What’s the purpose of the charity and how do you see your role there? Rosetta Arts changes communities through creativity. From our visual arts learning centre and gallery in West Ham we offer creative courses, projects, events and exhibitions to the diverse people of Newham who otherwise have little access to the transformative benefits of the arts. What we offer is so much more than simply access to the arts. We offer every person we encounter a chance to live the life they choose – whether that’s pursuing a career or education in the arts, having a personal passion, feeling emotionally and socially confident, or feeling connected to the people and communities around them.

My ambition is to make sure that the work that we do, the work in opening people’s imaginations, in making the arts accessible, in making it possible for people who may not want to work in the arts but who want to have their voices heard, who want to say things that directly affect them – voices that you would not hear under normal circumstances – ensuring that those voices are heard. Essentially, my role focuses on shaping, empowering and leading excellent people and teams to do this.

one who, in Rosetta, took under her wing a young local boy called Lee, tutored and mentored him to develop his skills and portfolio and then wrote his reference supporting his application to CSM. Lee went on to become known worldwide as Alexander McQueen! In 2021 we are very proud that those nurturing values are still rooted in everything we do, underpinning the development of a talent pipeline that has nothing to do with class, gender or ethnicity, but everything to do with local talent.

I believe that our success stems from setting a clear vision and sharing a set of goals to which people can aspire and commit. I have learned that my values of passion, drive, integrity, courage and empathy are the tools with which I work with people to collectively implement and achieve transformational change.

What would you say you offer to the young people who get involved in your opportunities?

What was it about the ethos of the organisation that first attracted you to become involved? Our start 28 years ago was in a school called Rosetta in Canning Town and was because of an amazing woman with an extraordinary vision for art education called Yvonne Humble. She’s the one who really set our goal of opening up the arts to people in Newham. She’s the


Lots of things! We’re a specialist provider of programmes addressing barriers to entering work faced by young people in London and we have a whole bunch of opportunities for young people from our Saturday School to evening creative workshops to accredited courses. All of our programmes are delivered by local professional artists who have their own practices so are inspiring to learn from and help young people grow their own professional networks. At the moment we are recruiting for young people to join our I Design My Future programme which is all about proving creative opportunities to help young people take charge of their lives and their careers, and we’re also looking forward to holding a free online creative day for teenagers on 8 April.

And what skills can the young people develop? Young people on our programmes can develop their skills across a range of artistic techniques, from drawing and painting to printing, muraling and pottery, as well as dance, film-making and acting . But really there’s much more to it than learning a particular kind of artistic practice: we offer resilience projects to help young people weather these difficult times and improve their wellbeing; teamworking projects developing co-design skills; mentoring to build enterprise skills and realworld opportunities to open up entry routes to careers in the fast-growing creative industries. Understanding creative careers couldn’t be more important right now as the sector starts growing again – and there are more creative jobs in London than in law and accounting, but they often fly under the radar. And regardless of whether you want to enter the creative industries, creative skills are needed more than ever by employers.

You also appear to have very close ties with the local residents in east London. We’re deeply embedded in the local communities of east London and that means building long-term and trusting relationships with residents from a range of backgrounds. Our borough is one of the most diverse in the country, so a lot of what we do is around tackling inequalities in participation for BAME residents. As a grassroots charity, most of our work is delivered in partnership out in places and spaces that residents use every day, and and our partners range from schools, libraries, and local businesses, charities to faith leaders and sport organisations. Since April 2020, our programmes have especially focused on upskilling and improving the wellbeing of communities disproportionately affected by COVID, which has been especially the case for BAME people in Newham.

Are there any specific outstanding projects or exhibitions that you think our readers would like to hear about? We would love your readers to know about our Artist Accelerator programme. Every year we scheme kickstarts the careers of local emerging artists from diverse backgrounds with access to networks, know-how, opportunities and bursaries, as well as studio

digitally or run restricted COVIDsafe programmes in external venues or even outside in parks! We have had to invest in IT, marketing and digital infrastructure and train staff and artists in online and COVIDsafe delivery. We are providing a lot more online activities that are totally free, such as our art workshops for people who are shielding, bereaved or unemployed due to COVID, and our Humble Happiness Hub online cookery and art courses for people who are low waged, isolated and live in the most deprived wards in Newham. We have found innovative ways of maintaining engagement, such as sending free materials/ ingredients to people’s houses so that everyone can participate regardless of income. Its definitely helped us enter 2021 with greater resilience and expertise, but it’s not an easy time for charities like ours and so we’re more than ever reliant on different sources of income including private giving.

Tell us about the Young Creative Newham Board.

space and mentoring sessions with experienced professionals, all to help develop their socially engaged practices in the community. We’re really proud of the opportunities we’ve been able to to provide them with, not least leading community engagement workshops for the new public garden of blossom trees to be created to commemorate Londoners who have lost their lives to COVID-19 in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which opens later this year.

How has COVID changed the way you work? COVID has of course had an enormous impact. We have worked tirelessly to continue to provide activities for our communities that improve their wellbeing, upskill and empower them and it has required drastic adaption. With our building inaccessible, we have had to work from home and deliver

The Creative Newham Youth Board is made up of a group of young people who are passionate about their local area, and we are currently recruiting for more members to join. It provides opportunities for the members to get involved in real cultural projects that happen in the borough, from commissioning and producing events to managing budgets and having their say on creative developments. Last year they got involved in Newham Heritage Month, a local creative wellbeing space and a covid memorial project in the Olympic Park, and learned skills around production and evaluation. The board is supported by the Mayor of London and aims to give positive life choices to young people in the borough who are at risk of social exclusion. Some quotes from our young people on being involved: ‘Having the position of power to make a difference in people’s lives through the heritage projects and events we have selected, and giving people in Newham an opportunity to express themselves while creating diversity, is very rewarding.’


‘I have acquired an understanding of the things that go on in our community, how to award money to a project and invest carefully to make the most out of what you put in’


What advice would you give young people, particularly those from BAME backgrounds, who are interested in a career in the creative arts? For many young people choosing a career can be daunting. Choosing one in the creative arts, often without clear career structures or the support of parents and peers, access to relevant information and where there is an under representation of people who look or sound like us, can be even more challenging. Growing up in East London from a first generation migrant family who had ‘traditional’ careers, I had to rely on the guidance of others to understand where to take the next steps or to even know that I could take them. Mentors have played a big role in my development, and my advice would be to build a support structure around you and seek role models you aspire to, even if those people are not in your immediate circle – it is essential to your success! Take every opportunity that you can. Don’t let fear stand in your way. You might not know if you are going to enjoy the experience or not but challenges can teach you that you are better than you think are.

Your motto is ‘Creativity, Community, Change’. What changes do you think Rosetta Arts helps bring in the local community? Our goal is for Rosetta Arts to transform communities through creativity. As a community hub (normally in West Ham and currently online at we offer creative courses, projects, events, exhibitions and a platform to the diverse residents of Newham, so many of who otherwise have little access to the transformative benefits of the arts. We really take the time to get to know people and nurture their creativity and that has a huge ripple effect, putting more artists on the map locally and really just allowing more people to connect with each other and feel good about themselves through art.


ALANNAH FRANCIS Rosetta Arts Marketing Officer

AMBER PERRIER Rosetta Arts Young Trustee

For the majority of my working life, I’ve worked in media as a journalist. I’ve worked at national newspapers in the UK (The Times and The Guardian) and smaller, independent publications.

I came across Rosetta Arts Centre at the age of 15 joining in their ‘Young Newham Artists’ programme. I learnt so much on the History of Art, planning my art business, drafting a budget plan and communicating with clients on commissions.

I started my role as Marketing Officer at Rosetta Arts in 2020. Joining the charity during a pandemic where face-to-face activities have shifted online, I’ve witnessed first-hand how important the arts are to people during such confusing times. In my role I’ve been able to build on my social media and digital skills, which have been in more demand than ever at a time when everyone is online. It’s been great to have the freedom to get creative about how we can reach people, be accessible and stand out in the digital sphere. The advice I would give to young people, especially those from BAME backgrounds, who are interested in a career in the creative arts is to take advantage of the opportunities that are available to you. There are so many free and affordable activities, courses and clubs that you can get involved in as a young person. These are great ways to explore your passions, experiment and develop skills. All you need to do is look in the right places – and if you can’t find something that caters to you, create it! I would also say, don’t give up. Pursuing a career in the arts can be challenging but I really believe that if you’re passionate, creative and persistent, you can carve out a space for yourself.

I returned to Rosetta Arts after finishing my Fine Art degree at UEL and supported in delivering community art courses, preparing materials and demonstrating to pupils for Saturday School. Writing application proposals for funding and promoting upcoming creative courses to students. These skills led me to a traineeship in Culture and working in Culture and Heritage and becoming a Community Engagement Officer at The British Library. I am part of the Rosetta Arts Board as a Young Trustee which consist of making decisions in the board meetings, reading through proposals and plans, alongside going through strategies with the board members and CEO. The advice I would give to young people who are keen in a career in the creative arts is to create a portfolio of varied styles of work. Join in career workshops, many offer advice on how to get started and update your CV. Research into apprenticeships, traineeships, or take up work experience to learn what skills are needed for a specific role. Participate in networking sessions, you will never know who you’ll meet! Do not be afraid to ask questions, you won’t know if you don’t ask!

Will ethnicity pay reporting be mandatory by 2023? CIPD calls for reporting to be made compulsory to boost workplace equality While the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 prompted organisations to recognise the importance of equality and inclusion, just 13 FTSE 100 companies currently report their ethnicity pay gap. CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, is supporting the introduction of Mandatory Ethnicity Pay Reporting and calling for this to apply to all large employers from April 2023, to accelerate equality and create consistency of disclosure. To support this, the CIPD have launched a guide to help HR professionals navigate ethnicity pay issues, from data collection through to analysis and reporting the results. Few organisations have voluntarily reported their ethnicity pay gaps, despite increasing expectation from the public, investors and other stakeholders. Of the 13 FTSE 100 companies that did so in their most recent annual report, ten organisations published for the first time, suggesting that greater public scrutiny of race inequalities prompted them to act. Tthe Government launched its first consultation three years ago. Movement has been too slow for some, leading to calls for a clear narrative and action plan. To support employers on their complex ethnicity pay reporting journey the CIPD is suggesting using the same frameworks are currently in place for gender pay gap reporting. Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, said: “Ethnicity pay reporting is an important lever for businesses and their stakeholders to assess if and where inequality based on ethnicity exists in their workforce. That’s why we believe it is so important that businesses both capture and learn from this data. While it’s

positive to see some organisations voluntarily report their ethnicity pay, it’s clear that progress is slow and reporting is very inconsistent. Some companies just report their data while others report a commitment without sharing the data behind it. “We know that gender pay gap reporting has driven greater transparency and accelerated progress, and we believe the same is needed for ethnicity pay reporting. Mandatory reporting of data, and the associated narrative that shows understanding of the data and the actions being taken to improve, for both ethnicity and gender pay, will help create fairer workplaces and societies and kickstart real change.” Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, author of the 2017 McGregor-Smith review on race in the workplace said:

The CIPD is recommending two additional data points; • The proportion of the total UK workforce from ethnic minorities, ideally in the context of external and regional demographics (i.e. the local communities where companies are based). • The proportion of employees who have disclosed their ethnicity, as low disclosure rates have been a challenge for many employers and can also indicate concern about how that could be used. Good data is a vital tool to profile each organisation or industry sector and create meaningful action plans, and may help explain the nature and causation of any pay differentials and gaps by ethnic group evident in the statistics.

“It must be a collective goal that our organisations reflect the communities we live in and mandatory ethnicity pay data gives businesses, investors, and regulators the tools they need to see the current reality and where changes need to happen. It’s only once we see organisations publicly start to report the diversity of their workforce that we will see real change start to happen.” Research has found that while most employers (77%) believe that ensuring diversity is a priority, only 36% collect and analyse data to identify differences in pay and progression for employees from different ethnic groups. The type of data collected is also an issue if it is to be useful. Uniform, commonly defined statistics, in line with six data points organisations are already collecting for gender pay gap reporting: median ethnicity pay gap; mean ethnicity pay gap; median bonus gap; mean bonus gap; bonus proportions and quartile pay bands.

“Mandatory reporting… and the associated narrative that shows understanding of the data and the actions being taken to improve, will help create fairer workplaces and societies and kickstart real change.” 51


s COVID restrictions begin to lift in the UK, we have to hope that the end is in sight and the creative sector, which was so badly hit during the pandemic, can start to rebuild and recruit once again. At Creative & Cultural Skills, we are committed to ensuring that this rebuilding will be led by initiatives such as Creative Kickstart and apprenticeships, which can give young people from all backgrounds the opportunity to pursue their creative career path, learning and earning at the same time. Apprenticeships have the potential to attract a broad and diverse range of talent into our workforce. This not only ensures we can address our sector’s skills needs but can also go some way to helping ensure the creative workforce is representative of the communities it seeks to engage. Our own research shows that employers believe apprenticeships will become increasingly more important in helping to address skills shortages in the future.

The creative sector has already demonstrated its ability to bounce back stronger from major economic challenges. Following the recession in 2008, the creative industries grew exponentially in the years thereafter, making it the fastest growing and second largest sector in the UK economy. An even greater challenge faces the sector now, so we want to help it build back stronger and fairer. Apprenticeships must be part of how we do this. To those who believe the creative industries might be a second-rate option for a career, please think again. The UK’s creative industries are world leading, from our awardwinning television and film, our cutting-edge music, our factual and fictional story-telling, our design that aids everyday living, our architecture, our clothes, the objects we house that help us learn about what has gone before to inform our thinking about the future, our artists who make us question the world around us, and our performers who entertain and challenge us.

Apprenticeships have the potential to attract a broad and diverse range of talent into our workforce. This not only ensures we can address our sector’s skills needs but can also go some way to helping ensure the creative workforce is representative of the communities it seeks to engage. 52

To maintain our status, we must remember to be a sector that is for everyone, by everyone, and with everyone. This means we must open our doors even more widely and remove the barriers that we have placed in the way of diverse talent. We must become inclusive in our thinking and in our actions, which includes recruiting via a range of routes that support individuals to learn and develop in ways that help them flourish. This means ending unpaid work, embracing difference in all its guises, and removing pointless pre-requisites for entry. While we don’t think apprenticeships are a singular fix for our sector’s workforce issues, evidence shows apprenticeships increase productivity, generating on average £26-£28 for the economy for every pound invested in them. Higher level apprentices will earn £150,000 more on average over the course of their career than their academic counterparts, and more than 90% of apprentices will stay in paid employment at the end of their

apprenticeship. No student debt, a salary throughout, a job at the end, and a skilled and diverse workforce to boot. What’s not to like? And for those that think apprenticeships are only for plumbers and electricians, how about training to be a Venue Technician, a Curator, a Jewellery Maker, or an Animator? These are just a tiny sample of the occupations that can be trained for via an apprenticeship in the creative industries. Without diverse voices and experiences to influence thinking, bring out a wider range of ideas, challenge norms and drive change, organisations risk becoming irrelevant. To shine a light on this, we have recently launched a podcast series on the theme of

‘Build Back Fairer’. We talk to professionals from across the creative and cultural sector and hear from young people at the start of their careers, to explore the impacts and opportunities that may have been heightened by, or arisen, during the pandemic. Let’s work together to make apprenticeships and fair access an everyday part of how we operate. At Creative & Cultural Skills, we work to create fair and skilled cultural sector for the next generation of talent by raising awareness and shaping skills, education and employment best practice. For further information, to learn about our current programmes or to contact us, please visit


Education It’s no surprise many young people opt for a career in education. Teachers are there as role models and an inspiration to us all throughout our childhood. They’re a shoulder to lean on, a voice of reason, and they seem to know everything. But why should you choose teaching as your profession? Everyone remembers a particularly good teacher who inspired them and made learning more enjoyable. If you ask most teachers why they decided to teach, they’ll mention the ability to make a real difference in students’ lives. Working as a teacher, you’ll have the satisfaction of seeing the visible results in your students. Unlike some jobs that can be replaced by technology, teaching definitely can’t be, so there’s the prospect of having security in the role. And when you’re a qualified teacher, you’ll be able to work many places around the world.


If you have a desire to progress in your career, teaching has a very clear path to do so. From heads of department to headteacher, there are opportunities to go as high as you’d want to. There will always be a need for good teachers, and there are particular shortages in STEM subjects. Whichever subject you are passionate about, you can use that drive to teach and mentor students, but also nothing encourages you to continue to learn more about a topic than when you’re teaching it. Children are inquisitive, often asking questions you’d never thought of, and this encourages new thinking and constantly prompts you to be up new ideas and technologies.


A message from our Head of Faculty and previous trainees The University of Cambridge teaches Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ PGCE courses in a long-established and fully integrated partnership with a broad range of schools. We have thought a great deal about the PGCE programme itself, from Open Days that enable prospective students to explore options to the development of a highly supportive approach to training. The Cambridge PGCE has an exceptional reputation and leads to both QTS and an internationally recognised PGCE Masters level qualification. We all have our own stories of a teacher who has made a positive difference to our lives. For me, it was an enthusiastic young teacher of social studies who pushed me to ask different kinds of questions about institutional power and inequalities in societies. Without doubt, his passionate approach to teaching us was instrumental in paving an education road that took me on to university, and a successful career in education as a female academic, and now professor. As the Head of the Faculty of Education here in Cambridge, I am proud to say we are committed to encouraging BAME students into our teaching programmes and we are looking at how we can best support them so that they become inspirational teachers.


TRAIN TO TEACH WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE, FACULTY OF EDUCATION WHY CONSIDER A CAREER IN EDUCATION? One of my key reasons for teaching is cultivating the unique abilities of each individual child and seeing them flourish. We strive for academic progress for our students but having an impact on the social development of a child is also hugely motivating – seeing a child hold their head up that little bit higher, having a little more confidence and resilience in themselves and their own ability, and knowing that you were the one who inspired it through your teaching.

Aliabbas, Primary PGCE During my time in sixth form and while I attended my local Mosque, I found that I loved teaching and mentoring students. My biggest motivator for getting into the profession was the lack of South Asian female teachers in my area, Cambridgeshire. From a young age, I often found myself asking the question – why aren’t there teachers who are like me? For me, representation is vital. Currently, as an English teacher and Bangladeshi British and Muslim woman, I am able to discuss and

teach my students things that they might not know. Together we can also erase any misconceptions that they might have. I love that!

Rashida, English PGCE WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE OF TRAINING TO TEACH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE? Choosing to do my PGCE at Cambridge is probably the best decision I have ever made. It is intense, but you are supported every step of the way. What made it special for me was the constant support I got from the Faculty. You spend most of your time on placement, but the Faculty remains very involved every step of the way.

Shola, History PGCE Every point of view was always regarded with respect and value, and everyone was made to feel equal and valid regardless of their background. I really think this enriched the entire PGCE experience, making all of us feel, as individuals, that we really had something valid and significant that we could bring forward into the teaching profession.

Aliabbas, Primary PGCE

The Cambridge PGCE is more than just a course but a platform for professional and educational change, based on vision, support and trust. I believe that those behind the Cambridge PGCE truly care about the profession and the professionals they are training. I will always remember my partnership tutor visiting me and asking if I have asked for a space to pray in. This may seem small to someone else, but it meant the world to me.

Zara, Primary PGCE DO YOU HAVE A MESSAGE FOR BAME PEOPLE CONSIDERING TRAINING TO TEACH? Go for it! You’re such a valuable resource as you bring a different life experience. Do not be afraid or think that you won’t fit in. This profession is about learning as well as teaching. Be willing to take risks and firmly take hold of every opportunity given to you.

Zara, Primary PGCE To my BAME future teachers – we need more of us in this great profession. Representation matters and for those students who are of the same background as you, they

will feel a sense of comfort and understanding that ‘Ah Miss/Sir, she/ he gets me’. I’ve experienced this in my first year of teaching, especially during the month of Ramadan. Aim high, look after yourself and always remind yourself that you can and will do this.

Rashida, English PGCE As a male teacher from a minority ethnic and disadvantaged background, I experience first-hand the significance it can have for children to see a diverse collection of people make up the team of staff at their school; people who they feel they can relate to. Schools are so diverse now and it is incredibly important for children to see that diversity reflected within the staffing and power structure of the school, as an insight into the wider society that they will be integrating into as they continue to grow.

Aliabbas, Primary PGCE

As a sociologist of education, I know one thing that can make a difference to what we think is possible is that we recognise others like us who can act as an inspiring role model. In their comments, we can see that this insight has not been lost on newly qualified teachers coming through our PGCE programme here in Cambridge. At our Faculty, we recognise that it is critical for education providers to actively tackle the lack of representation of particular social groups.

Head of Faculty, Professor Susan Robertson


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Recent Teach First Training Programme graduate Neelam Rajput talks us through her teaching journey, and what working in teaching has taught her

I’m a British Asian, born in Leicester, while both of my parents were born in India. Growing up I would have loved to have learnt and read more books at school that represented my culture and ethnicity. Apart from books by local author Bali Rai, I don’t remember us reading any books that didn’t include mostly White characters or were written by White authors. I joined the Teach First Training Programme in 2017. Before this I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but since being in the classroom, I’ve found my confidence growing so much. I went into teaching so I could have a direct impact on the younger generation and with everything that’s happened in 2020, it’s made me even more driven to inspire my pupils. This year has been difficult for everyone and schools have had a lot of challenges to weather. With COVID-19 leaving many young people out of school for months, many of them have had less access to books and other reading materials. But alongside living through a pandemic, young people have also been witnessing an important moment in history. In response to the most recent Black Lives Matter movement, a brutally honest

conversation around race has finally reached the mainstream. Something which I know could be strengthened with the right education. I began efforts to diversify the English literature we teach in our Leicester school by providing our incoming year 7s with books written by ethnic minority authors. But books are expensive and with limited school budgets, I needed to set up a crowdfunder to get them – putting a lot of energy into plugging our plan on social media. Thanks to a lot of local support, including Bali Rai himself (who donated a dozen of his books) we soon achieved our £1,500 target. The reactions from the pupils has been fantastic. They’ve all really engaged with the books and enjoyed learning more about the authors’ wealth of backgrounds, thanks to the packs we provided. There’s not enough funding to replace books in the curriculum so we’ve been trying to think of other ways to diversify the books the pupils read. Since September we’ve been back in the classroom and I have started a book club with year 7 pupils where we can chat about the books we’ve been reading. Based on my own experience, I wasn’t hugely surprised to read Teach First’s latest report, which

found that the biggest exam board does not include a single book by a black author in their English literature GCSE specifications, and only two ethnic minority authors. This means pupils can finish school without reading a single book by a person of colour. I was drawn to the Teach First Training Programme because of their mission to create a fair education for all. Because of the schools that Teach First place their teachers in, I knew I would make a big impact on the lives of pupils from lower socio-economic backgrounds. When I was at school, coming from a working-class background, I found I didn’t always have as many opportunities as some of my classmates. I wanted to help the pupils in that situation now. For any young people from a BAME background who are thinking about teaching, I would just say: go for it! You can have such a massive impact on pupils and especially pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds. Britain is filled with different histories, cultures and perspectives, so it’s vital that our teachings reflect that. If we don’t educate our young people diversely, they won’t grow to become empathetic, well-rounded members of society – it could make the greatest difference for the next generation.


Realise your potential Could you make the grade at AQA? When people think of exam boards, most think of teachers and academics designing exams. But, in truth, they’re much like any other company and it’s more than just people writing tests for students. As with any modern business, AQA serves an increasingly diverse community and has a multitude of roles that require a small army of employees to deliver. These range from accountants to facilities coordinators, communications specialists, digital and tech designers, HR teams, research teams, as well as all the people that design and create our assessments. So, there are lots of opportunities within AQA that don’t have anything to do with the academic side of assessment. ****************************************** ROB DOUGAN is a Recruitment Advisor in AQA’s Talent and Resourcing Team. Here he shares his story about how he came to work in the world of assessment… “I’d never envisaged working for an exam board when I joined AQA on a temporary contract in 2016. I’d been working in the hospitality industry as a bar/nightclub manager and completing a self-financed CIPD qualification as I was seeking a career change to a HR or learning and development role.”. “That was when I was approached by a recruiter from AQA who had seen my CV on a recruitment site. My only knowledge of the organisation at that time was that it was an exam board and they hired a lot of staff for temporary roles in the summer.” “I was fortunate enough to undertake various temporary roles across AQA before I secured my current permanent position, which helped me understand the many functions required for the successful delivery of exams and see that the people who work here really care about what they do.”


“Although I’ve been at AQA for over four years there are still areas of the business that I’m yet to fully engage with and understand and that’s a good thing. It’s interesting to learn about the work of other departments and always encouraging when they are interested and surprised by some of the work we do.”

“Development and career progression are important to everyone at AQA, with opportunities for further training available and actively encouraged.” “As a Recruitment Advisor, the main focus of my day-to-day work is the recruitment of new examiners required each year to mark AQA’s exams sat by GCSE and A-level students. AQA sets and marks the papers for over half of all GCSEs and A-levels so the task of recruiting examiners is hugely important and vital to the functionality of the organisation. I also support the recruitment of senior examiners that are involved in the creation and production of exam papers.” “Recruitment is challenging and my particular role is testament to that. Recruiting new examiners each year at the volumes we require involves lots of effort, creativity and cross team communication. At times it is stressful, but this is fuelled by a desire to deliver and ensure that students are supported in their educational journey.” “Collaboration across teams and departments is encouraged and a necessity for the work I do, and it’s really useful in helping to recognise how all functions form part of the whole.”

“I feel fortunate to work for an organisation with the values AQA has. I’m also grateful to work within my particular team that is constantly looking for ways to improve, not only at a team level but also in ways that cascade throughout the whole organisation.” “Development and career progression are important to everyone at AQA, with opportunities for further training available and actively encouraged. In the past year I’ve become a qualified workbased coach as part of AQA Coaching Academy Scheme, and colleagues within my team have or are undertaking AQA sponsored qualifications such as CIPD and other courses, including Empowering Women and Change Management.” “There is plenty of opportunity for career development within the organisation, but if I chose to seek a new role outside of AQA I will have acquired skills to thrive my career in the future.” ****************************************** AQA has a board of trustees that come from a range of professional and cultural backgrounds. They are responsible for our overall strategy, policy, educational initiatives and development, and for steering AQA to fulfil its educational and charitable objectives. AMINA MODAN is an Assistant Principal at Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School and recently became one of the youngest ever members of AQA’s Board of Trustees. Despite her youth, Amina has already amassed a wealth of experience in education and assessment…

“As a British-Indian Muslim female from Blackburn, it was a pivotal moment when I graduated with a first-class honours degree from the University of Manchester in 2004. As the first female in my family to have graduated, I realised that class, ethnic and gender barriers could be broken with; hard work, talent, passion, candour, perseverance, prayer and lots of help from others.” “I began my teaching career working as a Psychology Teacher in a Catholic College with the hope to procure two years of experience before pursuing a career in Educational Psychology. However, stirred by the satisfaction, gratitude and overwhelming prospect of shaping young minds, building potential and inspiring the future of tomorrow, I focused on developing a career in mainstream education, not allowing my ethnicity, gender or religion to stymie any progression.” “While continuing to teach, it became apparent there were very few BAME role models for the students. This further fuelled my desire to progress, I completed Qualified Teacher Status, and attained a High Distinction Masters’ in Education. Yet I found the reality of securing a leadership position in a school with very few BAME teachers and leaders to be a struggle. Undeterred, and driven by my desire and passion to offer strategic direction in education, I acquired the role as a Director of Learning in the highest performing school in the country. I continued learning and building on experiences by completing National Professional Qualifications and working as a Senior Examiner for AQA.” “With an intrinsic interest in the role of assessment and using data astutely to maximise progress and monitor learning, I was enthralled in becoming a Board of Trustee member for AQA. I was extremely humbled at the warmth and openness of the organisation when starting the role during a tumultuous year for assessments in a COVID pandemic. I was invited on a panel for International Women’s Day just a day after visiting Downing Street for an International Women’s Day event. Liaising with them on strategies for the Equality and Diversity board has been both rewarding and fulfilling, to see AQA striving to provide BAME parity for its employees.”

“Whilst BAME role models were scarce 15 years ago, I have always been taught to be the change we wish to see. I love my role as an Assistant Principal and Specialist Leader in Education, as it has provided opportunities to support National Professional Qualifications as well as the BAME Leadership Programme for Star Institute.” “I’m excited to have been provided with a platform to offer strategic input at Board level for AQA, as well as recently being appointed as a member of the AQA Curriculum and Assessment Quality Committee. I look forward to continuing supporting in areas of Assessment as well as Equality and Diversity and Customer Relations.” “My advice to anyone who wishes to take up a role in such a field is to: • Ensure you find your anchor in your passion and strength, this will make you relentless to continue. • Find areas you can make a difference and build others in, focus on the goal not the role. • As Ghandi once purported “live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as though you were to live forever” – knowledge is wealth, continuing learning. • As the cliché goes, good things come to those who wait – don’t let any knock backs let you settle for less, believe in yourself, be patient, and know that you can do anything you wish to do.”

RECRUITMENT AND OPPORTUNITIES AT AQA We’ve done a lot of reflecting as a company about the diversity and make up of AQA and, while we’ve always strived to be an inclusive employer, we understand and recognise we can do more. Recently we’ve been updating our policies and practices to ensure AQA appeals to a broad, diverse mix of people, that reflect both our customer base and the local communities from which we draw our talent, so we can grow through the organisation. In normal a year we recruit around 1,000 temporary staff across our sites in Manchester and Guildford and offer a range of temporary positions for people to gain work experience with AQA. These are a great opportunity for people at different stages of their careers to either build upon their CV or experience something new. Due to the cancellation of exams this year we had fewer temporary roles to offer, but we’re still recruiting for permanent vacancies. We’ve been actively recruiting throughout the pandemic and have a range of roles from entry level administrative roles through to more technical and management positions. We welcome applications from all members of our communities and every year attract a really diverse group of people to our temporary and permanent roles. If you want to find out more or are interested in joining AQA, you can find further information, set up job alerts, and keep up to date with latest vacancies at:

“Whilst BAME role models were scarce 15 years ago, I have always been taught to be the change we wish to see.”

You can also find us on LinkedIn company/aqa and on Twitter @AQAJobs


STEM STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. These have always been important subjects, but now more than ever before STEM qualifications are in high demand as the UK seeks to compete at the leading edge of digital research and development and cyber security. The UK has a long history of innovation and being a leader in cutting edge technology. Pursuing a STEM degree offers increased opportunities for women and diverse ethnicities. This also gives any STEM graduate a rich, diverse, and merit-based, environment for working and learning, with the opportunity to make an important impact on society. If you think STEM is only for aspiring scientists, engineers and mathematicians, then think again. There are actually hundreds of specialisations, suiting any student who likes asking questions or being challenged. Expect institutions to offer everything from agriculture, astrophysics and ecology to game development, pharmacology and veterinary studies.


These subjects require a very logical and methodical type of critical thinking. There are right and wrong answers and specific routes you need to take to get to the correct result. These subjects require practise, dedication, creativity, curiosity, and a passion for understanding how things work – and the kind of discipline that the Humanities are sometimes criticised for, and the kind of transferable skills which many employers prize. STEM students learn by research and inquiry. Inquiry requires students to engage in active learning by generating their own driving questions and seeking out answers through research and teamwork. In this way, they can apply what they have learned to daily life.


Promoting diversity and social mobility in STEM


In2scienceUK is an award-winning charity that leverages the passion, knowledge and experience of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) researchers and professionals to unlock the potential of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to progress to STEM degrees, apprenticeships and careers. The charity aims to promote diversity and social mobility in STEM, by supporting and empowering young people from underrepresented groups at the start of their career journey to become the next generation of researchers, innovators and pioneers. The programme provides young people opportunities to gain an insight into STEM careers and research, through inspiring work placements and mentoring, careers and skills workshops, and guidance for university or apprenticeship access. Since 2010, In2scienceUK has provided young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, who are in year 12 and studying at least one STEM A Level or BTEC, with a two week summer work placement and careers, access and employability workshops. 2020 has been a challenging year, with in person work placements cancelled due to Covid-19, but with the support and dedication of our partners and volunteers we delivered an inspiring Virtual Placement Programme, enabling young people to meet researchers and STEM professionals to support their STEM aspirations. In the 2020 we supported 567 young people, 77% were from black, Asian or other minority ethnic backgrounds.

We believe that promoting a STEM education for all, that builds diversity and attracts the brightest students regardless of background and wealth, is vital to drive innovation and success within STEM. Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds face multiple barriers to progressing to university and onto STEM careers which leads to their under-representation in the sector.

“The work done by In2scienceUK is truly excellent, ensuring that the fascinating and rewarding world of STEM study and careers is open to all, irrespective of background or personal circumstances.” In2scienceUK volunteer, 2020 There is an annual shortfall of STEM skilled workers in the UK, with the number of technical jobs forecast to increase (UK Commission for Employment and Skills Report, 2017), and STEM workers typically earn 20% more than other fields (Greenwood et al., 2011). However, under 10% of life science professionals, 15% of academics and 6% of doctors are from working class backgrounds and the percentage of black academics (combining black Caribbean, black African and black other) stands at just 12.5%. In supporting young people from disadvantaged

backgrounds In2scienceUK is addressing two critical challenges; the deficit of STEM skilled workers in the UK, and the need to improve diversity and social mobility within the STEM sector. In2scienceUK is an impact led organisation, and we undertake extensive evaluation of our young people to ensure we are providing the best quality, and valuable support to young people who are interested in STEM degrees, apprenticeships and careers. An independent study by UCAS Strobe found that over 80% of In2scienceUK students progressed to university, and 58% progressed to a top university, with progression to top tariff universities ‘significantly higher’ compared to control students. Our evaluations show that after the programme students are more likely to; feel that people like them work in STEM, feel that anyone can become a scientist or engineer, know a wide range of STEM careers and pathways, and feel confident they can write a high quality personal statement. Since 2010, In2scienceUK has supported over 2000 young people to progress to STEM education and careers and we plan to build on our success to support more young people in the future. The 2021 programme is open for applications from eligible young people in year 12. For more information visit or email If you are interested in volunteering, or partnering with In2scienceUK, please contact

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In2scienceUK participants during their placement.


Magda Ali, In2scienceUK 2014 alumni Magda Ali was a participant of the In2scienceUK programme in 2014, completing a two week placement in the Neuropharmacology department at UCL. She studied biology, chemistry, physics and maths A Levels at a school in London, and had an interest in studying a STEM degree at university. “Thinking back to this time, the idea of attending university was something I knew I wanted to do, because I had this idea that I would stay in education forever, but at the same time the idea felt abstract and almost intangible. I think it was hard for me to imagine myself at university because I did not know anyone whom I could relate to, and also aspire to be like.” Before her In2scienceUK placement, she had the preconception that scientists were like the stereotypical genius, working alone in a lab,


and that research was just to fill textbooks with knowledge. But her In2scienceUK experience changed her perceptions of science, sparking a real interest in research. “My In2ScienceUK experience completely changed my perception of science, I remember feeling like I had uncovered a whole new world where people were using their passion for science to directly investigate new ways to help patients. After the placement I saw what I was learning at school as more than just facts, but as discoveries that may have had real life applications in human health.” Magda secured a place to study Biomedical Sciences at King’s College London, and graduated with a first class degree. “Translational research was a continuous theme throughout the course, witnessing biomedical research first hand during my In2Science placement gave me an experience to relate back to through my studies, something which I think was hugely beneficial.” Following her degree, like many students graduating, Magda was figuring out what her next step would be, and applied for a scientist position at GlaxoSmithKline researching T Cell therapies, a topic she was working on in her final year research project. She worked in the Department of Cell and Gene Therapy at GSK for two years, researching genetically engineered T cells for cancer immunotherapy. To continue her STEM career she successfully applied for a Cancer

Research UK studentship, and is now starting her PhD at the University of Cambridge. “My experience in the pharmaceutical industry has been a steep learning curve, I have been able to expand on a lot of the concepts I learnt during my undergraduate degree to help develop potential therapies for patients – something I have wanted to do since my In2ScienceUK placement. The In2ScienceUK placement broadened my horizon to what I believed a career in science was. If you’re thinking about applying, do so because the experience will change your view of what life has to offer”. For details visit

“The In2ScienceUK experience really solidified my choice of studying a STEM subject at university. It has really given me an insight into how broad STEM is and the amount of opportunities available within this field.” 2020 In2scienceUK student

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FIND YOUR PLACE IN HIGH PERFORMANCE COMPUTING Written by Weronika Filinger and Neelofer Banglawala Have you ever heard of High Performance Computing (HPC)? Even though HPC is at the forefront of many scientific disciplines, driving innovation in many industries, it is likely you have not. HPC is a multidisciplinary field employing cutting-edge computing technology to improve our lives. From weather forecasting, designing new and more effective drugs, safer vehicles and earthquake-proof buildings, to simulating natural disasters and finding ways of preventing them and mitigating their effects. If you are thinking about a career in STEM, sooner or later you will encounter computational science, which, at large scale, will lead you to HPC. 68

High Performance Computing The term computational science encompasses all scientific disciplines that make use of computer simulations to solve complex problems. Why use computers? Because some problems are too big, too small, too far away, too expensive or too dangerous to study otherwise. For example, some biological processes happen too quickly and at a scale that cannot be accurately captured by experiments. Others, like star formation, cannot be observed due to the large scales in time and space. If you could test engine designs for planes, eliminating those that are ineffective, would you insist on building all such designs to test in your lab? Computational science not only allows us to study things that would otherwise be impossible, it also saves us money, time and energy and helps keep us safer. HPC is often referred to as “supercomputing”, but what makes the computing “super”? In short: the sheer size of the systems. The biggest supercomputers have hundreds of thousands to millions of CPU cores! A laptop typically has 4 cores. But how to make use of all those cores to solve challenging scientific problems? That’s what HPC is about – exploiting the computing capabilities of supercomputers to solve the problems in parallel: from designing new computer architectures using novel technologies, to creating new cutting-edge software such as operating systems, schedulers, compilers, scientific libraries and parallelised scientific applications. HPC is so important to advancing the frontiers of science that many countries have their own national HPC service, like ARCHER2 in the UK.

Many roads lead to HPC HPC is truly interdisciplinary and diverse. It is fast-growing in many ways – from the number of new HPC users and developers, through to the disciplines using HPC for the first time, to the complexity of software and hardware solutions. We are also seeing the convergence between Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and HPC. There are therefore many ways to get involved with HPC. You do not need to have a computer science degree or a specific

scientific background to pursue a career in HPC, although this is the typical of many people in HPC. You also do not need to have a PhD or Masters degree. HPC offers a variety of different roles, hardwarefocussed to software-focused, with anything in between. For example, you could be a hardware designer, an HPC system administrator, a developer of software tools or of optimised numerical libraries and novel algorithms or a research software engineer. There are also many different places where you can work – HPC centres, scientific labs, universities, hardware vendors (e.g. Intel or NVIDIA), software companies, industry, financial institutions such as banks and so on. HPC is used everywhere!

“Working in HPC is not just about doing a technical job, also being part of the community.” Diversity and Community Women and minorities remain underrepresented in HPC, and often more severely than in other STEM disciplines. And yet, HPC naturally has the potential to be truly inclusive. Most of our work can be done remotely, we collaborate with people across the world, with many people working in several different countries over the span of their careers. Diversity enriches HPC! The HPC community knows that things need to change. There are a number of organisations like Women in HPC ( and projects such as HPC diversity ( increasing awareness about the importance of diversity and inclusivity in creating a healthy and productive workplace. Working in HPC is not just about doing a technical job, also being part of the community. Even as a student you can be an active member, contribute to events and learn along the way. We know that HPC may be difficult to encounter for some

students, so there are a number of programs associated with different organisations and conferences that help students get started with HPC. Here are two examples. One of them is the Summer of HPC internship program run by PRACE (https:// Another is the student program run during the Supercomputing Computing ( program/studentssc/), which is the biggest HPC conference in the world. The SC21 program promises to have many interesting and useful events – some of them focusing on HPC, and other on skills necessary to thrive in your chosen career, whatever that may be. There are many other events happening both globally and locally, in-person (not during the global pandemic) and online – now that you know about HPC you will be able to search for them. Do not worry that you do not know enough. As long as you are willing to learn you will be fine. HPC is such a fastpaced discipline that quite often it is not a question of what you know but how fast you can learn the things that you do not know. Also, no one knows everything, we specialise in different things and so our colleagues are often the main source of our information. Curious to know more? Have a look at some of the additional resources included below and consider doing a career in HPC.

Useful resources The WHPC website – https:// – includes a wealth of information, as well as mentorship, fellowship and job opportunities. The EPCC website – https://www. – includes information about the work we do, as well as training, education and outreach opportunities. PRACE Summer of HPC – https:// The program offers summer placements at HPC centres across Europe. The applications usually open in January. Student Program@SC’21 – https:// studentssc/. The programme is part of the biggest HPC conference in the world, and offers a number of activities for students.


Faces of HPC

Neelofer Banglawala

Craig Morris

What type of people work in HPC?

Neelofer comes from what you might call a “disadvantaged” background. With no fixed idea about what she wanted to do when she “grew up”, she decided to follow her interests and studied maths and physics at university. As an undergraduate, she learnt to write her first computer program. She enjoyed maths and physics so much she decided to do a PhD, and that is when she came across supercomputers and “parallel programming. She now spends most of her time as a Research Software Architect in HPC and data science, creating and improving research software across different scientific disciplines: from using machine learning to analyse oil wells to the complex modelling of bones using supercomputers. In addition to her technical work, Neelofer has taught many courses on HPC concepts and scientific python. Neelofer’s work has taken her around the world and she enjoys being part of a truly global community. “Working in HPC is exciting as it exposes you to new technologies and the computational challenges at the frontiers of scientific research”.

Originally from Jamaica, Craig has been intrigued with electronic gadgets from a young age, taking them apart, fixing them and modifying them. He began studying Computing and Electronics at the University of Edinburgh but switched to Electrical and Electronics as he was more interested in that. After his Masters in chip design, he saw a vacancy for a computing officer at the University and thought: “computing officer, that must have some electronics in it!” He got the job and has been working in HPC ever since. He is now a Senior HPC Systems Specialist and spends his time working with the latest technologies, whilst addressing the challenges of energy-efficient use of parallel technologies. The projects he works on can be complex and challenging, for example using commercial software and applications with new and unfamiliar hardware technologies, often requiring a steep learning curve, but he enjoys the challenge and knowing that he has provided yet another HPC service to help researchers advance science is very rewarding.

Here are the profiles of three colleagues from HPC centre EPCC:

Weronika Filinger Weronika moved to Edinburgh from Poland when she started her degree in Mathematical Physics, which she completed with an MPhys in 2011. She did not want to pursue a career in Physics, so decided to do an MSc in HPC. It took a year of working random jobs to save enough money to pay for half of her tuition fees, and a loan to pay for the other half. Now, she is an HPC Application Consultant and has been working in HPC for over 6 years. She works with scientific software, but also teaches online postgraduate courses, and is involved in a number of international HPC education related initiatives. She is a core member of the Women in HPC (WHPC) organisation and the co-chair of one of the UK chapters, and her work has taken her to many places in Europe and around the world – including South Africa, Japan, and the USA.

HPC is a career path available to everyone. To see more “Faces of HPC” visit:





 use numerical evidence in a science practical, STEM project or business idea  help your family with budgeting or other money decisions  learn new IT skills such as coding


 follow instructions, making sure you do not always have to be told what to do and when  put forward your own ideas  see something through to the end, and not be put off by setbacks


HOW I CAN DEVELOP THESE SKILLS:  help organise an event or project  plan your revision timetable  calmly change plans if you run out of time, or something unexpected happens



3 WORKING UNDER PRESSURE AND TO DEADLINES  meet deadlines and targets  handle the pressure that comes with meeting deadlines and targets  ensure that you are seen as a reliable person

 think how to make your work even better  put yourself forward when there are chances to learn new skills  share your ideas and use feedback to improve your work


PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS  identify key issues in a problem  use your knowledge and experience when tackling problems  develop and test possible solutions



 respect others  value the skills and experience that different people have  show consideration for the needs of different people

HOW I CAN DEVELOP THESE SKILLS:  work with people who have different skills  make sure everyone is involved in conversations and activities




 finish work before the deadline, using that time to check and improve it  plan and make the most of available time  prioritise your commitments inside and outside school or college

 think about what you and others want and need  ‘give and take’ fairly when working with others

HOW I CAN DEVELOP THESE SKILLS:  look for ideas that benefit others as well as yourself  carry out a school/college enterprise or STEM project that involves agreeing prices  ask a favour of someone, supported by offering something in return

 learn new things  learn from successes and failures  adapt and do things better



 design objects and materials in design and technology  plan a STEM Club project  analyse results in maths or science  evaluate evidence in science or humanities

 finish work without being asked  work without help – but know when to ask for it  suggest new ideas

 plan your work to meet deadlines and targets  organise your own time and coordinate with others  monitor and adjust the progress of your work to stay on track










 use numbers and data to support your work and obtain meaningful information  apply your valuable IT skills




5 COMMUNICATION AND INTERPERSONAL SKILLS  explain and present what you mean clearly, whether written or verbal  do your best to understand others

HOW I CAN DEVELOP THESE SKILLS:  do a presentation or speak with an audience  take part in debates  give instructions to others


TEAMWORK  understand how you and others work best together  get things done when working with people with different skills, backgrounds and personalities

HOW I CAN DEVELOP THESE SKILLS:  plan ahead when working with others  take account of how your team are feeling when you work together

Engineering Sector-wide skills shortages mean there are plenty of opportunities for talented graduates. Estimates are that there will be an annual demand for 124,000 engineers and technicians with core engineering skills until 2024. If you have a mechanical aptitude, love solving problems and you want to earn an above average salary, you should consider a career in engineering. Engineering and manufacturing is one of the UK’s broadest sectors. Almost 5.7 million people work in the sector in the UK, accounting for just over 19% of employment. The application of engineering is all around us, using knowledge of science and mathematics to help improve our lives. Engineers design, create, research and find alternative and better solutions. Nearly all industries require qualified engineering graduates, including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, transportation, automotive, construction, computing and software, defence, electronics, green energies, infrastructure, instrumentation and control systems, communications, nuclear, automation and robotics, to name only a few.


The skills you learn through study and experience are highly sought after by employers, especially analytical thinking, attention to detail, numeracy, communication and technical savvy, all of which are highly transferable skills. Once you start working there are also many opportunities for continuing professional development. To meet the projected demand, the number of engineering engineering apprentices and graduates will need to double The industry is especially seeking to attract more women and students from BAME backgrounds. University engineering and technology graduates tend to earn around 20% above the average over their career. 62% were in full-time employment six months after graduating, compared to 57% of all graduates.



Emmanuel Onumah Geotechnical Engineer Ground Engineering Team Infrastructure UK&E atkins-early-careers

Emmanuel Onumah explains what it’s like working for world-leading design, engineering and project-management consultancy Atkins. Tell us a bit about yourself. I’ve been at working at Atkins for 3.5 years in the Ground Engineering department within our Infrastructure business. I joined as a Graduate from Loughborough University, with a degree in Civil Engineering. After work I like to play a lot of sport, including playing 5-a-side football on a Sunday. As you can imagine during COVID this hasn’t been so easy to access, so I’ve been spending more time riding my bike, learning to play the guitar, and experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen.

“Working for Atkins, I find I’m motivated every day by talented and experienced people around me”. How did you elect for Atkins as your employer of choice? I was attracted to Atkins due to their reputation as a leading Design and Engineering and Project Management Consultancy. After speaking to an Atkins employee at a careers fair during my final year at University, I got an insight into the large-scale projects I could work on, the potential challenges and Atkins culture. The ability to work on a variety of projects and the potential


to progress my career was clear. Now working for Atkins, I find I’m motivated every day by talented and experienced people around me.

What advice would you give young people, especially from a BAME background, that are interested in design, engineering, and project management? Be inquisitive, find out as much as you can about the industry – read about it, ask about it, and speak to people. My uncle was a Civil Engineer and one of my biggest inspirations for my career choice. He taught me about his career and potential paths into the industry and played a key part in my education choices leading to my career in Engineering. Careers fairs, work experience and internships also provide a great opportunity to learn about the types of projects available, and they could help define the right career path for you if you enjoy it. Additionally, getting involved in STEM events can help you to think differently, creatively and provide good examples of the kind of challenges we face in engineering. Having a diverse workforce provides different perspectives on life which can be input into the design and delivery of projects.

What training does Atkins provide for graduates? Joining the Graduate development programme (GDP) you get extensive

training and development to help with your career progression, this is typically geared towards achieving a professional qualification. The GDP gives you access to training, events, and courses throughout the programme, including mentors to support you through qualifications. The ground engineering academy host multiple training and learning events during the year to aid development. Additionally, you can seek the right training for you.

How have you been able to have an impact and share your opinions working at Atkins? Atkins has a range of staff networks to help share experiences, support staff, and influence the business. Recently I’ve been more involved in the Embrace Network (Atkins BAME network) working to understand the challenges employees from minority ethnicity groups face and influencing the business to achieve its ED&I aspirations. We have hosted multiple events all over the world in 2020, discussing Race and Discrimination in the workplace. I supported an event on “What Progress looks like” taking a deep dive in relation to ethnic minorities in the workplace. The support, engagement and allyship from the leaders has been great and will be instrumental in ensuring we all work together towards achieving a diverse and inclusive workplace. I believe more collaborative engagement across companies will help to elevate the engineering industry.

What is it you especially enjoy about your job? My current role is a new challenge to me, working as a Geotechnical Auditor on the M6 Smart Motorway Scheme. I’m responsible for inspecting the construction of the earthworks, retaining walls and structure foundations. With Atkins there’s always something new to

learn. I also enjoy my involvement as part of our Embrace network, making proactive changes towards our ED&I aspirations. I’m excited to see how the challenges of 2020 will play a part in improving our sustainability, adapting to new ways of working, and embracing new innovations and technological advancements.

What would you say to anyone considering a career with Atkins? I would say go for it! Atkins is one of the industry leaders in engineering, with an outstanding reputation. There are opportunities to work on a wide range of projects, offering different challenges. If you’re creative, driven and like a challenge Atkins is the place to be.

Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, is a leading global consultancy, with over 80 years’ design and engineering expertise. Driven to discovering new ways to answer the world’s biggest challenges, they help clients to bring their projects to life and make a real difference to people’s lives globally. Atkins is searching for curious minds who ask questions and dare to do things differently. Graduates have the opportunity to be a part of a wide variety of projects that can leave a lasting legacy, from helping to provide drinkable water in third world countries to solving the energy problems of the future. As a leading international consultancy, Atkins offers graduates the chance to work with major global clients from BAE systems to High Speed 2. Graduates will find opportunities across a variety of areas from aerospace to energy, transport to technology.

In the company of

With Atkins three-year Graduate Development Programme, graduates can be sure that they are in great company. Supported by line managers, senior leaders, the Learning & Development team, and the graduate community. They are part of a diverse environment where wellbeing and work-life balance is highly valued. Atkins offers a graduate experience like no other, where graduates are surrounded by a wealth of design and engineering expertise. For more information, please visit our Early Careers site; atkins-early-careers

Join the minds that see things differently and make an impact on a huge variety of exciting global projects. We’re a prestigious company, with 80 years of design and engineering expertise. With the Atkins Graduate Development Programme, you’re in great company.

To find out more search Atkins Grads

To follow us search Atkins Grads:


Water & Energy The Water and Energy sectors cover areas such as electricity, renewable energy oil and gas companies. With renewable energy sources and digital technology transforming the sector, many graduate careers have a strong focus on the delivery of power and water to customers. Other roles include engineering, finance, HR, information technology, marketing and PR, management, research, sales and trading. When you think of the energy and utilities sectors one of the big suppliers might cross your mind i.e. Centrica (British Gas), E.ON, EDF Energy, Npower, ScottishPower, Anglian Water and Thames Water. However, many other recruiters also have a presence in the UK, such as AECOM, BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, National Grid plc, Shell, Total, Severn Trent Water, etc, and most have apprenticeship schemes. These are often found in engineering disciplines, but also cover a range of other job roles. There are many opportunities to work in the sector, although a lot of roles, require an accredited degree or postgraduate qualification in a specific engineering discipline (like chemical, electrical or mechanical engineering).


For commercial roles in marketing, sales and HR, any degree subject is accepted. Business, accounting or numerical degrees are often preferred when it comes to finance and trading jobs. There are a growing number of companies that are diverting their focus to environmentally friendly renewable technology. Companies are looking to hire young enthusiastic individuals. It’s estimated that the UK’s renewables industry alone could soon support up to 400,000 jobs. If you feel passionate about climate change and you want to make a difference to the environment then this sector may provide the opportunity you have been looking for.


MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE WATER SECTOR Lila Thompson is the chief executive of British Water, a trade association for the UK water supply chain that helps members grow and develop their business at home and internationally Water is at the forefront of addressing climate change and building a resilient economy and is one of the most exciting sectors to work in right now.

and digital development are just two areas where new talent and ideas are needed, both at home and globally.

It is a fantastic time to join – water is undergoing a technological transformation but with an expected skills shortage of 27,000 people over the next decade, the sector needs new talent to take it forward.

For me, it was international trade that led me to the water industry 15 years ago, when I joined British Water as international director, coming from the Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI), where I was head of international business.

Both in the UK and internationally, water is at the heart of the postCOVID green recovery and is embedded in all aspects of development and economic growth. From science, technology and engineering to economics, resilience planning and project management, the potential career routes are incredibly varied. Data analytics

I did not always know what career I wanted to pursue and took a job in the insurance sector after leaving college. It was after moving to the Overseas Trade Services Department as the Country Manager for Lebanon and Syria – now known as the Department for International Trade – that I realised international trade was the perfect fit for me.


I took a diploma in international trade, attending evening classes whilst travelling extensively in a full time role. Encouraged by my lecturer, I then went on to gain a degree in economics at Birkbeck University of London, while still at the Overseas Trade Services Department. My subsequent civil service roles included a secondment to the British High Commission in Pakistan and Country Manager for the United Arab Emirates. These visits were exciting and challenging. I was only in my 20s, but I found international trade incredibly fascinating and it completely suited my personality. After moving to ABHI, I had further opportunities to travel in the Middle East, as well as in Latin America and Europe. The confidence and people skills I developed during this time were hugely valuable and put me on course for my current position as chief executive of British Water, a role I took in 2018 and that I absolutely love. In business, I have pushed myself to always reach for the next thing but getting to this point has not always been easy. It can be tough when you’re the only person of colour in the room. At times I’ve felt undervalued

and underappreciated and I’ve had to deal with racism, in the UK and overseas. However, while I’ve encountered some people who wanted to discourage my progression, I’ve always found more people from all types of backgrounds who have actively supported me – often without me being initially aware.

reflected in our industry and I am proud to join this campaign.

business, finance, communication, leadership and diplomacy.

It is great to see other companies in the water community, including Pennon PLC, have done the same and I hope this will encourage a younger, more diverse workforce to consider joining our industry.

Throughout my working life, all my experiences, good and bad, have been pivotal to my journey. If I hadn’t taken one step, I wouldn’t have got to the next. The challenges have helped build and strengthen my character, enabling me to strive to be the best leader I can be today. Keep going, stay focused and don’t give up.

“All my experiences, good and bad, have been pivotal to my journey. If I hadn’t taken one step, I wouldn’t have got to the next.”

Throughout the highs and lows, I have kept my focus on what I wanted to achieve and retained my courage and determination to keep going. The desire to make a difference has always been a significant driver for me and is why, as a water industry leader, I have established campaigns and partnerships to make the sector more inclusive. For example, in February 2021, British Water became the latest organisation to pledge its support to the Change the Race Ratio campaign ( Initiated by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the campaign aims to increase racial and ethnic participation in UK businesses at senior leadership and board level. British Water recognises the lack of ethnic diversity on UK boards is

British Water’s support of Change the Race Ratio is its latest commitment to create a more inclusive workforce. In 2018, the association launched its Women on Water campaign and in 2020, signed up to the 30% Club mentoring programme. It is currently preparing to launch a 2021 diversity and equality campaign.

For anyone who sees themselves as a leader of tomorrow, I would encourage you to be courageous and take the steps to explore and find the career options that best suit you. Always seek guidance and support when you need it. Some practical advice I would offer is to join a governing board – I am a school governor and a trustee at a hospice. This is a valuable way to contribute to your local community whilst gaining real experience in

CAREERS IN THE INDUSTRY: CIWEM (Chartered Institute of Water & Environmental Management) Institute of Water


The UK water supply organisations employ approximately


58,500 People

The workforce in some geographical regions of the UK identifies itself as 95% or higher as white, compared to London, for example, which identifies as 63% white.



U24 63%



8% 15%

97% of Skilled Trades Occupations are male, compared to 90% for all sectors

The UK water workforce is less diverse than the wider UK workforce in terms of gender, ethnicity and disability.

Overall, 20% of the workforce is female, compared to 47% for all sectors


Across the UK industry, 4% of the workforce identify themselves as from a Black, Asian or Ethnic Minority background; compared to 15% for all sectors across the UK.


12% of staff in the water supply industry identify themselves as having a disability, compared to 15% of workers across all sectors in the UK


8% of workers in the water supply industry are under 24, compared to 12% for all sectors


12% of staff have a disability compared to 15% for all sectors

15% of water sector workers are over 55, compared to 19% for all sectors


8% of staff are under 24, compared to 12% in the wider workforce


77% of Managers, Directors and Senior Officials are male, compared to 65% for all sectors

80% male, compared to 53% for all sectors 96% of the workforce is white, compared to 85% in the wider UK workforce


Process, plant and machine operatives are 95% male, compared to 88% for all sectors

Sources: ONS 2017 Business Register and Employment Survey; BEIS Labour Force Survey 2017/2018


Ever thought about a career in the nuclear industry? reasons why now might be the right time…


Written by Callum Thomas​, interviews by Monica Mwanje, Co-founders, Inclusion and Diversity in Nuclear I have been working in the nuclear industry for the last 11 years and, I have to admit, before joining the industry it was never even on my radar as a potential career path. I didn’t really know anything about nuclear and I assumed that only nuclear scientists and engineers were welcome. How wrong I was! I started my career after graduating with a Business and Finance degree working for a large recruitment company in London, where I stayed for 10 years and learned my trade. In 2009 I set up Thomas Thor Associates, a recruitment, executive search and HR consulting organisation dedicated to the global nuclear industry. Now there are more than 80 of us in Thomas Thor, spread over three continents working with organisations in the nuclear industry to help them build teams across a wide variety of disciplines including management, engineering, commercial, safety, design, construction, project management, project control and many more. In 2019, together with Monica Mwanje, we co-founded the not-for-profit initiative ‘’Diversity & Inclusion in UK Nuclear’’ to support the industry. I have been fortunate enough to work with hundreds of organisations and thousands of people from all over the world and I have gained amazing insights into the career opportunities available in the nuclear industry. This may be the first time you have ever thought about this, so here are eight reasons why you may like to look a bit closer at a career in the nuclear industry:



We are in the middle of a worldwide collaboration to achieve the shared ambition of net-zero carbon emissions on our planet by the year 2050. This will mean building as much wind and solar energy infrastructure as possible as well as using every other method we have to generate clean electricity. Nuclear energy has an important role to play as it is a very low carbon source of electricity. Every year more and more people and governments that care about the environment are realising that wind + nuclear + solar is the way to a clean energy future. There are lots of other pieces to this puzzle including hydro power, carbon capture and storage, batteries and many other emerging technologies that could be part of the solution, but nothing meets the criteria of being a proven clean technology that can be scaled up quickly quite like nuclear. A strong part of my purpose in life is to contribute towards net-zero 2050 and I feel that I am making a difference as part of the nuclear industry creating clean energy.




There are currently around 65,000 people working directly in the nuclear industry in the UK (Source: Nuclear Industry Association Jobs Map), and that number is predicted to increase over the coming years.

Historically, the nuclear industry has not been very diverse, but that is changing now. The industry is hiring thousands of people every year and a core objective is to ensure that those joining the industry reflect all communities. Organisations are investing in training and development to build more inclusive cultures and creating inclusive recruitment processes. The government has set targets on gender diversity in the sector (40% by 2030). Our focus within Diversity & Inclusion in UK Nuclear is expanding on this commitment to consider all other forms of diversity in addition to gender, as well as working on inclusivity that is needed to maintain a stable, happy, safe and healthy workforce.


There is a new nuclear power plant being built by EDF in Somerset right now that will generate 7% of the UK’s electricity, with at least another one or two large nuclear power plants in the planning stages. In addition, the government is putting a lot of funding into development of new advanced nuclear energy technologies by companies such as Rolls-Royce. Then there are the decommissioning and environmental remediation projects happening at old nuclear sites that are no longer operating, which employ thousands of people. The UK’s fleet of submarines is being renewed and this will create thousands of jobs in the coming decade. Finally, if you really want to blow your mind with science, do a google search for the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy. The UK is a world leader in Nuclear Fusion, which is recreating what happens inside the sun to create energy here on earth! As well as the organisations whose names you may already know, there are hundreds of small companies doing all kinds of creative and entrepreneurial work. My company Thomas Thor is just one example of a small business built on an entrepreneurial vision in the nuclear industry.



Building new nuclear power stations takes about 10 years, then they operate for about 60 years before being decommissioned which takes another 50 years. Research projects can have 20-30 year schedules and some of the environmental remediation projects have plans that stretch over 100 years! This means that the nuclear industry does not suffer anywhere near as much from economic cycles compared to industries like technology and finance. An added bonus is that because the safety and quality standards are so high in nuclear, the skills and experience you develop are easily transferable to other sectors. The need for highly skilled people means that the average annual earnings in the industry are around £60k per year. Of course, the starting pay is much lower than this, but many career paths within the nuclear industry allow for progression to this salary level or higher.



It was a very welcome surprise to me when joining the nuclear industry to experience the culture of support. At the core of the nuclear industry is the ‘’safety culture’’, which means that everyone in the industry shares the same focus of maintaining a safe working environment. This has led to a unique culture of working together and supporting one another, both within organisations and across the whole industry. There are lots of industry events and associations as well as formal and informal mentoring and coaching programmes.




The nuclear industry is truly global. Many UK firms have significant operations and projects in other countries. Therefore, if you have an interest in combining your career with exploring the world by living and working in other countries then this is another benefit to consider. Because the industry is so international it is common to work in joint projects with people and organisations from other countries. I have personally found this cultural diversity to be an amazing source of learning, about news ways of working as well as different cultures.



There is much cutting edge technology being developed in the industry, in areas such as robotics and virtual reality. Many people, if they even think about nuclear, imagine that it is an old fashioned industry. The reality is that there are many projects that are pushing the boundaries of science and developing new applications.



This is an incredibly active group with the mission ‘’To encourage, develop and inspire the UK’s early career nuclear professionals, and ensure that their voice is heard in shaping the future of our sector’’. The YGN provides encouragement, development and engagement opportunities to the young generation within the sector and, as part of the Nuclear Institute, they have an important voice in the industry. One of the interesting initiatives they are currently leading is the preparation for the COP26 Global Climate Conference that will be hosted in Glasgow in 2021. Find out more about this at ygn-futuresight-countdown-to-cop26

“Apprenticeship schemes were described to me as a way to ‘learn and earn’ at the same time, developing yourself both from a professional and personal perspective. George Garner 81

CURIOUS ABOUT HOW TO JOIN THE NUCLEAR SECTOR? GetIntoNuclear that provides free information and advice about working in the nuclear industry ( Alternatively, feel free to contact me through LinkedIn and my colleagues and I would be happy to provide any further information. Diversity and Inclusion in UK Nuclear has a website (, a LinkedIn company page that you can follow or you can contact us at

CURIOUS ABOUT CURRENT CAREER OPPORTUNITIES IN THE INDUSTRY? The Nuclear Industry Association’s 2020 Jobs Map (https://www.niauk. org/resources/jobs-map-2020/). It shows a map of the UK and which employers are based in your local area that you may like to learn more about or contact. You can visit the websites of the organisations you find to see their current vacancies and recruitment process.

CURIOUS ABOUT HOW THE UK IS INVESTING IN NUCLEAR? The government just released an Energy White Paper: Powering our net zero future government/publications/energywhite-paper-powering-our-net-zerofuture. If you’re interested in more information visit the Nuclear Industry Association or Nuclear Institute websites, or for a more global picture you could look at the World Nuclear Association website. They also run a very good global news site called World Nuclear News.

jobs include: construction manager project management apprentice human resources material science risk practitioner engineering maintenance apprentice geosciences quality assurance business development manager electro technical apprentice cyber security behavioural insight civil engineer industrial safety mechanical engineer process engineer commercial human factors consultants marketing coordinator…

FRANCESCA BRANDFORD-ADAMS CURRENT ROLE Senior Consultant (Nuclear Risk): nuclear and non-nuclear risk strategy consulting

objectives. I also focus on delivering STEM initiatives in the local community, providing valuable insights to our sectors next generation of apprentices and graduates. QUALIFICATIONS


• Level 4 Project Management Apprenticeship Standard (Currently working towards) • APM Project Fundamentals Qualification • Level 3 General engineering (B-tech double diploma) • Core Mathematics • Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) • 8 GCSEs (Grade A-C)

I have worked within nuclear for 5 years & I am currently in my second role



I joined the nuclear industry in 2018 as a Project Controls Apprentice. 2.5 years later I am now in my second role as a Project Management Apprentice.

As part of my Master’s degree, we touched on what was then the plans to build a new power station in Somerset (Hinkley Point C). After graduating I seized the opportunity to apply my skillset in the industry.


QUALIFICATIONS MChem (Hons) Masters in Chemistry with Professional Experience (University of Warwick)

IS THERE A PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO SOMEONE CONSIDERING JOINING THE INDUSTRY? Research. The industry is constantly growing and changing and so there’s always a lot to read up on!

GEORGE GARNER CURRENT ROLE Project Management Apprentice, Cavendish Nuclear / Youth Voice Network Chair I focus mostly on continual business improvement, managing small projects and business winning


When I started my knowledge on the subject was minimal – I knew the basics from GCSEs, but not much else. Working in nuclear runs in my family, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to work in the sector myself. Following a work placement at Sellafield Ltd (aged 15) I knew that the industry was where I wanted to be. The insight into innovation and experience you gain is second to none. IS THERE A PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO SOMEONE CONSIDERING JOINING THE INDUSTRY? Working in the nuclear industry provides invaluable transferable skills, it pushes you out of your comfort zone while still providing you the support you need to develop. My advice would be to grasp the opportunities that are open to you and take the opportunity to work on exciting projects and broaden your horizons.

Inclusion and Diversity in Nuclear aims to provide useful, practical and balanced information and support around D&I. Find out more about nuclear at or email


Health & Social Care If you want to help other people and contribute to their health and well-being, then working in the health and social care sectors could be your right career choice. Top of the list of those regarded as “essential workers” during the Pandemic, workers can expect public plaudits, but also often good renumeration and job security. Whether you’re a nurse looking after patients on the wards, a surgeon carrying out life-saving operations, admin staff who ensure all of the paperwork is complete, or cleaners who are keeping care homes spick and span, you could be part of an amazing team that makes a huge difference to peoples’ lives every single day. The industry offers a wide variety of career routes for candidates from different backgrounds and with different qualifications. A career in healthcare may also lead to a mix of further study with excellent on-the-job training and support for employees, allowing candidates to work towards obtaining specialist professional qualifications and unique skills to extend their careers.


The COVID-19 Pandemic has brought the whole sector to public attention, leading to a reassessment of the importance of previously sometimes overlooked roles, frequently leading to extra funding being allocated. It is also now increasingly recognised that it is vital to create closer ties and synergies between health and social care. The NHS alone employs 1.4 million staff, while the care sector currently employs 1.6 million people. Social care provides a range of services where the health sector leaves off, offering physical and emotional support to vulnerable and older people. Helping people in their own homes or in residential care homes. With an ageing UK population, the sector needs an extra 50,000 staff to fill vacancies over the next ten years.


CARING FOR THE FUTURE A career in Social Care – essential support and a challenge of leadership in a time of crisis

When we look at leadership in management modules, we assert the importance of managers, directors, CEOs and owners, but in social care we must draw the distinctions between tiers of responsibility and demarcations of authority. Clearly, we must have a system which recognises where decisions have to be made, where those decisions rest, and how the foundations of success lock together to build the pathways of successful delivery within individual care services. The Social Care sector has faced many challenges for decades. The definition of what we mean by social care in 2020 bears little or no resemblance to what was described in the National Assistance Act over 70 years ago. The service was set up to support people who no longer wanted to live alone and who had needs which did not require acute interventions or clinical support. The purpose was one of aged retirement services where there was no consistent friends or family support available, and where day centres, home help and meals on wheels were not enough to ensure that the individual felt safe in their own home. Additionally, if the impact of loneliness was such that the mental and physical well-being of an individual was being compromised,


then the need for peer support was assessed as being critical through care settings. The transformation of social care as a service delivery model has been reshaped because of the increased needs of the population we serve. We have moved from a retirement home model to clinical support models within a period of some four decades, and our workforce has risen to the challenge without any formal recognised qualification or acknowledgement. We have had to redefine our roles ourselves based on the profiles of the people we care for, and upskill our workforce accordingly, which has demonstrated the leadership within the sector and the strength of the commitment of all who work in it.

REASONS TO CARE Perceptions of social care as a career are challenging as we do not have a pathway through nationally recognised qualifications, and yet our workforce has had to demonstrate the same skill set as the Health Care Assistants (HSC) in the NHS. The career divide is also one which extends to terms and conditions and of course the pay scales, which in turn create a lack of parity in status and value.

Nadra Ahmed OBE, Chairman, National Care Association

It has to be recognised that Social Care is much more than older people’s care, yet that is what is focused on most. Not only do we employ more people than the NHS but Social Care also have more beds in our services. Furthermore, there are multiple roles which often receive little or no attention or recognition but are crucial to the success of every service. It is therefore important that when looking at career options in social care we need to keep an open mind, play to our greatest strengths and widen our vision. The golden thread that is an essential element in social care is compassion, a foundation without which we cannot create the models of care we need. Whether the role is in catering, housekeeping, gardening, therapy, administration, or an activities coordinator, care assistant, manager or proprietor, without this golden key of compassion you will not be able to fulfil the role. We care for some of the most vulnerable members of our society with very challenging and complex conditions. The only similarity in their circumstances will be that they all need care and support. Every person in receipt of social care has a unique set of needs;

the people who chose to support them must in turn also be unique themselves. Compassion goes across all cultures and ethnicities so it cannot be claimed to be rooted in any one set of people. That said, people from BAME backgrounds often have strong cultural traditions around the importance of the care of elders, often brought about by inter-generational family structures. However, as times have moved so have cultural expectations, and pressures on family life often requires that both partners work. We therefore cannot assume anything, and it is imperative that we focus on personal qualities of individuals considering a career in social care above all else.

A MATTER OF CHOICE It is often noted that social care is not seen as an occupation of choice by Asian communities and those who do will consider social work or nursing rather than social care. This could be due to the fact there is no national qualification which leads to a professional pathway, which parent and peer pressure can direct individuals towards. We also know that many Afro-Caribbeans are drawn towards social care roles within their localities and have deep rooted respect for caring for elders in their society. The fact remains, that as a sector, we have over 112,000 vacancies at any given time; an indication that social care is not a career of choice for all. So, how do we address this in a way which will ensure we meet the growing need for social care projected by Skills for Care in their State of the Sector report? They predict the need for an additional 500,000+ care workers over the next decade or so. We must look at the roles within the sector and how they are perceived, and assess against the reality of what they are. We know that the status of social care is hampered by the fact that there is no clear career pathway and yet it can be a unique apprenticeship to so many roles in health and other industries and sectors. We should work towards a stable professional workforce rather than a transient one. The only way to do that is to create a professional pathway which recognises the status and value of the sector. Once we make this shift we will start to see

leadership roles being recognised and role models emerging. Without this, how do we encourage those who may be seeking employment to see it as a career of choice? We also need to be able to acknowledge leaders in social care as role models to increase understanding of the sector’s contribution in keeping people safe when all else has failed them. The Social Care sector is the parachute which opens wide when you need it. It breaks the fall which could cripple you, and then provides the services to support you within safe environments where a skilled, competent and confident workforce will be there for you. To deliver the care required we need strong committed leaders inspiring a generation of Carers to continue to evolve with the role.

LEADING THE WAY Without recognised leadership our sector will continue to struggle for the recognition and value it deserves. The value of our roles will only come when we ourselves believe that the work we do is crucial and we no longer subscribe to ‘just’ being a carer! What do we mean by the term ‘leadership’? Is it a practical skill or is it a role? There are libraries full of definitions and strategic analysis on the topic of leadership ranging from a directive role to one of working within teams. A good leader will motivate their team towards a vision which they recognise, embrace and develop, which gives them full ownership of the tasks in hand. An exceptional leader directs not dictates on the basis that every individual in the team can reach their full potential within the organisation and the wider sector. If you google the word leadership you will get 479 million results, with each definition being unique in some way. Here are a few of my favourite ones:

I find the notion of an ‘invisible’ leader interesting… it implies that the person is an integral part of the team and so they are leading from within. When we look at social care can we identify the leaders who inspire us to follow, develop and evolve, or are we perceived as a task driven workforce? When was the last time we heard someone talk about the value of the social care workforce before the pandemic thrust a light on care homes? Pre-pandemic we had 120,000 vacancies in the sector and we were fighting for the rights to employ a migrant workforce to fill the gaps post Brexit; but the lack of understanding at government level has set a pay rate which care providers cannot offer based on the fees received within the sector. With the current level of unemployment we are being encouraged to recruit from the domestic workforce, which is always the preferred option, but not everyone can deliver exceptional care to some of the most vulnerable members of our community. So, quite frankly, to assume that anyone can slip into the role is insulting to the dedicated 1.5 million people working in the sector at the moment. In a multicultural nation like ours, we are caring for vulnerable people of all ethnicities, so we need to encourage a workforce that will also reflect that. We must not only create pathways to a career that will be equal to those in the NHS but also recognise the skills of our workforce through pay and conditions. A career in social care should enable every individual to reach their full potential through a structured qualification agenda but also open new horizons which will enhance the experience. We can do this by inspiring great leadership role models in every facet of the service, who in turn will create exceptional teams within their services, who will become role models in their own rights.

‘A leader is best when people barely know he exists...’ – Lao Tzu ‘You don’t need a title to be a leader’ – Mark Sanborn ‘Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality’ – Warren Bennis

Supporting the independent care sector Supporting care homes Supporting home care providers Representing at a national level


Legal The legal sector has long been portrayed as a prestigious place to be. A career in law can be intellectually challenging, personally fulfilling and financially rewarding, with many career options that serve a variety of core and non-core functions. With a multitude of positions and an ever-expanding range of practice areas, law offers you the opportunity to specialise in what you find personally interesting. Family, environmental and criminal law are just a handful of the routes you can go down.

There are several different ways into the profession – from the conventional route of higher education to studying for qualifications in your own time, or getting your foot in the door as a paralegal or legal secretary.

A career within law may appeal to you because of its reputation of being a relatively well-paid and lucrative sector. However, how much you earn depends on several factors, including the type of law you practise, public or private, where you are in your career, and the size of the law firm you work for.

At the heart of the legal professional’s role is client service. There are a variety of roles but the main professional roles are as Solicitors and Barristers. Increased segmentation and specialisation in the legal profession has spawned a growing number of legal specialties and sub-specialties that cater to almost every legal interest.

While most lawyers have studied humanities at ‘A’ level, people come into law from a range of backgrounds including science and creative subjects. Reading and research is required to take in information quickly and efficiently, but you must also be able to listen, understand and apply reasoning.

Within law firms cultures vary widely and it’s important to think about what type of culture might best suit you. Some firms are more traditional and hierarchical, whereas others strive to be less traditional and have in place relaxed policies on things such as dress code and working from home.



FUTURE FACING LAWYERS CMS IS A FUTURE FACING, GLOBAL LAW FIRM that puts the interests of clients at the heart of everything they do across their 70+ offices in 40+ countries in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, South America and Africa. With more than 1000 partners and 4500 lawyers, CMS work in cross-border teams to deliver top quality, practical advice no matter how complex the situation. Diversity and inclusion (D&I) is a vital part of CMS’ success; diversity of thought and the ability to understand different perspectives is crucial in our strategy to adapt, innovate and move forward. What does this mean in practice? We spoke to four representatives from across the firm, who shared insights into their CMS story so far.

capacity to excel in them. Due to the in-depth research I completed in the early stages, when attending assessment centres I was able to prepare confidently, which allowed me to be less nervous and to perform well.

Brightmore Kunaka Future Trainee, Sheffield office

Secondly, I made sure to be myself. There is a myth that you have to pretend to be the ‘perfect’ person to secure a training contract. However, I found being myself helped me to be genuine and allowed me to find the right firm for me.

What made you choose the firm? I was extremely inspired by CMS’s international reach and innovative culture. CMS’ huge reputation, client list and worldwide resources showed its ambitious nature, sparking my interest in the firm. This is because I wanted to be a part of a firm where I would have an array of opportunities and avenues to grow. I was attracted by the firm’s innovative nature and the extent to which CMS embraced new legal technologies. How did you secure your training contract and can you provide any tips to aspiring solicitors? Firstly, I was well organised. I planned which firms to conduct research on based on those that interested me. I practiced a range of psychometric tests and set personal deadlines for submitting applications. This gave me confidence throughout the whole process. I was ready for any critical thinking, numerical reasoning, or other psychometric tests that came my way, meaning I had a greater


where my team advised on the most suitable legal form in relation to the incorporation of charity. In the second half my seat, I was seconded to Lupl, an exciting project which the firm is supporting around the development of a platform for legal matters management. It was a unique opportunity where I got to experience how legal technology can shape and change the way lawyers work. My second and current seat is in insurance. My tasks include legal research, drafting coverage reports, creating chronology of facts, preparing attendance notes, bundling and other case administration work. No one day is the same at CMS! What non-client work have you had the opportunity to be involved in?

Ashley Lu Second seat trainee, London office

Tell us a little bit about the tasks you have undertaken during your training contract so far. During my time in the corporate transactions team, I worked on a few private M&A transactions and corporate reorganisations. Some of the typical tasks I’ve completed include drafting and amending board minutes and other ancillary documents, due diligence, document management and organisation. I was also involved in a pro bono project

I was involved in a trainee D&I project to design a series of webinars for BAME students, interested in applying to CMS. The topics covered in the webinars included trainee skills, application tips, insights into life at CMS and virtual speed networking. Along with four other trainees from the BAME trainee committee, I helped source volunteers and even had a speaker slot during one of the sessions. I shared details of the skills I am developing as a trainee solicitor and answered questions raised by participants. It was the first event of its kind wholly organised by trainees; we were delighted that so many students wanted to find out more about CMS. For further details about future online events, please follow us on social media or join our online talent network.

Shirin Shah Associate, London office

“The younger me was too willing to conform to an image of what I thought a solicitor should look/sound/act like, whereas you do better by being comfortable with yourself.”

What was the transition like from trainee to associate and what support did you receive? Qualifying during a global pandemic has definitely been interesting and not without its challenges! However, as an Associate, I now have more responsibility and interesting work. I’ve seen an increase in client contact and being asked to provide business advice. CMS provides all newly qualified lawyers (NQs) with training from finance through to client management, and within my practice group (Corporate) we have had an extensive training programme. I have regular informal catch-ups with my partner reviewer, an associate buddy in my team and the other NQs which has helped me to embed myself into the team and transition from trainee level. What has been your most valuable lesson to date? Your relationships with your colleagues and clients is as important, if not more than, the quality of your work. Your ability to be reliable, commercially aware and able to develop long term relationships is integral to get the opportunities to progress in your career. Of course, make sure your work is completed to the best of your ability, but bringing your personality to the fore and being authentic, goes a long way.

George Lubega Partner, Sheffield office

Can you tell us about some of your career highlights? Without a doubt, working overseas was a real highlight for me – I have spent time (and qualified in) New York and Sydney, New South Wales and seeing different legal systems and enjoying the cultures of those countries was amazing. I would recommend any private practice lawyer spend some time out of their usual environment – whether that be overseas or on an in house secondment. Of course, as a litigator, there is the inevitable thrill of living a case, often for several years, and then winning at the end. But some of the best and most humbling moments have come through commercial settlements. I will never forget a Financial Director turning to me after I’d exchanged a settlement agreement and saying “thank you…

you just saved 800 jobs”. Those moments are rare but make the job worthwhile. Finally, of course, the moment of making partnership is always going to be special, as a recognition of ability and effort and as the start of a new phase of responsibility and leadership. If you could provide one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be? I’m going to give two, both of which I still remind myself of today, 30 years in. First, keep an open mind/ be adaptable: during a legal career you’ll be faced with lots of critical decisions. I started out wanting to be a corporate lawyer but ended up a litigator because it turned out that I had more flair for it and enjoyed it more. Dilemmas arise like – if I go and work overseas will I be left behind by my peers and will I have a job when I come back. If I leave London will I get work of the same quality? If I made any mistake in answering those sort of questions it was thinking too rigidly and conventionally about what my career would look like. If anything that meant that I made those decisions later than I should have done. Everyone’s experience of a legal career will be different but we all benefit from being able to see ourselves doing different things and being prepared to take risks. Secondly, it is important to be yourself. I think the younger me was too willing to conform to an image of what I thought a solicitor should look/sound/act like, whereas you do better by being comfortable with yourself. Join CMS and you’ll be part of one of the Top 10 Global law firms providing you with access to expertise, experience and opportunities to help shape your future career. The CMS Academy is the main route to a Training Contract at CMS.

For details of their Early Talent programmes, please visit: 91

For an extraordinary career, join a global law firm where you can thrive


It’s important to feel valued and included where you work. For myself, coming from a mixed ethnic background and being a Muslim woman, it’s important for me that I don’t feel in any way hindered by this and that I’m able to work freely and can progress. By having an inclusive culture, you’re able to bring out the very best in people. This will produce an enjoyable working environment, where people with different experiences can provide important outlooks that can be influential in terms of work. I had heard testimonies of how valued the apprentices felt and could see the dedication

that the firm had towards the scheme. Ashurst has numerous support networks in place, as apprentices we have a supervisor who helps ease you in to the work, guides you in terms of managing workloads, and regularly checks in to see how you’re doing with work, study and life more generally. We also have an apprentice buddy and a trainee buddy, both of whom are there to provide advice and support whilst we’re starting out, and regularly check in to see how we’re doing.

CHELSEA KWAKYE | 2ND SEAT TRAINEE Working in a city law firm often means working in a team. In order to perform your best in a team, you have to feel welcome and that your identity and your ideas will be treated with respect. When this isn’t the case, your confidence is stifled and you miss out on a number of opportunities – both of which have happened to me. You only have to think about the number of ideas and valuable contributions missed because a certain environment was not accommodating.


I was a campus ambassador for Ashurst and then completed a vacation scheme before I started my training contract. It was important that I knew the firm, its people and values before accepting my TC – all of which have been positive. Ashurst have particularly been supportive in terms of their D&I initiatives by encouraging healthy and open discussion. By virtue of being a trainee, you are supported in a number of ways from Early Careers to having a supervisor.


Ultimately, diversity cannot exist without inclusion, so if there is a very poor culture concerning inclusivity, you marginalise certain groups of people. Creating a culture that embraces our differences strengthens a work environment in itself from all angles. I am very lucky to work as an apprentice in a firm that does its best to do so. There are different networks and groups welcomed at the firm for example where you can build relationships with people similar to you- and the firm supports and endorses these as a way of empowering diverse voices.

What I love about the firm is that diversity and inclusion is far from just a check box, but more of a vehicle to drive forward a firm reflective of its employees. For example, recently it was Eid, and as part of Ashurst Muslim Network we created virtual resources for people to learn more about the month of Ramadan and Eid for those who may not be aware of the experiences of their colleagues. The solicitor apprentice programme was also a standout for me in terms of the opportunities offered to apprentices throughout the scheme-

such as secondments to in house legal teams. Everyone is very supportive, and I appreciate it especially when people contact me for any opportunities, they think I could benefit from, or anything they believe I could contribute to. Being so young and new to the legal field as a new solicitor apprentice with so much to learn, it is so crucial to have people like that around you that will take the time to ensure your personal development. Essentially, once you join the firm, you join a wider community. You are working alongside the best and most experienced in the field, but Ashurst still places great emphasis on the development of juniors, which has ultimately manifested itself through the amount I have grown and learnt in the past 6 months! The fact that I have not felt the impact of Covid-19 on my education and work life is just purely down to the firm’s continuous commitment to supporting us- whether that be through consistent feedback, catch up sessions, specific training, mentoring... the list is endless.


An inclusive culture is important to me. Without it, diversity in the workplace is redundant. It goes beyond the token presence of diversity, and instead formalises – through policies and practices – respect, equity and positive recognition across all backgrounds. In doing so, it fosters an environment in which the underrepresented feel represented, respected and valued. Naturally, such an environment brings the best out of a diverse workforce by making all employees feel comfortable in bringing their different perspectives to the table, fostering innovation and resulting in a more fulfilling and rewarding working experience.

My first interaction with Ashurst was through a Rare Recruitment programme in 2017, signalling to me early on its commitment to diversity and inclusion. Whilst undoubtedly attracted by the quality of the work it undertakes, it was important I resonated with the firm’s values and culture and my experience on the vacation scheme and training contract so far have confirmed this. Despite having started during the pandemic, I’ve felt incredibly supported by the firm. My supervisors have been committed in ensuring I still receive the best experience possible notwithstanding remote working, and the firm have numerous D&I initiatives to ensure that your opinions are heard.

F O R M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N , V I S I T 93

MAKING A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE As a global top 10 law practice, Eversheds Sutherland provides legal services to a global client base, ranging from small and mid-sized businesses to the largest multinationals. Its commitment to developing a diverse and inclusive workforce is underpinned by its core values of collaboration, openness, professionalism, creativity, and inclusion, which sit at the heart of its strategy. The firm recognises that current levels of ethnic diversity in the legal profession need to increase and has committed to making a positive change. Eversheds Sutherland provides two routes to becoming a qualified lawyer, the Apprenticeship and the Traineeship. We caught up with two apprentice solicitors, Krishan Jadav and Heather Jones, trainee solicitor Stanley Amoh, and associate solicitor Hahmiz Butt to learn about their experiences at the firm. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Heather, what attracted you to apply for a legal apprenticeship? I have always been passionate about the Law, politics and economics. This interest was sparked by taking economics and politics at A-level as it provided me with the opportunity to learn more about legislature and the role of solicitors in our society. Due to this interest, and my goal to qualify as a solicitor, I thought the apprenticeship route would suit me as it gave me the opportunity to gain first-hand experience working in a legal environment while gaining a degree. I also thought that such work experience would allow me to become a more well-rounded solicitor in the future. What have been your experiences of working at Eversheds Sutherland? My experience has been really positive so far. As I started the apprenticeship directly after my A-levels, I had very little experience working in a corporate environment. Therefore I was a bit nervous. However, the people at Eversheds Sutherland were very welcoming and friendly from the start.


How have you found adapting to remote working and how has the firm supported your transition to working remotely? I have found the transition to working remotely very smooth as I was supported by both my colleagues and the firm. I was provided with equipment, such as a monitor and laptop, to set up an office at home. My colleagues also made sure to keep up my training while working remotely so I have continuously had weekly catch-up and training calls and am in constant contact with my team. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Krishan, Eversheds Sutherland was among the first law firms to offer a route to becoming a fully qualified solicitor through its Trailblazer apprenticeship scheme. How are you finding it so far? Has it met your expectations? Yes, so far it has exceeded them! The role is designed to enable you to build real relationships; you are invited to meetings and trusted to communicate directly with clients. My day can involve anything from drafting documents to working on a completion. Pre Covid I had the opportunity to travel to the Milan office, which was an amazing experience and has helped to develop the skills that I will need as I continue with my career. Krishan, I believe you are now the Junior Talent Champion for the Verve Network committee, how

important do you think your new role will be to help shape Eversheds Sutherland’s strategy to increase levels of ethnic diversity in the legal profession? Following our new ethnicity targets for the UK, being 10% ethnic minority partners by 2025 and 14% ethnic minority colleagues by 2022, it is vital that we focus on sub-areas to make sure that these larger targets are achieved. The Verve network – the firm’s ethnicity network which aims to raise awareness and understanding of the experiences of ethnic minority colleagues in the workplace – has approached this by appointing Champions for different ethnicity groups and myself as Junior Talent Champion. It is important to understand that each strand faces its own challenges, and by having Champions in each area, we have developed our own objectives to tackle such challenges. Being an apprentice and having a significant involvement in creating a diverse environment within the firm is important in showing that diversity and inclusion is not something that can only be achieved by individuals in certain positions, but that it can be promoted by anyone and starts with reflection on yourself. What role do you think apprenticeships can play in widening access to the legal profession for ethnic minorities? Ethnic minorities don’t necessarily have the same access to pursue a

Krishan Jadav Apprentice Solicitor

Heather Jones Apprentice Solicitor

career in law, but the apprenticeship gives a real chance at not only having a career in law but also having a career with an international firm that has years of experience to support their development. As we look towards the future generation of lawyers, it’s important that we have a more diverse and inclusive profession. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Hahmiz, what has been a highlight of your training so far? The scale of transactions undertaken has allowed me to work alongside different departments in the office, such as banking and litigation, which has given me a broader understanding. It was important for me to choose a firm that emphasised inclusivity, and from my first day I noticed how approachable everyone was, I felt really included. Eversheds Sutherland is different in that sense because everyone makes time for you, no matter who you are. I’ve visited colleagues in the Hong Kong and Shanghai offices, and despite not knowing me, they were extremely welcoming. What have been your experiences of working at Eversheds Sutherland?

Hahmiz Butt Associate Solicitor

It’s a great place to work if you enjoy a fast paced environment, and the firm is always mindful of people’s welfare and how it can accommodate different working styles. ‘Idea Drop’ is one of our recent initiatives, which allows everyone to make their voice heard. What also stood out for me was the focus on personal and professional development. When I wanted to get more involved in business development events, I was introduced to one of the partners, who is really keen on this. People at the firm want you to achieve and are willing to help you on your journey. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Stanley, what attracted you to apply for a training contract with Eversheds Sutherland? I was attracted to apply to the firm due to its sector expertise as well as its commitment to improving diversity within the legal sector. The wide variety of legal clients provides me with an opportunity to gain deal experience with a wide and global client base from large multinationals to small and mid-size businesses. Eversheds’ combination with US firm Sutherland in 2017 also ensures it is uniquely placed to provide clients

Stanley Amoh Trainee Solicitor

with a distinctive offering driven by technology and sector expertise, a combination that greatly appealed to me. How inclusive is the culture? Eversheds Sutherland is very passionate about inclusivity. The firm has launched a target to increase ethnic diversity in its UK teams. In addition, the firm has committed to voluntarily publishing its ethnicity pay data alongside its gender pay report highlighting its desire to be a firm which reflects the world in which we live in. The firm’s position as a founding member of PRIME cements its aim to support people from a less privileged background and ensures that opportunity is available to the many and not the few. What advice would you give to anyone wanting to apply for a training contract? Focus on your strengths. The firm’s move to a strengths based assessment means there is greater focus on learning more about the personality of the interviewee enabling them to eloquently share their experience and reasons for a career in law.

We are now open to applications for the following programmes: Yr 12/13 Legal Insight Evenings – deadline 14/11/21, 2021 Graduate Insight Evenings – deadline 22/11/21, 2022 Summer Vacation Scheme – deadline 2/01/22, 2022 Apprenticeship programme – deadline 23/01/22, 1st Yr Law/2nd Yr Non-Law Open Daydeadline 06/03/21. We will open to applications for our UK and Middle East Training Contract on 01/03/22. All applications are to be made online here:

It’s a journey, not a destination Koser Shaheen, GLD Lawyer, Chair of EMLD Division, and Law Society Council Member for the Ethnic Minorities Constituency, discusses the rewards and the pitfalls of starting from a BAME background and embarking on a legal career


Your life is just one long, incredible journey not a destination. I have had an incredibly rewarding career and decided to share my journey into the profession so that people who have been in similar situations can see it is possible to achieve whatever you want in life as long as you’re willing to work hard and pick yourself back up after every knock down. When a door is slammed in your face (metaphorically speaking), a window of opportunity is opened. Don’t spend too long worrying about the past and miss the beginning of another wonderful chapter in your book of life. I am the eldest of six children and was born and raised in Birmingham. When I was 11, I was taken out of school and began following the blueprint that had been laid out for my life. At 18, I entered into an arranged marriage and two years later, my daughter was born. Not having an education meant that my career choices were limited. I worked as a mushroom picker, cleaner and clothes packer. After doing these manual jobs for a few years, I realised I wanted an education, a degree and a career. I applied to study a degree in law at my local university in the West Midlands. I took my studies seriously and worked hard throughout university – going to every lecture and graduated with the highest first-class degree in my university that year. While I was still living in Birmingham, I was offered a training contract in London. My daughter encouraged me to go – telling me if I did not follow my dreams now, I never would. I am now a qualified lawyer and have recently accepted a new position at HM Treasury to assist the government with the transition of the UK leaving the EU. I have never regretted my decision to enter the law. The challenges faced by black and ethnic minority students and lawyers are many. From getting the right help at the right time to access to the profession through to recruitment, retention, development and progression.

Access to the profession Ignorance may be blissful, but there is price to pay for naivety. Being the first person in my family to go to uni, an ex-polytechnic in Birmingham, I was very inexperienced compared to others who came from a legal family background, who often had access to privileged knowledge. It took longer for me to understand what was expected of me. It did not

help that my academic courses left me unprepared for the requirements of the real-world profession. The actual and perceived gold standard of Oxbridge and Russell Group remains unquestioned and perhaps wrongly reinforced by the legal profession. Invariably, talented students outside these universities do not see the benefits of targeted legal career information and work placement opportunities. It is a two-way issue. Many law firms target the Russell Group, which prepares its students accordingly. There is no route directly for other universities preparing students for something that might not transpire when it is not pushed for. Many talented students do not apply to universities because they need to support families, or they lack funding. Social class and BAME are inextricably linked, with BAME candidates predominantly drawn from non-traditional backgrounds. To date, candidates from such backgrounds have been less likely to have the right information at the right time. Being privately educated, having family connections, access to extracurricular opportunities and substantive work experience can still heavily influence access and recruitment to legal practice.

“We are seeing concerted efforts by the leaders in the legal profession who are positively promoting integrated culture frameworks within their organisations”

Retention and progression The culture within a firm determines a need for employees to ‘fit in’ with the ethos, aesthetic and cultural ‘behaviours’ of the firm, through looking ‘right’, acting ‘right’ and having the ‘right’ social and educational background. The hardest challenge I have faced is getting over my own stereotypes, accepting myself for who I am and believing myself to be equal to those around me. I think this was because I was a latecomer to law and also because I was then the only lawyer wearing a hijab in the whole office. Perhaps I felt more pressure because I was easily identifiable. Immutable characteristics such as a person’s race and other characteristics such as religion, cultural beliefs, dress sense, the social and educational background could all factor in recruitment decisions. However, corporate cultures are constantly selfrenewing, and the legal profession is no different. We are seeing concerted efforts by the leaders in the legal profession who are, beyond the predictable lip-service gestures, positively promoting integrated culture frameworks within their organisations. However, there is much more to be done on the BAME talent question. The increase in BAME representation is not evenly distributed across the profession

It is not all doom and gloom! BAME solicitors now make up 16.5% of the profession, a considerable increase from 1987, when it was less than 2%. Further, figures for BAME trainee intake varies from firm to firm and there is evidence that more firms are widening their pool and recruiting candidates from nontraditional backgrounds. Whilst hosting celebratory events and marking significant milestones


does have benefits, decision makers must consider promoting more tailored D&I programmes to address the BAME talent lacuna. It is not ‘one size fits all’. BAME members often have intersectionality with other D&I characteristics. They have shared challenges with the majority group, but they can also have individual experiences. To better support the needs of BAME members there is a need to understand the role of intersectionality and its impact. For example, LGBT+ members are generalised as one homogenous group, and little has been done to understand BAME LGBT+ solicitors who, because of their multiple identities, will have different insights/ experiences that have not been articulated or captured. Positivity is on the horizon. I see greater efforts by the legal industry to work towards better integration and diversity. With increasing opportunities post Brexit and growing relationships outside borders, there is a need for lawyers who are au fait with international markets, language and culture.

Things I wish I had known! Be kind. Be helpful. Be honest. Above all else, do not get caught up in my own self-doubt watching everyone else. Take a deep breath and ignore the noise. You are exactly where you were meant to be but also accept that there will be missed opportunities and where you could have done things differently – it’s a long road, but it’s also a journey well-travelled. With the ever reducing the number of training contracts and pupillages it has never been more important to invest in yourself and develop your personal brand. When you enter into any new profession, deficiencies


in knowledge is a given. Your law degree does not really teach you how to practice law. You may have been on point with your courses and assignments – if you study well, you get the grades. However, converting superficial and theoretical knowledge of a lot of law subjects to desirable practical skills is the key to success. We all learn with time and there is no ‘eureka!’ moment, but it does all come together eventually. If you can speed up that process, do it! How? Be Job ready! 1. COMMUNICATING CLEARLY AND EFFECTIVELY IS THE GREATER PART OF THE JOB. First impressions last and can be fateful. Employers will look at your applications in full, not just your grades. Your cover letters should be tailored and not a ‘copy and paste’ job. A bulky CV with unnecessary information may be overlooked. Be succinct and make sure there are no spelling mistakes. You would be surprised at how many CVs I have seen with obvious mistakes, which usually end up in the ‘no’ pile. 2. STRENGTHEN YOUR WRITING, RESEARCH AND ANALYTICAL THINKING SKILLS. Memorising a few templates does not convert to the essential skill sets that employers look for, like contract drafting or research skills. 3. BE READY TO ANSWER THE ULTIMATE QUESTION, ‘WHAT KIND OF LAW ARE YOU GOING TO PRACTICE?’. There are numerous routes open to you but what has become apparent to me is that you will not be motivated if you pick a field of practice that does not fit your personality. Make sure you

research different kinds of law. Work placements, ideally in your second year of university, are great opportunities before you decide. 4. PRACTICE YOUR INTERVIEW AND PRESENTATION SKILLS. Learning how to speak in front of a group is a learned skill. I have seen many lawyers in meetings and presentations talk as if they were totally unprepared. Of course, it is not that they did not know their subject but more that they lacked the skills to convey that knowledge. There are numerous courses on oral presentation skills, I would certainly recommend all would-be lawyers to take some time to develop these skills to enable you to exhibit the confidence of knowing what you are talking about, in making arguments or presentations to clients. 5. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO WIN EVERY ARGUMENT. Exercise your critical thinking muscles and embrace uncertainty. While it is difficult to determine when, the earlier you have the confidence to know when to back down the sooner that you gain that confidence to explore and challenge yourself, these are the characteristics most attractive to employers. Finally, and importantly, a legal career can be demanding and competitive, it is easy to burnout and fall foul of the negative effects of stress and exhaustion. Your study-work-life balance is what you make of it but taking care of your emotional wellbeing is a high priority – even more so in the current climate of remote working and isolation from regular support groups. Make time for yourself. If you are truly struggling, talk to your friends, lecturers or colleagues and get help.

COMMITTED TO MAKING A DIFFERENCE Fiona Fleming is Diversity & Inclusion Manager for BDB Pitmans How important is Diversity and Inclusion at BDB Pitmans and what is your approach? Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are one of the five strategic priorities for the firm. We approach diversity and inclusion holistically – it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure we are building an inclusive workplace and recruiting, retaining, and promoting a workforce that is diverse. We do this through two key areas: education and action. We ensure that all our staff receive training on inclusive behaviours, and continue that education through seminars, webinars, and written content. We also strongly encourage selfeducation. Alongside that, we are committed to action: ensuring we have robust policies, processes, and procedures in place that focus on inclusion and eliminating bias.

You are the new D&I Manager at BDB Pitmans. What does your role entail? It’s really exciting to be the first person in the role of D&I Manager at BDB Pitmans. In a nutshell, my job covers everything related to diversity and inclusion, from developing and implementing our firm-wide D&I strategy to working with our clients to promote diversity and inclusion, and our internal D&I strategy group and employee networks. In partnership with our Business

Impact Groups, I am also responsible for running our annual calendar of D&I-related events, such as our annual D&I Fortnight and Health & Wellbeing Fortnight, as well as, for example, LGBT History Month, PRIDE, Black History Month, and Mental Health Awareness Month.

BDB Pitmans has a number of internal staff networks. Tell us about these D&I initiatives? SHINE is our internal multi-cultural group, established to support all employees at the firm to be their authentic selves and to champion their achievements in the workplace. The group provides a forum for ethnic minority staff to share issues and discuss their experiences in a safe space, and encourages peer support between ethnic minority employees at the firm. SHINE liaises closely with the firm’s D&I Strategy Group to raise issues within the firm of matters affecting ethnic minority employees and to assist in identifying ways in which the firm can support its ethnic minority employees, as well as advising as to how the firm can attract, retain and promote diverse talent. Best Self is BDB Pitmans’ internal LGBTQ+ group, and is the firm’s longest-serving network. The group is open to anyone at the firm identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual,

trans, queer, and questioning, as well as other sexual identities (such as intersex, non-binary, and pan sexual). It is also open to our straight allies. We are also really proud to be a founding member of LeGal BesT, a network of 15 law firms who believe that we can achieve more together to support LGBTQ+ staff. We intend over the next 12 months to expand the number of business impact groups across the firm.

What new initiatives are BDB Pitman’s seeking to launch this year? We have recently launched our first reciprocal mentoring programme, as well as three new business impact groups: Balance (working parents and carers); Breaking Even (gender equity); and Mind+Body (health, wellbeing, and disability). We are also proud to have signed up to The Halo Code (which protects employees with hairstyles associated with racial, religious, and cultural identities), and the 10,000 Black Interns programme, which launches in 2022.

What advice would you give to someone looking for a career at BDB Pitmans? Be yourself. BDB Pitmans really is a firm that embraces individuality, and is committed to building a culture of belonging for all its people. We pride ourselves on being warm, friendly, open-minded, and approachable. We’re not interested in culture ‘fit’: we’re interested in culture ‘add’. For more information about training and careers at BDB Pitmans visit


WHAT DOES THE GLD DO? By Ashley Taylorson, GLD Deputy Head of Communications and Engagement The Government Legal Department provides legal advice to government on the development, design and implementation of government policies and decisions, and represents the government in court. We have more than 1800 employees, around 1300 of whom are solicitors or barristers. GLD lawyers: advise government whether a policy can be implemented under existing legislation; help prepare new bills and take them through Parliament; provide litigation services to government departments; advise and act for government on employment law, commercial law and European law; work closely with ministers, civil servants and Parliamentary counsel.

“I recently joined the Government Legal Department (GLD) and work for HM Treasury. GLD is the largest provider of legal services across government, working with all the main Whitehall departments. Lawyers across GLD support policy officials and Ministers with analysis of the legal landscape, advice on policy options, and the development of a huge range of primary and secondary legislation. It is all very exciting and cutting-edge work.


diverse workforce can increase the capacity for innovation and creativity. GLD is a department committed to diversity and inclusion. In July 2020, GLD joined over 100 companies from across the UK, Europe and other jurisdictions in signing the General Counsel for Diversity and Inclusion’s statement to support diversity and inclusion across the legal sector. GLD is the first government department to sign the statement, which has the primary goal to promote greater diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, and encourages all signatories to share best practice on how to achieve a broader, richer environment and identify systemic issues that hinder progress.


GLD has just been ranked 34th in the Social Mobility Employer Index 2020, improving from 69th place when we last entered in 2018.

Those networks:

The Social Mobility Employer Index is the leading UK ranking of employer best practice in promoting social mobility. Employers are assessed across seven key areas, these include their work with young people, routes into the company, how they attract talent, recruitment and selection, data collection, progression, experienced hires, and advocacy. GLD comes in as the 7th highest Government Department, and the 12th highest law firm in 2020. GLD has also established several Diversity Networks to assist in promoting diversity and inclusion.

• mark and celebrate diversity events and produce regular communications on D&I topics

•`support and challenge the organisation to create a more inclusive culture

• influence policy creation, strategic decisions and training initiatives • champion inclusivity with support from a Director Level champion • provide a safe space for open discussion and debate There are many routes into law and many practice areas. Do consider GLD as one of those possible options. I would recommend it to everyone! “

LIFE AT THE BAR Becoming a QC and my journey to the Bar – an interview with Siân Mirchandani QC, Barrister with 4 New Square

Why was becoming a barrister the right career for you? My family background is British Asian. My father was an immigrant Indian doctor and my Welsh mother was formerly a nurse, then a medical secretary. My father died when I was 12 years old. My brother (now a litigation solicitor and partner at Hogan Lovells), and I were raised in Swansea by our mother. Sadly, the very week in which I had my silk ceremony in March 2019 was the same week as my mother’s funeral. I attended a local comprehensive school and then Emmanuel College, Cambridge. I took the longest, slowest route to the Bar – becoming a veterinary surgeon first. I chose this subject as it appeared to be the most challenging option available, I liked animals and was good at sciences. When I eventually realised that I didn’t want to pursue a career as a vet or in the pharmaceutical industry I sought professional careers advice and undertook several vocational tests. The results of nearly all of these pointed strongly to an aptitude for law. Having spent a few weeks seeing practice with lawyers (both solicitors and barristers), I chose to move to London to take the Common Professional Examination at City University. I supported myself by doing veterinary locum positions at weekends. From there, I went on to the Bar Course at the Inns of Court and then pupillage at 2 Crown Office Row, London (now 4 New Square), still undertaking veterinary locum work until 2000. Following completion of pupillage in 1998 I was taken on as a tenant, and I have remained at 4 New Square ever since. I applied for silk in 2018 and was appointed in March 2019.

What advice and support did you receive along the way? I found my cohort of would-be barristers to be a hugely supportive

crowd. There were others, like me, a bit older, who had already had one career. We kept each other going when at times it seemed we have given ourselves an impossible goal. When I was offered a pupillage, I still did not appreciate how momentous this was – as it had been one of the first assessments I had done. I did not know whether to accept or try for others. I was working to support myself and also working hard on assignments so I had had little time to find out about other sets of chambers (and websites did not exist!). I quickly did a few placements in other sets and realised the true value of what I had been offered and accepted that first offer. It was absolutely the right place for me.

What is it about the profession that particularly suits you? I am a problem solver. I am able to assist others with understanding complex and daunting matters. They do not spend their lives in litigation and their brushes with the law may be deeply unpleasant. I work with a lot of professionals who are perhaps being sued or disciplined, and it is often a shocking or draining experience for them. My role is to reassure them that there is a route through it; that they will come out the other side and will carry on in their profession. Being that person, who charts then steers the course is absolutely the best part of the job.

What are the challenges facing today’s aspiring barristers? The financial challenge is horrifying. I received a full grant for six years of university, with no tuition fees. Funding my CPR and BTC in London myself, with family support, was hard enough, but had I been carrying debts from my earlier career it would not have been possible. There is fierce competition to get pupillage and the level of competition for even mini-pupillages is sobering. I mentor aspiring

barristers and solicitors – their drive, sophistication and industry is remarkable. The future of the Bar is in good hands! There is excellent support and information for aspiring barristers, and significant scholarships from the Inns of Court. Some sets of chambers also offer funding for pupillage and LLMs. These, and funded, assessed mini-pupillages are a fantastic development. I wait to see if these massive efforts to improve diversity and help with adequate funding at the student stages do result in increased numbers of barristers from BAME backgrounds.

What advice would you give to someone from an underrepresented background, seeking a career at the Bar? Your background is likely to have shaped and formed you. Anything that you have overcome to get to where you are is likely to be of interest when you are applying. Tell that story. Tell it well. Really read the questions on application forms! Use highlighter pens to ensure you see what are the “key triggers”. The forms are designed so each answer is marked against a marking grid. If you don’t include the information that is being asked for then you cannot be given the marks. Get someone to read your completed forms and ruthlessly check for spelling, grammar, punctuation and that the question has been answered. No one who leaves in simple errors should be surprised at a lack of success. For more information about 4 New Square and our pupillages visit recruitment/pupillage/


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QUESTIONS IN LAW Mark Neale, Director General of the Bar Standards Board, asks what it’s like being a barrister, and what is being done to encourage diversity and inclusion

I guess you’re reading this article because you’re wondering what a career as a barrister might be like. Strangely enough, I have spent much of this year wondering the same thing. I only took over as the regulator of barristers in February. I’m not a barrister myself. So I’ve been learning about the profession by talking to barristers and pupils (trainee barristers) and by attending lots of professional events. Here are some of the things that have struck me. The first is that barristers care a lot about the independence, diversity and quality of their own profession. Most barristers work for themselves and so can’t rely on an employer to look after their training and development. Instead, many barristers – including very senior ones – help support newcomers to the profession. Some act as pupil supervisors who directly oversee the work of trainee barristers who have joined their chambers (which is what barristers call their offices). Others give up time to train young barristers in advocacy and other professional skills.

So, if you become a barrister, you will have lots of personal support from other barristers who have been there and done that. You will not be on your own. Another thing you will find is that insight is essential to a barrister’s success. You are there to advise and represent your clients and, if necessary, to advocate their cases in Court. So whether your client is a vulnerable person in a criminal or a family case or a company protecting its commercial interests, you have to be able to understand your client’s objectives and talk to them on their terms, not yours. It’s very important that all consumers – whether people or businesses – have access to justice on equal terms. As a barrister, you will play an important role in making good on that principle. You will find too that the work is very varied and challenging. Whatever branch of law you specialise in, no two cases are the same. You will have to work out what the key issues are in each case and how those issues relate to the law. You will have to explain to your clients what the prospects are for their cases. You

will sometimes have to advocate your clients’ cases in Court. You won’t necessarily be working on your own though. In many big cases, barristers work together as part of a team to analyse and advocate their clients’ cases. So teamwork is just as important as individual selfdiscipline. And those teams – and your fellow barristers – will be diverse. They will come from all kinds of backgrounds. Nearly 40% of barristers are women. Around 14% of barristers are from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds – in line with the representation in society as a whole. 6% of barristers have a disability. Now, I’m not going to tell you that we have yet achieved racial or gender equality among barristers. There are still inequalities in the way barristers are recruited and progress. You can read about the continuing challenges in the reports my organisation, the Bar Standards Board, has published on the training and progression of barristers. But I am going to tell you that it is critical that barristers are a reflection of the society they serve and that


we, as the regulator, working with the profession itself, are determined to tackle discrimination and to ensure equality. That’s why we published an anti-racist statement in November setting out what we expect all chambers to do to support equality. That includes auditing their recruitment practices and the way work is shared out. It includes taking positive action to tackle discrimination. And it includes providing anti-racist training for all barristers and staff. Just in case you’re wondering, we’re also doing all these things at the Bar Standards Board itself. So I hope you will pursue your interest in a career as a barrister and, perhaps, be inspired by some of the case studies of successful barristers who have taken this path before you. Here are a few examples:

LESLIE THOMAS QC (GARDEN COURT CHAMBERS) “If you are a person of colour, you may not think that becoming a barrister is for you. There are no two ways about it, the Bar has traditionally been a predominantly white, privately educated and middle-class profession, but it is a profession that is changing and one that I would encourage you to look at and consider entering into seriously. You are needed. The profession needs diversity. Lots of it. My story: I am a black man of African-Caribbean heritage, state


educated, working class roots and First Generation University in my family. But all of these factors I have turned not into obstacles holding me back but positive traits as to why a profession like the Bar needed me, and people like me. The rule of law and practice of law affects us all, regardless of where we come from or what we look like.

“When they put their trust in me what they want is someone who is prepared to go that extra mile and fight their corner.” We all have a right to shape our destiny. As the law is a powerful tool for change, my personal philosophy is therefore why not use it for an instrument of good. In the 30 years I have been practising at the Bar, although at times I have encountered discrimination, I can honestly say the people who have been greatly appreciative of the work I have done have been my clients regardless of what they look, like their social status, gender, sexuality, religion or race. When they put their trust in me what they want is someone who is prepared to go that extra mile and fight their corner. That is what I give them.

The rewards have been amazing. I’m not talking about the financial rewards in being a barrister, but the job satisfaction in knowing that you can really make a difference and be a force for good in other people’s lives. I doubt there are many other professions that can give the intellectual challenge, variety and personal satisfaction that you get doing this job. A life at the Bar has told me that being a member of a particular race or being a certain colour are not job requirements, rather being disciplined, tenacious, hardworking, determined with integrity and a large dash of creativity are the qualities you need to succeed.”

RAGGI KOTAK (ONE PUMP COURT) “I’m a queer South Asian woman, who grew up in London. I’ve been an immigration barrister now for approximately twenty years. I feel very fortunate. It’s a great job. I get to work with asylum seekers, which is such a pleasure, and bring huge change to their lives. It is hard work, particularly in the early days. You have to really want to be a barrister to be successful at it. You have to be willing to show up and do the work. I came to the Bar a little bit late, from a non-traditional route. I left school without many qualifications. Basically, I grew up around a lot of violence and wasn’t really able to

concentrate on studying. I went to do an Access Course when I was 21. Which gave me access to university. I initially studied Business Studies. I then did a one-year conversion course onto law. After this, I had to do a one-year Bar Vocational Course to become a barrister. There are a growing number of barristers from diverse backgrounds. Being a barrister is something that everyone can do. Diversity brings different experiences and resilience, which can give us an edge. We need more diversity in law. If being a barrister is something that really appeals to you. Then I say go for it. It really is an awesome career. It really is a career that is available to us all.”

SARA IBRAHIM (3 HARE COURT) “Becoming a barrister was a path I gravitated towards at University. It offered the promise of being intellectually challenging, whilst at the same time being able to help people solve their real life problems. The Bar gives its members the privilege of advocating for clients who are facing a crisis, such as loss of their job or helping a business recover money owed to them that they need to survive. For those who work hard, you can make a meaningful difference to the lives of those you represent. It is a career where you succeed or fail on your

own merits and that is incredibly attractive, if sometimes testing.

“I would want all BAME students to view any differences as a potential enhancement to what they can offer rather than a disadvantage.” Great strides are being made to promote better equality and diversity at the Bar. Ultimately the Bar wants the most talented recruits and that means encouraging aspirant barristers from all backgrounds. Most importantly, students from BAME backgrounds entering the profession enrich it with their unique perspectives and life experiences. I would want all BAME students to view any differences as a potential enhancement to what they can offer rather than a disadvantage. This is not to say that greater progress cannot be made. However, 2020 has proven a seminal year with the Black Lives Matter movement encouraging the Bar to think deeply about anti-black racism and racism more generally that is faced by BAME members. Like all other candidates, BAME students who want to be barristers need

to be proactive, willing to listen to feedback and dedicated to advancing their client’s case. The spotlight is now on ensuring that students can focus on these matters without being hobbled by concerns about racism or being BAME. What is heartening is the increase of opportunities for BAME barristers in the profession. For the justice system to continue to thrive, we need to ensure BAME students can become barristers and to have successful practices. After 14 years at the Bar, I can say I am proud to be a BAME barrister.” ****************************************** You can find information about the path to becoming a barrister at You will have to have a law degree or a degree in another subject and to have achieved at least a II.2 and then undergo a law conversion course. You will then have to undertake a year of professional training. And you will then have to find chambers in which to undertake your work experience or pupillage. The competition is tough, so not everyone succeeds. But if you do succeed you will find yourself serving the rule of law and the public in a diverse and independent profession where understanding your client and teamwork count for as much as brainwork.


NURTURING DIVERSE TALENT Why Gatehouse is putting equality and inclusion at its core


ased in central London, Gatehouse Chambers (formerly known as Hardwicke Chambers) is a leading, award-winning barristers’ chambers specialising in advocacy and advisory work in construction, commercial, insurance and property law. We are a modern forward-thinking organisation with over 90 barristers and 35 staff working to provide an outstanding service to our domestic and international clients. A moment here to reflect on our own journey to Gatehouse Chambers. During the course of 2020 and the BLM protests following the murder of George Floyd, a number of legal bloggers started to investigate historic legal figures, including Lord Hardwicke, the 18th century Lord Chancellor. Lord Hardwicke was one of two authors of the Yorke-Talbot opinion in 1729 which was relied on by slave owners as providing legal justification for slavery for many years. The premises of Hardwicke Building was named by Lincoln’s Inn and became the name of our chambers when we occupied the building in 1991. Once we discovered the association, the name Hardwicke did not sit comfortably with our values. We were planning to move location by then, and the concept of perpetuating the legacy of Lord Hardwicke by taking the name with


us when we moved was unthinkable and did not make any business sense. The name change and building move enabled us to review our core values and agree on an organisational ‘Gatehouse Chambers Charter’ setting out an internal pledge and one shared publicly on our website. We are the proud winners of many accolades and awards for equality, diversity and inclusion. Barristers’ chambers have traditionally struggled to attract and retain diverse talent. We strive to recruit those who in the past might not have considered applying to the Bar, and then to provide support, encouragement and opportunities to develop and retain that talent. Gatehouse Chambers is committed to promoting equality of opportunity and good relations with all those we work with and for. The journey to becoming a barrister at Gatehouse Chambers starts with training. Those selected for pupillage are supported and welcomed into the collegiate atmosphere. Pupils are treated as part of the team from day one. This first year of training is a chance to explore the things you are interested in. You are exposed to many different areas of law from the very outset. The training period is a chance to work with a range of different barrister colleagues, from those who have just started out in practice at the Bar through to Queen’s Counsel and those who sit as part time judges. The programme encompasses a variety of different

types of training including advocacy exercises and presentations on case law. However, the success of our approach is the investment we make in all those who train with us. In addition to supervisors from different practice areas, each pupil is assigned other practicing members (we call them ‘wingers’) who provide further support; whether that is to listen, answer questions, take them to Court or give them a few words of encouragement when needed. We celebrate training at all levels and in developing the careers of members. We were proud to win awards given by Legal Cheek for Best Chambers for Training and Best Chambers for Colleague Supportiveness in 2021. Alongside our own training programme, we are delighted to be one of the founder members of Bridging the Bar, an initiative aimed at attracting people from minority ethnic groups to consider a career at the Bar, and to invite them in for crucial mini pupillage opportunities. Chambers’ culture is built around its people, its core values and its policies, embodied in our Charter. We believe that policies are not just for show but are there to guide and direct our actions, and their implementation has led to a culture which we consider is positive, empowers and supports all talent and is strongly anti-discrimination, anti-victimisation, anti-harassment and anti-bullying.

Our barristers develop their practices in the early years with opportunities to practice across many areas of the law. From an early stage they have the opportunity to build strong relationships with and represent our clients at the many courts and tribunals around England and Wales (and, sometimes, even overseas). Gatehouse Chambers is proud of the professional management and business support on offer to our barristers and clients. There are many staff roles that contribute to the smooth running of things, from fees collection (debt recovery), office assistants and a marketing team. We advertise widely when recruiting to the staff team. Our Staff Team Mission Statement identifies six key commitments which underpin our work and aims. Drawing from our Mission, we have a shared commitment to learning and developing ourselves and one another. It is important to us that we nurture diverse talent and are proud that many staff members have developed their careers and been promoted within the Gatehouse staff team. We are very proud to have a diverse staff team, drawn from folk from different backgrounds and experiences. We think this helps us stand out. Gatehouse Chambers champions and participates in many equality initiatives including supporting Stonewall, FreeBar, the Women in Law pledge, Black History Month, LGBTQIA+ History Month, Neurodiversity in Law, Freehold, Through the Looking Glass, ERA Pledge, and a number of other initiatives (some in collaboration with City law firms) aimed at promoting diversity in Chambers,

at the Bar and in wider society. Chambers monitors its diversity in terms of sex, gender identity, sexuality, age, race, beliefs and socio-economic backgrounds on a regular basis and is always seeking to learn from that data so as to ensure equality of opportunity at the recruitment and development stages of the careers of its members and staff. That data shows that chambers has barristers and staff from all walks of life, and that diversity is on the increase. We also have an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee and three taskforces with specific remits aimed at identifying and implementing ways in which we can educate and create an organisation with equal opportunities for all staff, members, pupils and those with whom we work. For many years Gatehouse Chambers (and previously as Hardwicke) has been known as a leader at the Bar for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity with a focus on access to the legal profession, youth and education. It is a CSR priority to provide talented people access to the legal profession, particularly those who have not in the past had the opportunity, or do not have other connections. As well as our involvement in a range of mentoring activities, we know that inviting people into our work space to spend time with our barristers, pupils and staff can make a real impact on people’s career choices, and assist them in building a network of contacts for the future. For many years we have run a successful work experience programme which gives students the opportunity to gain an insight into the workings of a barristers’ chambers.

Being a barrister involves hard work, a willingness to speak confidently before others and the judgement to give firm and commercially sound recommendations to clients; it isn’t for everyone. However, nobody is expected to have all of these skills on day one. We look for potential, and the ability to learn quickly from experience. The modern barrister must also be skilled in business development. This is something we recognise as key to career development, and we have systems in place to train and nurture barristers in making high quality contacts and building up a bank of good clients. We therefore support our barristers, but they must also be ‘self-starters’, willing to seize the opportunities that come their way and build on them. You run your own business but you are better when you have a great team helping and collaborating with you! Improving equality and diversity at the Bar is a profession-wide priority, and we consider it vital to be at the forefront of that important process. We have a strong belief that anybody with the necessary ability should have a fair chance at fulfilling their potential and joining what is a very exciting profession. We really would encourage anyone thinking about making an application, who has the ability and drive to succeed, to do so.

A leading set specialising in commercial, construction, insurance and property law +44 (0)20 7242 2523



What measurements are Hogan Lovells undertaking to encourage a more diverse workforce?

How do you make sure your junior employees have a fair chance of progression within your firm?

Hogan Lovells were one of the first law firms to publish gender targets for women partners and in senior leadership positions in 2012. We had 29% women partners in the UK in January 2020 and 30% of women in senior management positions – we achieved this globally in 2017 and have maintained progression with women comprising 35% of these positions as at 1 January 2020.

We’re a signatory to the Race Fairness Commitment, a data-driven charter focused on the recruitment and progression of black, ethnic minority and white employees. With commitments to training, monitoring and mentorship we identify areas for improvement within the firm’s culture and hierarchy for ethnic minority colleagues. We regularly analyse data from recruitment to senior promotion, to identify and address points where ethnic minority talent is unfairly falling behind their peers.

We have set targets for 15% ethnic minorities and 4% LGBT+ partners which represent the firm’s ambition to achieve more diversity in the partnership.

What would you want to say to BAME candidates looking at early careers in the legal profession? Research different law firms, areas of law, and the recent transactions a firm has worked on. Attend firm specific events, ask representatives about their roles and network with the graduate recruitment team to find out what the firm’s looking for in its future trainees. Get involved at university – your extracurriculars and interests make you stand out when completing applications, so take the initiative! The benefit of the current pandemic is the increased number of virtual interactions offered by firms. The Hogan Lovells’ virtual internship includes five trainee level tasks taking you through the life cycle of a deal including an international secondment and a pro bono task with a social enterprise client. virtual-internships/prototype/ PHfPrCtntYfr9gpm4/Hogan-LovellsVirtual-Experience-Programme Hogan Lovells also uses Vantage (, Rare’s online legal recruitment platform to search for candidates from underrepresented groups and universities. We also participate in webinars and events helping us to broaden the pool from which we recruit.

We provide a structured training programme for all trainees including sessions to develop technical and interpersonal skills. Our trainees are assigned a partner mentor and formal appraisals take place every three and six months in each seat during the training contract. We have a structured Newly Qualified Associate recruitment process – roles are advertised, an external consultant delivers interview preparation sessions for the trainees, structured interview or assessments take place, a moderation review panel is in place for all candidates with offers for Newly Qualified roles extended on the same day.

Could you tell me more about your Ladder to Law programme including the background and how effective it is in selecting a diverse group of students? Ladder to Law is a two-year programme run by Rare and Hogan Lovells for Year 12 and 13 students interested in commercial law. Participants develop their public speaking and commercial awareness skills, receive support with university applications including subject and university choices, admissions tests and interview preparation, are assigned a Hogan Lovells mentor and learn from trainees about their work and career paths. Participants complete a weeklong work experience placement, and for the first time, students in the upcoming cohort will receive

coaching from Rare to help them secure first-year opportunities at the firm. We accept applications from Year 12 students at schools and colleges across the UK. From 2021, the programme will undergo a transition with an increased focus on Black students. During the transition, the programme will maintain existing links with the Ladder to Law Partner Schools. We ensure a diverse selection of students by using the Rare Contextual Recruitment System (CRS) software. We can put a student’s GCSE grades into context when reviewing their application by seeing if they’ve attended a low or high-performing school, if they’ve received free school meals, been in local authority care or been a refugee. This information allows us to select diverse, high-performing and highly motivated students to join Ladder to Law and our early talent pipeline programmes.

Could you tell me more about other initiatives you are involved in which feed into the BAME recruitment pipeline at Hogan Lovells? Ladder to Law students maintain their contact with Hogan Lovells and receive intensive coaching to help with applications and interviews for vacation schemes and training contracts. They can also join lawfocused programmes for university students such as Rare Foundations Law, Discuss, a programme for students from lower socio-economic backgrounds who are interested in commercial law, and Articles, a programme targeted at ethnic minority students. Hogan Lovells has a long standing partnership with The Sutton Trust on the Pathways to Law and Plus programmes for secondary school and university students from ethnic minority and lower socio-economic backgrounds. These programmes include work experience at the firm incorporating work shadowing with trainees and lawyers and practical skills sessions to help develop commercial awareness, an understanding of commercial law and Hogan Lovells.


MATRIX CHAMBERS WE ACT ON WHAT MATTERS Matrix is a barristers’ chambers located in London, Geneva and Brussels. We are a group of independent and specialist lawyers with expertise in over 29 international and domestic areas of law including areas related to arbitration, commercial law, crime, employment, media, public law and public international law.

What makes Matrix a great place to work? Being at Matrix means working with barristers who practise at the cutting edge in a diverse range of areas of law. Members have a genuine commitment to a public service ethos and value publicly funded work, public interest litigation and pro-bono work in equal esteem with private client work. We are a community who see each other as colleagues without the hierarchy traditionally in place at the Bar. Our people are encouraged to pursue what interests them and are supported in achieving their career goals.

Why is diversity and inclusion so important at Matrix? Promoting equality and inclusion is one of the core values that guides how we work from day to day. We believe advocating for an inclusive workplace benefits our members, trainees, staff and clients, and teams are measurably more creative, productive, and innovative when made up of a diverse range of people.

How does that work in practice? We aim to achieve a diverse and inclusive workplace though a range of initiatives and positive action, managed by a dedicated Equality and Inclusion Manager. We hold a Student Open Day which gives aspiring barristers from all backgrounds an opportunity to ask questions and gain insight into a career at Matrix. On our recruitment webpage we also include a video with model answers to four interview questions to give candidates an idea of what to expect.


Tell us more about your work experience programme and traineeships. We welcome two GSCE or A-Level (or equivalent) students every other week to get a taste of working at Matrix by watching our barristers in action in court, meeting our trainees, and experiencing a busy office environment. Half of our work experience placements are reserved for those from groups that are underrepresented at the Bar. Our work experience students can also apply to our Future Lawyers scheme which is designed to provide mentoring and training to young people from underrepresented groups who would like to pursue a career in the legal profession. Our recruitment process for traineeships is very transparent; we mark applications blind against a publicly available marking scheme. For more information on the recruitment process please see our Traineeship Brochure here.

Do you have any initiatives in place to tackle the gender gap that has historically existed in the legal profession? Amongst our Junior members, Matrix is close to achieving gender parity, however we recognise that there is still work to be done. Our initiatives in this area have so far included gender roundtables, a Matrix women’s network, and QC application information sessions which women are particularly encouraged to attend. In 2019, Matrix signed the Women in Law Pledge, which is a commitment to taking positive steps to make the

Bar a more welcoming place in which women are encouraged to thrive.

Could you elaborate on what the LGBT+ Network, FreeBar (, does to promote members of the LGBT+ community at the Bar? Matrix is proud to be a founding member of FreeBar and of the work that it has done to date. “FreeBar will soon be launching the Visibility Project, which will profile members of the LGBT+ community at the Bar, present their experiences and show how the Bar is a welcoming and inclusive place for LGBT+ people. FreeBar also puts on best practice events to improve LGBT+ inclusion at organisations, and has created the FreeBar Charter, which outlines best practice guidance for organisations on LGBT+ inclusion.

How does Matrix go the extra mile to level the playing field for disabled members, trainees and staff? Matrix offers reasonable adjustments at every stage of the recruitment process. There is a guaranteed interview scheme for disabled people, details of which can be found on the application form. We also offer reasonable adjustments once people enter the organisation and we are keen to facilitate flexible working.

THE SOCIETY OF ASIAN LAWYERS PROMOTING THE LEGAL PROFESSION WITHIN THE ASIAN COMMUNITY SAL is a democratically run, not-for-profit organisation, formed circa 1990, representing the interests of UK Asian lawyers. With over 2,000 members, it is one of the UK’s largest BAME lawyers’ societies. Members encompass a cross section of the legal world and include partners in high profile city firms, leading barristers and QCs, in-house lawyers, high street solicitors, legal executives, trainees, pupil barristers, students and employees in legal organisations. SAL’s aims and objectives are to:  Promote

the legal profession within the UK Asian community;

 Support, develop and encourage legal career aspirations of Asians to enhance diversity and equality of opportunity within the profession and the Judiciary;  Represent member interests to Government, the Judiciary, the Law Society, the Bar, ILEX, their associated regulatory bodies, and other law related organisations;  Increase

awareness about legal and social issues that interest and affect Asians; and

 Arrange

members’ events to exchange ideas, network and socialise.

OUR WORK Recently, SAL was part of the Solicitors Qualification Examination focus group that helped shape the new solicitors’ super exam that will come into force in September 2021. SAL sits on The Law Society’s Criminal Legal Aid Practitioners’ Group as well as the Ministry of Justice’s Criminal Legal Aid Review Programme Board contributing to the vital work done in the area of criminal legal aid which is in a perpetual state of underfunding.

We also have representation on The Law Society’s Ethnic Minority Lawyers’ Division Committee which works hard to improve diversity and inclusion in the solicitors’ profession. Ten years ago, SAL co-founded the Diversity and Inclusion Charter with The Law Society. The Charter is a public commitment by legal practices to promote the values of diversity and inclusion throughout their business. This is achieved by helping practices with positive and practical action for their businesses, staff and clients.

SAL also runs a full programme of events throughout the year including educational seminars and networking events. To celebrate International Women’s Day in March, we focus on championing and celebrating female lawyers who have risen through their profession. Previous guest speakers include The Hon. Mrs. Justice CheemaGrubb (first Asian Woman to serve as a High Court Judge in the UK), Mrs. Jaswant Narwal (Chief Crown Prosecutor, Thames and Chiltern), Aswini Weeraratne QC (Barrister,


Mediator and part-time Judge) and Rehana Popal (first Afghan national to be called to the Bar and only female Afghan Barrister currently practising in England and Wales). SAL continues to liaise with key stakeholders on the issue of race in the legal profession and supported the Race to the Top event held in Leeds by the SRA which highlighted barriers and how to work smarter to break glass ceilings. On the specific issue of racial prejudice, SAL is currently working with HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) as they seek to address prejudices coming to light following recent cases when HMCTS staff have mistaken black barristers as criminal Defendants (a problem that has also been faced by 33% of members polled). SAL regularly liaises with the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) and ran a series of events in 2017-2018 called Diversity and the Judiciary. These events were designed to encourage and inspire Asians to consider judicial posts. An official from the JAC provided guidance on making applications stand out and what the JAC is looking for in a candidate. The JAC reported an increase in applications from BAME applicants as a result of this and other outreach initiatives. However, only 7% of


Judges are from BAME backgrounds and much more work needs to be done. Achieving diversity in the legal profession is a continuing process that will take time, but together we can make a difference. SAL has members from all parts of England and Wales and this particular event was repeated in key legal hubs around the country including Birmingham and Manchester. Currently, the events programme is online so you can join us from anywhere. In recent years, there has been an improvement in statistics for BAME lawyers entering the profession, but there remains a dramatic drop in the number of female barristers beyond 15 years in practice and very few female solicitor-advocates and barristers apply to be Queen’s Counsel. Similarly, few make applications to become partners in City law firms. Sadly, when one delves deeper into ethnicity at the top of the profession, the statistics make for miserable reading.

“Achieving diversity in the profession is a continuing process that will take time, but together we can make a difference”

Things are however changing; in 2019 (100 years since women were allowed to practice as solicitors or barristers) several magic circle and silver circle law firms announced they would aim to surpass the 100 female partners threshold and a considerable number are well on their way to achieving this, some have already done so. We want to encourage members to reach new heights. Through events like Becoming Silk, we showcased the near mythical creature that is an Asian female QC. There are less than 30 female Asian QCs in the country! Barrister, Sonali Naik QC of Garden Court Chambers and Solicitor-Advocate Sophie Lamb QC of Latham Watkins LLP guided us on how they planned their applications years before actually applying. Russell Wallman, former CEO of the Queen’s Counsel Appointments Commission enlightened us on the interview process. When you think of working as a lawyer in England & Wales, some of you will think about which regional area you want to work in, others will think about how to leverage their diverse heritage and international perspective. For example, there are plenty of foreign law firms in London and opportunities for solicitors at big firms to be seconded to sunnier climes, like the USA, Dubai and Singapore. If this is the area of work

you wish to work in, our advice is think big, think global. SAL’s event about Developing Your Legal Career Internationally highlighted the different pathways taken by leading international practitioners to broaden their caseload. SAL has also been leading the debate on Prevent by hosting events in London and Birmingham. The topic of debate looked into how well the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy was working and if there was room for improvement. Panelists and attendees included leading commentators on the topic and lawyers from across the profession. Have a look at our website to read more about our events programme and some of the key themes and tips that might help you in planning your future career. We regularly feature guest blogs on our website and so you may want to consider writing for us as well. It is a great way to get your views on substantive legal topics published. The calibre of speakers at SAL events reflects the respect the Association has garnered among senior practitioners. We love to hear from our members about events that they would enjoy, so once you have become a member, do get in touch with your suggestions.

MENTORING SAL runs a successful mentoring scheme for all members at all stages of their careers. The scheme is particularly popular with our junior members. Reaching out to someone who is willing and able to mentor you is paramount not just at the beginning but at every step of your career. Applications to the mentoring scheme start in March every year, so look out for this.

STUDENTS SAL holds an annual student event giving a valuable insight into different career paths in the legal profession. SAL is currently working with City University Law School and has co-hosted a series of panel events for their students at the beginning of this academic year tackling topics such as barriers to the legal profession, how to carve out a successful legal career and alternative careers in the profession. 2020 was a difficult year for everyone and SAL has had to adapt to how it operates with all events moving online. With the news of the vaccines, SAL hopes to see its members soon and in any event by the time it hosts its flagship event, the Asian Legal Awards on 16th October 2021 at The Royal Lancaster


Hotel. The global pandemic meant that, regrettably, the 2020 Awards had to be cancelled. The Awards are a vital part of the legal calendar which enters its 26th year. Legal professionals from the Asian community are recognised, championed and celebrated for excelling in their chosen fields. Corporate sponsors for this event in the past have included the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Crown Prosecution Service and LexisNexis as well as many regional firms. Keynote speakers have included the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, the then Vice-President of the Law Society, Robert Bourns, Board Member of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, David Heath and The Director of Public Prosecutions, Max Hill QC.

HOW TO JOIN Hopefully you will agree that there are many benefits to becoming a member of SAL. Membership to SAL is free. You can sign up by visiting and clicking on the ‘membership’ tab. Everybody is welcome to join – you do not need to be Asian. Non-practitioners such as law tutors and legal researchers are also welcome. We look forward to welcoming you as a member.

@socasianlawyers Society of Asian Lawyers Limited Society of Asian Lawyers 113

A Aresponsible responsible choice choice The Most Innovative Law Firm in Europe

A responsible responsible A choice choice What are you currently doing to encourage an inclusive and diverse environment at your firm? Pinsent Masons is fundamentally a 'people' business, working hard to develop and sustain an inclusive and healthy culture which prioritises wellbeing and belonging. This means creating a workplace where people with different talents, cultures and outlooks benefit from working together. Over the last 12 months we have featured in the top 12 most inclusive businesses in Europe in the Financial Times Diversity Leaders Report; been ranked as a top five inclusive employer in Britain for the fifth consecutive year by Stonewall in its Workplace Equality Index 2020; been recognised as a Disability Confident employer; ranked as a Times Top 50 Employer for Women; and as a Top 10 Employer for Working Families. We believe that embedding a culture in which all our employees feel empowered to bring their whole selves to work requires ongoing commitment and the continuous implementation of transformational steps to promote progress.

How do you create a work environment that supports health and wellbeing for all in one of the largest law firms? We are committed to ending the stigma around mental health and promoting good mental health and well being across the business. We have developed a Mental Health Plan; our Disability and Wellbeing Network continues to go from


strength to strength; and we have a growing team of over 300 Mental Health Champions. A wide range of wellbeing, resilience and mental health awareness training is also available to all staff. Over 36% of colleagues joined sessions as part of our annual Wellbeing Month and our response to the global pandemic. We are proud to be a co-founder of The Mindful Business Charter (MBC), a bilateral collaboration between service providers and clients, based on four pillars; openness and respect, smart meetings and emails, respecting rest periods and mindful delegation. By identifying and tackling the root causes of unnecessary stress, the MBC is able to promote better mental health and wellbeing, re-establishing some of the boundaries between our personal and professional lives. The MBC has helped move the dial in respect of attitudes towards mental health and wellbeing in businesses and reducing avoidable stress.

You have made a film – 'Talk about Race' – providing an insight into some barriers your own colleagues have faced. Tell us why you made the film. In early 2018, we formally launched Sun in our UK, Middle East and Australia offices. Sun identifies the barriers to recruitment and career progression which may be faced by people due to their race, colour or ethnicity. Sun aims to create a better balance of race and ethnicity within our workforce and a better workplace for all.

Following an extensive consultation carried out by D&I consultants, Brook Graham, we identified a series of recommendations to be implemented across the firm as part of Sun including the development of our 'We Need to Keep Talking About Race' programme which focuses on upskilling people to better understand the different diversity dimensions in play across our global business. A significant theme that emerged from that consultation was that there seemed to be a silence around race and ethnicity in the legal sector. Some felt that this was due to a lack of confidence around how to talk about race, and others were unsure of the language to use. Many said that myths and stereotypes continued to exist which had the effect of stifling progress. As a result, we created ‘Talk about Race’ using some of the quotes that were gathered during consultation, along with other widely recognised themes from the legal sector. Additional actions include Reciprocal Mentoring, Group Mentoring and Real Role Model programmes. In 2020 we launched a supporting film, 'Talk About Race', to debunk the myths and stereotypes around race. Since launching the film, membership of our FREE (Faith, Race, Ethnicity and Equality) network has increased by 44%. Our work in this area continues and is led by our Sun Delivery Board. Our stance on racial injustice is clear. There is simply no room for racism or prejudice, and we are committed to creating inclusion, respect and a place where differences are valued.

How does your firm ensure that employees affiliated with the LGBT+ community feel included and valued in the work culture? Our LGBT+ inclusion journey began in 2007 with the inception of our LGB Group, now our LGBT+ Network. We began a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of LGB inclusion in the workplace and the network went from strength to strength in that first year. Our first entry into the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index was in 2008, we were the first law firm to make the top 100 and we were recognised as Most Improved Employer.

Sky works to enable women of all ages to develop and nurture successful careers. We have established different groups and initiatives to adopt a strategic and comprehensive approach to this across our firm. These include:  Establishment of senior groups

including our Sky Steering Group, Nominations Committee and 'Issues in Management' group. Collectively, these groups facilitate discussions about gender balance in senior roles whilst ensuring a strategic and transparent approach to senior appointments and addressing any other gender-related issues;

We have continued to be a high performer in the Stonewall WEI Top 100 Employers list, and in 2019 we won Employer of the Year. We have continued our commitment to inclusivity with the launch of a number of initiatives such as staff training focused on gender identity and expression ensuring the firm is an inclusive environment for trans colleagues and clients. This year marks our 13th on the index, we ranked 4th overall, recognised as top law firm once again.

 Creation of a new Global Inclusion

Our active LGBT+ and allies employee network group has a clear focus on intersectionality and offers a range of support and mentoring.

training which tackles unconscious bias; and

How does your initiative, Sky work in order to allow young women to develop successful careers? How does it engage with male employees to raise awareness? The proportion of women entering the legal profession is increasing. However that gender balance is not reflected in the partnership or the senior leadership teams of most firms. We recognise that we need to ensure that our female colleagues are properly supported to achieve their full potential. We are working hard to identify and remove the invisible barriers to recruitment, retention and progression that can hinder talent from progressing at Pinsent Masons. We have been acknowledged for our work on increasing transparency around career progression for women and implementing initiatives to promote gender balance across the business through Sky.

Strategy Group (GISG) with gender balance as one of the key themes;  Introduction of reciprocal

mentoring programme between senior male and junior female colleagues to share perspectives;  Requesting gender-balanced

shortlists as part of our external recruitment processes and internal promotion processes;  Programme of inclusive behaviour

 A series of workshops supporting

women in their careers pathways while also engaging male colleague. Sky is backed by our Female Futures (FF) networking group, which focuses on the importance of gender balance with the objective of making the firm a great place for women to work at all levels. It does this by:  Providing a valuable support

network and a great forum to meet and interact with colleagues from a range of backgrounds;  Hosting a number of events, which

includes training and presentations from inspirational business leaders, along with networking events tailored to each office;  Providing information, advice,

support mentoring and business development;  Acting as representatives of

colleagues and playing an important role in the development of the firm’s policies and initiatives which have a particular gender focus.

Going forward, we will ensure maximum connectivity between GISG, Sky and Female Futures to encourage a truly joined up approach to gender balance. From an external perspective and with a view to the future of the legal profession, one of the many ways we encourage young women to develop successful careers is by partnering with the Girls Out Loud Foundation in Manchester, through participation in the Big Sister Programme. The Big Sister programme complements our existing schools mentoring programme but involves more in depth one-to-one interaction targeted at girls (Little Sisters) who are at most risk of failing to meet their potential. The programme has already seen visible positive impact: 100% confidence improvement in girls; 90% of girls on target to achieve 3 levels of improvement with regard to attainment; and over 90% of girls setting their sights on further education or some form of vocational training.

How does your FREE network tackle the imbalance of minority ethnic group representation in the law sector? We believe that further developing our diverse workforce will make us an even more successful international law firm by drawing on different perspectives and experiences to address our clients’ issues. We know the balance of minority ethnic group representation; particularly at senior levels is a key challenge for most large law firms. Our FREE Network and Sun are critical for us in tackling the structural inequities that exist in the legal profession. FREE provides all colleagues an opportunity to share experiences, helps to raise awareness of issues faced by ethnic minorities, gives people the tools to address those issues and promotes a more inclusive working environment. We believe true innovation can only happen when we nurture a diverse team in which everyone is empowered to contribute to success. If our values resonate with you, we want to hear from you.





BECOMING A BARRISTER Nancy Williams, Barrister and Social Mobility Advocate for the Bar Council, talks about her experiences at the Bar Do you want a career at the Bar? Check out this brochure on the bar council website to guide you on the steps you need to take:

Tell us about your background and why you decided to become a barrister. I was born in Sierra Leone and arrived in the UK on my first birthday. I attended a comprehensive secondary school and local sixth form college. My father became an Immigration Adviser as a result of the challenges he faced finding good quality legal representation for our family whilst we were regularising our immigration status in the UK. I witnessed first-hand the immense gratitude of my father’s clients for his work and the life-changing effect of the law, as it provided individuals with the opportunity for a fresh start after experiencing suffering in their countries of origin. This instilled within me the desire to become a lawyer at a very young age.

Did you face any obstacles along your journey to becoming a barrister and how did you overcome them? I studied law at a predominantly white middle-class red-brick university. This was a culture shock for me. I was a minority on my course and in my hall of residence. I remember vividly a black male in my hall alerting me to the fact that I was the only black woman. I was different to everybody else in terms of my race and socio-economic background. I initially wanted to hide that difference then I realised that my difference was important and should be highlighted. Ultimately, the biggest obstacle that I faced was financial. I did not have the means to afford the training required to become a barrister. Fortunately, I received a scholarship from my Inn which assisted with paying for the BPTC.

What opportunities, support and encouragement did you receive along your journey to becoming a barrister? My Inn offered an interview coaching scheme for aspiring barristers. I have remained in contact with the barrister that conducted my mock interview, he has supported me through the application process by reading my applications and offering advice. Before becoming a barrister, I worked as a paralegal


for 2.5 years at a leading human rights firm. In this position, I had the opportunity to work closely with barristers and develop a good working relationship with some of them. I used these relationships to assist with the pupillage process by requesting mock interviews and review of my pupillage applications.

What are the challenges facing today’s aspiring barristers, and how can they be addressed?

What is the most rewarding thing about being a barrister?

There are various sources of support and information for aspiring barristers. The primary source of financial support is the Inns of Court. The Inns also provide support at different stages of the journey to becoming a barrister through open days, mentoring schemes and mock pupillage interviews. In addition,

I have a common law practice which encompasses family and criminal law. At times, I act for very vulnerable clients. I am glad that I am able to assist them by using the law to try to make their lives better.

The biggest challenge is the fierce competition to get pupillage. The number of graduates from the various Bar schools outstrips the number of available pupillages.

social media is used by many barristers, legal organisations and chambers. It is an excellent tool for self-promotion, building a network and getting exposure to different opportunities and will certainly help provide a competitive edge if used effectively.

What advice would you give to someone from an underrepresented background, seeking to succeed at the Bar? Do not be afraid to share or highlight what makes you different. In a sea of excellent candidates, your difference is what will help you stand out. Don’t be afraid to tell your story!



 The Inns, Circuits, and Specialist Bar Associations provide a wide range of assistance programmes including mentoring. You can find out more about these organisations here.

 Disability panel: The Panel promotes disability access throughout the profession, develops guidance for practitioners and offers advice to law students and barristers. Contact here.

 Cake & Counsel: Peer-based networking and support group for aspiring lawyers. Follow @cakeandcounsel, on Facebook, or Linkedin.

 Association of Disabled Lawyers: the association for disabled lawyers and lawyers with mental and/or physical health conditions. This includes anyone studying or practicing law. Website here. Follow: @disabledlawyers. Contact:

 Bridging the Bar: Working to increase diversity at the Bar. Offers mini-pupillage opportunities, mentoring and support. Mental health support services are also available, for example, Wellbeing at the Bar with sections which provide advice and assistance to pupils and students who have completed the BPTC and maybe struggling to secure pupillage etc.

FOR APPLICANTS FROM A BLACK ASIAN OR ETHNIC MINORITY BACKGROUND:  BME legal: Offers an Intensive Support Programme for those from African-Caribbean and/or low-socio economic backgrounds. Participants on the ISP receive a mentor, five professional workshops, mock interviews and proof-reading of application forms. Follow @BME_Legal and connect on LinkedIn.  BME at the Bar: Events and initiatives to improve diversity and career progression at the Bar, signposting and information sharing between allied networks. Contact:  Bar None: Bar None has just been launched by the Western Circuit to increase BAME representation at the Bar. Email if interested.  Black Barristers Network: Promoting the growth of black barristers through support, visibility and community outreach. Follow @BBN_Tweets  Society of Asian Lawyers: Networking, events, and community.  Black Men in Law: Connection and support for Black men in the legal profession. Follow: @BMLnetwork  Black Women in Law: Connecting Black women in the legal profession: barristers, judges, solicitors, paralegals and law students.


 Legally Disabled: research investigating the negative and positive experiences, choices and views of qualified disabled people working or seeking to work in the legal profession. Website here.

FOR LGBTQ + APPLICANTS:  FreeBar: Promoting LGBT+ equality & inclusion across the Bar

FOR NEURODIVERSE APPLICANTS:  Neurodiversity in Law: Newly founded to promote and support neurodiversity within the legal sector and to eliminate stigma. Follow: @ndin_law, Insta: ndin_law Email:

FOR WOMEN:  Women in the law UK: Events, professional development, and community for women in the legal profession, with a focus on careers, wellbeing, and networking. They aim to inspire, support and connect future leaders in law.  Association of Women Barristers: Offers mentoring, events and support for women barristers, and aspiring barristers.  Women in Criminal Law: Networking organisation helping women from all different parts of the profession get to know and support each other – solicitors, paralegals, pupils, barristers and judges, prosecution and defence, private and publicly funded. WICL Runs a race equality committee specifically for Black and minority ethnic women Follow @womenincrimlaw, LinkedIn or email:


TOP TIPS for working from home Here are my personal tips on successfully working from home. By Ayaz Saboor, Solicitor at DWF TIP 1 – Workspace

This is by far one of the most important pieces of advice I could give you. Whilst it is easier said than done, it is extremely important to set up a dedicated space where you will work from. Get yourself a space in your house where you can have a desk and a chair that will allow you to work comfortably. It is important to still keep your work and personal life quite separate. Having a dedicated workspace will assist in doing this. TIP 2 – Daily routine It is paramount for your mental wellbeing and your overall productivity to maintain a morning routine. Wake up every day at the same time, get yourself dressed and ready, take a walk or read a book and then prepare your workstation for the day ahead. As humans, we are creatures of habit.

whom you form good relationships. Whilst working remotely makes this harder, it shouldn’t make it impossible. When you start in a new team it is up to you to forge those relationships with your colleagues. When you are taking your break, you should try and schedule the same time as a colleague so you could maybe just have a chat and a catch up. TIP 5 – Socialise Dare I say it? Pub quiz. I think it is imperative to arrange and attend socials. Of course, working remotely may be the future, however, lockdown won’t be forever. In fact, at the time of publication (hopefully) we will be out of lockdown. Work is such a big part of all our lives and our careers are what we have worked so hard to achieve – it is important we embrace every inch of it. TIP 6 – Switch off

There are instances in everyday office life, where you will naturally take breaks without even realising. However, at home, you almost feel guilty for taking a break as you ‘should’ always be working.

I must stress that the tips I am outlining are not in any order of importance. If they were ranked, I would place this tip nearer to the top. Remember the dynamic of working from the office. If you are lucky, you would leave at around 6/7 and then go home and enjoy your evening with friends and family and not think about work until the next morning.

You should still take a break. If that means making a coffee and catching up on the news for a few minutes, then do it. It could mean calling up a colleague to just have a chat about any weekend plans etc.

The importance of switching off from work is still necessary. My tip here would be that at the end of the day, switch off all of your work electronics and put them away until the next morning.

TIP 4 – Speak to your colleagues

TIP 7 – Have a weekend

Not being in the office means I miss not getting to speak to the great people I work with. Naturally, you spend a lot of time in the office and you meet some great people with

Your weekend is yours and I advise you keep it that way. Try your best not to blur the lines between home and work life. If your workload allows, do not work the weekend.

TIP 3 – Regular breaks

If in the normal course of your role, you would be working on the weekend because of a deal or busy period, then of course, I suggest you do the same from home. TIP 8 – Communicate up Part of building relationships and trust with the people you work with is by communicating. Starting a new role can be difficult when you are in the office. Starting a new role and working from home is a whole other kettle of fish. One thing I have learned is to speak to your supervisor a lot. Have regular catch ups to discuss your workload. But also use that time to get to know one another on a more informal level, again, as you would in an office. My most important piece of advice here would be to ask questions about the work and subject matter of your role so that you get a rounded understanding. TIP 9 – Exercise Incorporating exercise into our daily routine is paramount to a healthy and productive mind-set. If your exercise is going to the gym, then go and do that. Similarly, get out at lunch time with some lunch and go for a walk. TIP 10 – Get camera ready Getting ready for work as usual is also something that I have found useful. If you stick your camera on, you will find that you can build those relationships that I have spoken about earlier. Not only that, you will just generally feel better in yourself rather than being in the pyjamas that you have worn for the last week (!) For more information about DWF’s graduate opportunities please visit: careers/graduate-recruitment

Bringing your true self to work Cultivating an environment at Sidley where every person can be the most genuine version of themselves is integral to the quality of legal services we provide to our global client base. For more information about careers, email Sidley Austin LLP is a premier law firm with a practice highly attuned to the ever changing international landscape. We have a reputation for working on innovative, complex transactions which makes a career with us interesting and challenging. Sidley maintains a commitment to providing quality legal services and to offering advice in litigation, transactional and regulatory matters spanning virtually every area of law. The firm’s lawyers have widereaching legal backgrounds and are dedicated to teamwork, collaboration and superior client service. Here you will find high-quality work on par with Magic Circle firms and an energetic, meritocratic and supportive environment.

What does Diversity, Equity & Inclusion mean to Sidley? Diversity, equity & inclusion at Sidley is recognised as essential to our everyday business and is driven from the most senior levels of the firm. Our diverse workforce allows us to cultivate a culture where lawyers bring their full selves to work and in doing so bring unique perspectives which means better work for our clients. We have two global committees, the D&I Committee and the Committee for the Retention and Promotion of Women, both of which focus on pursuing strategies that maximise the firm’s success in attracting and promoting lawyers from groups typically underrepresented in the legal profession. Both committees have a direct line of communication

to our Management Committee and our Executive Committee. This means that all voices are heard by the people who make decisions about how the firm is run.

“As a female ethnic minority lawyer, inclusion at work is exceptionally important to me. To my mind, Sidley gets it right. We celebrate those different cultures and experiences that we all bring to the table and I have always felt like I fit in.” Raveena Ubhi

“Sidley have created an environment that respects different cultures and backgrounds to allow everyone to feel safe and included. As an Asian Muslim, this is something I have very much appreciated and am glad to be a part of.” Khalid Hayat

What do you do to ensure you are effectively recruiting a diverse group of candidates? At Sidley, we understand that diversity is a strength. Talent is not dependent on background and we work to ensure that we access a broad range of candidates and assess them equitably. We invest in a number of initiatives to make sure our recruitment is fair for all. Our partnership with Rare Recruitment and its Contextual Recruitment System (CRS) allows us to gather a fuller picture of any application which helps remove barriers for candidates from less advantaged backgrounds. Additionally, we work with Bright Network to ensure that we reach a broad range of diverse candidates. Almost 70% of Bright Network students who interviewed with us were offered a place on our 2021 vacation scheme.

How essential is a culture of equity and inclusion to retaining and promoting diverse talent? Recruiting top talent is essential to our business. In order to nurture that talent we make sure everyone feels comfortable bringing their full self to work. We work to ensure that all our lawyers irrespective of their background are provided with the same opportunities for development and success. However, we pay particular attention to ensure that diverse lawyers receive work of an appropriate quality and quantity, are efficiently mentored by more senior lawyers, are considered fairly for promotion and advancement and are compensated and rewarded appropriately.

Attorney Advertising - Sidley Austin LLP, One South Dearborn, Chicago, IL 60603, +1 312 853 7000. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.


THE 3 THINGS I WISH I COULD HAVE TOLD MY YOUNGER SELF As a novelist and lawyer, I don’t have much time to reflect, but recently at an interview about my latest novel To Lahore with Love by Harvard University Students as part of a book club, I was asked this question. And what a brilliant question it is. Casting my mind back, I recall my younger days being great fun, but also angst ridden. These are things I know now that I wish someone had shared with me in my younger days.


Be brave and don’t be afraid to focus on what you love

Life flies by, and our younger self feels we have years to decide what we want from life. This leads to the almost inevitable decision to do the safe thing now and follow our dreams and passions later. My advice; don’t do that. Explore what draws you, what heightens your curiosity or what you know you are passionate about now. We are privileged to have choices and opportunities, so don’t throw such gifts away. I can honestly say the greatest chance of success comes from finding and doing what you love. I feel gifted as I love the law I practise and it is important to me that basic human rights whether you are black, Asian, female, male etc are not violated. I am also passionate about story and being a novelist is a dream come true. Fiction and story draws me in for many reasons, but the main one is that I believe it is the best medium to express great and profound truths.


Don’t try to fit in – think for yourself

Perhaps the most difficult thing to discover about yourself are your prejudices and fears. And we all have them, whether we are from a BAME background or not. A prejudice is after all a prejudgment, meaning a decision you have made

without considered thought. But such hidden fears will often make us conform to the majority view, even if it isn’t really ours making it doubly hard to discover who we are and what we love. Being able to think for yourself, independently of the pressure to accept the views of others around us is part of becoming uniquely you. And that uniqueness is what ultimately strikes a chord with others and leads to true success.

a majority presents a challenge. So consider your difference a kind of ‘super hero’ training and embrace it whole heartedly. It is a gift. It is only when we are authentically ourselves that we discover true joy and peace. And authenticity is like a halo that everyone can sense, so my advice is to embrace it with open arms.

As the world becomes so digitally connected via social media and so physically disconnected due to viruses and, yes, social media, having the ability to think for yourself without fear of how others will see you is becoming an increasingly rare treasure. Good news, though, coming from a BAME background makes this easier because we’ve had a certain amount of training in being different from the crowd already, so count your blessings. When I look back on my life, it’s plain to see how the times I tried to fit in felt like forcing myself into a dress that was two sizes too small. It was uncomfortable and all wrong.


Embrace your difference and don’t stress

Being from a BAME background is like a secret weapon. Ultimately, we are all carved from the challenges we have had to face and let’s face it, being any kind of minority amongst

The Telegraph quotes Hina Belitz as being ‘practised in the art of writing deeply moving prose’. She is a novelist and a lawyer. Her latest novel is called To Lahore with Love, recently published by Headline. She practises law at Partners Employment Lawyers (part of Excello Law) and is also a committee member of the Association of Women Solicitors.


Mayer Brown offer Training Contracts, Vacation Schemes and Solicitor Apprenticeship Programmes to help undergraduates and graduates kickstart a career in law. Chloe McIntosh, a current Trainee Solicitor, talks to us about the skills and knowledge you’ll need to succeed at an international commercial law firm.

LAW WORTH TALKING ABOUT What in your background made you opt for a career in the legal profession? I am the first person in my family to attend university and the first lawyer in the wider family, so I had not contemplated studying law or pursuing a legal career before a teacher suggested it to me. I was provided with the opportunity to study law at A-level and absolutely loved it. I therefore read law at university and applied to law firms for training contracts.

Why did you think Mayer Brown would be a good fit for you? There were two main reasons I selected Mayer Brown. Firstly, I wanted to join a friendly firm and work in an inclusive environment. As a ‘mature’ trainee (I started my training contract when I was 24), I had worked for multiple companies before joining the firm, and knew how important it is to work for a company where you feel supported and included, especially as a sociallyimmobile, ethnically-diverse woman. From the moment I entered the office during my vacation scheme in 2017, I immediately felt comfortable and welcomed by everyone, from the receptionists to the partners.


Secondly, Mayer Brown is a global, full-service law firm which boasts an excellent roster of clients. Across the firm, partners and associates hold accolades and rankings, such as from Chambers and Partners. As a result, during the training contract, trainees are exposed to high-value, multi-jurisdictional, interesting work.

What training opportunities are afforded to trainees at Mayer Brown? During the training contract, trainees are expected to complete a transactional seat, a litigious seat, and go on secondment (either to a client or to an international office). This ensures that trainees are exposed to a variety of work and network with individuals across the firm and internationally. It also ensures that trainees are wellrounded on qualification, with a solid understanding of how the various areas of the firm interact to offer clients an excellent service. The training is fantastic. During the training contract trainees rotate departments, experiencing four different seats, spending six months in each. At the beginning of each seat we are given a tailor-made training schedule that runs from

Chloe McIntosh, Trainee Solicitor, Mayer Brown

4 to 11 weeks, during which you attend training sessions with associates, partners, professional support lawyers (PSL) and the business services teams. We learn about the relevant laws and regulations and are told how to best support the team. These sessions improve confidence, provide factual and legal background and provide an opportunity to network and meet people in the group.

Which personal qualities do you think have stood you in good stead in your training, and which do you think the process has helped you develop? Perseverance and determination definitely help! The training contract is an intensive two-year programme. Naturally, determined people who like a challenge are drawn to the legal profession, but you have to be willing to persevere with difficult situations. It is no secret that commercial solicitors, like many professionals, often work long hours. This can be demanding, especially when you are new to the profession (as trainees often are), however those who are determined and persevere in difficult situations often gain the most from the training contract.

I would also say good organisation skill are important. Trainees who are able to keep track of the vast number of emails and developments in ongoing matters shine. It is often said that trainees who can do the “small things well”, like assisting with admin tasks such as bundling, will often be asked to do “bigger things”, like drafting agreements. Trainees who manage their personal workload well and who manage the expectations of others excel.

How have you and the Firm coped with the challenges of remote working during the COVID pandemic? Working remotely has presented challenges and opportunities to us all. Obviously, it is a shame we are not in the office and able to enjoy the complete trainee experience, but it has been over a year since we moved to working from home and this is the new normal!

“I am incredibly grateful to work at a firm where I feel confident and comfortable asking for advice and guidance.” As trainees at Mayer Brown, we are still presented with amazing opportunities to join client calls and attend proceeding. Also, the supervision has been fantastic. Working for a firm as friendly as Mayer Brown definitely helps. From the first day, I felt comfortable emailing or calling associates or partners to ask for further guidance or clarification where necessary. I know from speaking with friends

at other firms that this isn’t always the case elsewhere. I am incredibly grateful to work at a firm where I feel confident and comfortable asking for advice and guidance.

Mayer Brown’s London office has a number of internal affinity networks and resource groups, including the Fusion Network, which, among other things, organises activities for Black History Month and celebrates religious and other cultural events. Have you been able to take advantage of these? I am currently co-chair of the Fusion Network. My fellow chairs include another third seat trainee, a partner and a senior manager from a business services department. Together with the committee, we spearhead the Fusion Network, organise events and initiatives and work with colleagues in London and internationally to best represent our colleagues from diverse ethnic minority backgrounds. Collectively, we work to raise awareness and understanding of the diversity that exists across the firm and the steps that we can take to be more inclusive and supportive. We also work closely with other networks in the London office, such as the LGBT+ Network and the Women’s Network. We have organised fantastic events and initiatives thus far! Most recently, we hosted David Stranger-Jones, founder of the Equals initiative, to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Mayer Brown has received many accolades in recognition of their work on equal opportunities, and closely monitor these initiatives. What benefits do you feel these bring to the work environment? Mayer Brown offers a nurturing and supportive environment that welcomes all individuals, irrespective of their background. As a trainee,

I was offered the opportunity to become actively involved in the various networks and initiatives the firm offers. As a result, I now co-chair the Fusion Network and I am an active member of the LGBT+ Network. Sally Davies, the London managing partner at Mayer Brown, recently invited me to be a panellist at an internal event on the importance of social mobility and how we can all play a positive part increasing awareness of social mobility issues. The fact that trainees, such as myself, can become heavily involved in equal opportunity initiatives is fantastic. I am incredibly grateful to work at a firm where my voice and opinions on such important matters are welcomed and encouraged.

What advice would you give BAME candidates interested in applying to premier UK law firms like Mayer Brown? Connect with people at the firm you are interested in applying to. LinkedIn is an excellent tool for this! Be polite and use the opportunity to ask how inclusive the workplace is and ask questions about the training contract. Many applicants are now using LinkedIn to ask these questions and gain a better understanding of what it is really like to work at a particular firm. It is particularly useful in the current climate, where open days and vacation schemes are being held online. It is also a perfect opportunity to ask questions which can aid your application. Further information on Mayer Brown International LLP’s programmes, including Training Contracts, Vacation Schemes and Solicitor Apprenticeship Programmes can be found here (https://www.mayerbrownfutures. com/europe/programmes/)


Alexander Nissen QC

Lucy Garrett QC

Abdul Jinadu

Wen-Jin Teh

Alison Crosland

Head of Chambers

Head of Pupillage



Chief Operating Officer

BUILD YOUR FUTURE IN THE LEGAL LANDSCAPE Keating Chambers is a leading commercial set and one of the two top construction chambers in the UK and worldwide. The set won The Lawyer’s “Chambers of the Year” in 2020. In the same year, upon hearing that some criminal sets had withdrawn pupillage offers due to the financial impact of COVID-19, Keating pledged to provide £20,000 towards a withdrawn pupillage and led a successful campaign to obtain similar pledges from other commercial sets.

You were highly commended in the category Best Chambers for Training at the 2021 Legal Cheek Awards. What makes you stand out from the crowd? Lucy Garrett QC: I think it is our friendliness and desire to help our pupils succeed which stands out. Members of chambers have a permanent open door policy, to discuss difficult legal questions or just to have a cup of tea and a chat. We give regular feedback to our pupils and provide clear information as to what to expect over the year. Have a look at the videos on our website to get a feel for our cheerful and informal atmosphere. What training, advice and support have you received? Wen-Jin: Although it was difficult to undergo pupillage during the pandemic, chambers went out of its way to ensure that I was provided with adequate training and support. Firstly, while I had full discretion to


Keating Chambers will be offering up to three 12-month pupillages commencing in September 2023 (with an award of £70,000). Applications open in Spring 2022 via the Pupillage Gateway website. Keating also offer mini-pupillages throughout the academic year and these will either be ordinary in person 2-day placements or 1-day virtual mini-pupillages. For details visit

work from home, an individual room was provided to me so that I could continue to work from chambers in a safe manner. Secondly, a senior member of chambers was assigned to be my secondary supervisor so that I would continue to receive support in the event that my supervisor was unavailable or unwell. These measures were in addition to the usual training and support mechanisms that chambers provides. For example, supervisors are changed every three months to allow pupils to experience a range of work at different levels of seniority. Each pupil is also assigned a junior member of chambers to act as a support buddy; questions or concerns may be raised to that individual without affecting the tenancy decision. Finally, after obtaining tenancy, new members are assigned two mentors for advice and support in the first 18 months of practice. What does it take to make a successful barrister?

Alexander Nissen QC: It is very important to emphasise that they come in all shapes and sizes. In our specialist field, the most important skills of a successful barrister will include a strong intellectual ability with a talent in the art of persuasion. Intellectual ability is not to be confused with where you went to school or University. It depends on your ability to learn and understand legal concepts and reasoning. Successful barristers prepare carefully and in great detail because cases can be complex and you must expect the unexpected. The art of persuasion is needed both on paper and orally. Winning is an obvious marker of success. But on occasions successful barristers will also need to persuade their opponents to drop their expectations or their clients not to litigate at all. Once again, meticulous preparation of the arguments provides the best way to persuade someone to agree with what you say.

Do you feel there are particular challenges facing today’s young barristers, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds? Abdul Jinadu: Access to the profession is the greatest challenge faced by young barristers from any background. These challenges are, however, particularly acute for young aspiring barristers from Black and other minority ethnic backgrounds. Over the last 20 years the number of people qualifying as barristers has increased substantially however there has not been a similar increase in the number of pupillages and tenancies available. In addition, the areas in which barristers from a Black background in particular have been traditionally concentrated (the criminal and family bar) have all experienced significant contraction due to successive governments seeking to cut the legal aid budget. Candidates must be encouraged to look at practice areas outside of those where concentrations of Black barristers were traditionally found and at the commercial bar in particular. I am glad to say that there are now a range of schemes which are seeking to drive this message to people looking to come to the Bar. Why is having a diverse workforce important? Alison Crosland: For me as COO, a diverse workforce is important for a range of reasons. We want to recruit the best talent. Diverse candidates bring different skills and experiences to Keating, and the opportunity for shared learning. A range of voices and diversity of thought gives a wider perspective and help us provide innovative and creative approaches to support clients. It also makes us a more interesting place to work. Ultimately, diversity across staff and barristers can make us better at what we do. An inclusive team helps Chambers better understand and better represent the range of clients with whom we work in the UK and internationally. Keating Chambers were founding partners of Bridging the Bar, a charity committed to the promotion of equal opportunities and diversity within the Bar of England and Wales. You were also one of the first five sets of chambers to sign up to the 10,000 Black Interns programme, and are heavily involved with mentoring scheme for

underrepresented groups. Why do you consider these such a priority for Keating? Abdul Jinadu: In my view there are two principal drivers for the activism which Keating has shown recently in the area of diversity: (i) Firstly, in common with other commercial organisations who are making attempts to drive diversity, Keating is not acting from entirely altruistic motives. Like such other organisations it recognises that the world is changing rapidly. Our “market” i.e. law firms and their lay clients now have ESG reporting requirements which require them to report and publish data on diversity. This will increasingly influence decisions which these organisations make as to who they instruct to represent them. (ii) Secondly, Keating recognises that if it wants to maintain its position as market leader it must recruit the best talent and this means recruiting from the widest possible pool of individuals. It means going out to look for candidates who may have “non-traditional” backgrounds but who are more than capable of establishing a successful career at the Bar, and, in addition, bring unique sets of skills based on their life experience which would make them excellent barristers. What initiatives does Keating Chambers have in place to ensure it recruits a diverse workforce? Alexander Nissen QC: We are truly committed to improving the diversity of our workforce, both within our employed staff and in our selection of mini-pupils, pupils and tenants. We participate in too many initiatives to be able to list here (see our diversity and inclusion page) but in in addition to the initiatives identified above, we run a very successful Women at the Bar programme which includes an annual event with talks and networking (proudly supported by two female former members of Chambers who are now High Court Judges), and members of Chambers act as mentors through multiple and as mentees under the Bar Council’s Reverse Mentoring Scheme (which involves a senior white barrister being mentored by a Bar student, pupil or junior barrister from a minority ethnic group). We are also aware that socio-economic

circumstances can be a significant barrier to success: in addition to our generous pupillage award, we fund expenses for mini-pupils and for candidates who have to travel to attend interviews Why did you feel that Keating Chambers was the right place for you to start your career? Wen-Jin: I wanted to practise commercial law after doing a mini pupillage at another specialist construction set. Firstly, there is a great deal of international work available, which appeals to me given that I grew up outside of the UK. Secondly, unlike other commercial areas, construction disputes are scalable and therefore provide junior barristers with ample opportunity to be instructed in their own right. Given the breadth and depth of its construction practice, Keating Chambers was an ideal place for me to begin my career. My experience thus far has affirmed this choice; during my pupillage, I was exposed to a wide range of domestic and international work and have already appeared as sole counsel. I look forward to continuing to develop my career at Keating in the years ahead. What assurances would you give to individuals who want to apply but feel hesitant to do so because of their gender/sexual orientation/ ethnicity/background/disability/any other diversity-related reason? Lucy Garrett QC: We consulted candidates in 2020, and this hesitation came up over and over again. Be assured that we are looking for the candidates with the best potential to be a barrister, irrespective of background. We have done a lot of work to ensure our process is as fair, transparent, and (equally important) as friendly, as we can make it. For example, we redact name, age, gender and educational institution from our application forms. I know it is easy to assume when looking at a chambers’ website that only one type of person can make it at the Bar. But this isn’t the case. Many of our members (including me) come from very different backgrounds to what you might expect. Have a look at our mini-bios on the website and please, please apply. We can’t change what the Bar looks like unless you make that application.


Unparalleled Expertise Sadiya Choudhury, Barrister, Pump Court Tax Chambers lays out the advantages of taking a step up to a career in tax law.

As a woman from a diverse background, how did you end up as a tax barrister? I got to where I am by deciding what I definitely did not want to do. As a female from a South Asian background who did well at school, I was expected to choose medicine as a career but law seemed more interesting. When it came to decide between becoming a solicitor or barrister, I chose the latter as I liked the idea of being an independent advocate. I applied for and obtained a pupillage for the first six months in a general chancery/commercial set as I had enjoyed the intellectual challenge of the cases I saw during a chancery mini-pupillage. I applied to various specialist tax sets, including PCTC, for the second six months. PCTC offered me tenancy at the end of pupillage and I have been there ever since. Plenty of people told me when applying for pupillage that the specialist Bar wasn’t for people of BAME origin because there were so few of them in practice but fortunately that didn’t put me off applying. Anyone still hearing such comments shouldn’t be put off by them either.

advising a family on the inheritance tax implications of a will on one day and on the next day I could be acting for an importer in an appeal against a decision by HMRC to charge customs duty. Tax also often requires considering issues arising under other areas such as contract, trusts and public law with the tax analysis depending on the underlying law. I may also be asked to consider a tax issue which has arisen in relation to insolvency or a divorce.

You’ve been a member of Chambers since 2003. Have you seen many changes since then? The biggest change has been an increase in litigation as compared to advice, which means that there are far more opportunities to go to court even when very junior. As with other areas, the pandemic has meant that we have all become used to remote hearings which will still take place going forward.

Pump Court Tax Chambers has been described as “the biggest and best tax set in London”. How do you ensure young barristers are attracted to work in this field? We are justifiably proud of our reputation and everyone in Chambers wants to maintain it. In order to do that, we need to attract the best candidates to come and work for us, regardless of their background. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about what practising tax law actually involves. I’ve lost count of the number of people who have said to me that they wouldn’t like to do my job because they aren’t good with numbers, but the question of how much tax is due is usually one for an accountant as opposed to a tax lawyer. We want to encourage candidates who would not have thought of applying to us to find out more about life as a tax barrister. PCTC is a founding partner of Bridging the Bar and its mini-pupillage scheme. We are also participating in the 10,000 Black Interns programme and support the Social Mobility Foundation as part of their Aspiring Professionals Programme.

If you have good analytical skills and enjoy problem-solving, then a career in tax law is something you should think about.

What sort of work does a tax barrister do? Tax covers a range of personal, corporate and indirect taxes such as income tax, national insurance and VAT. It also offers a good mix of advice and litigation. I may be


“We want to encourage candidates who would not have thought of applying to us to find out more about life as a tax barrister.”

HELPING TIP THE SCALES 100 years after Dr. Ivy Williams began her career as the first woman Barrister in England and Wales, women are still fighting against gender discrimination. Statistics collected from the Solicitors Regulation Authority illustrate just how far we have to go. The idea of The Women in Law Society was conceived in March 2020. After attending, what we didn’t know at the time was, the last in person Legal Cheek event, where we heard “Legal Pioneers” talk about their journey in the law. Upon completing the obligatory and always awkward networking session with other students, my friends and I found ourselves shuffled into a corner with the same idea bouncing around in our minds.

they made their presence know fairly early on with disparaging and misogynistic comments, usually taking the form of “where is the Men in Law Society?”, to which we would remind them that it was actually called the Law Society or invited them to start their own society. This started to subside when we began hosting our online sessions, students started to see the passion and drive behind this society when it was being translated into events.

My name is Ruqayyah, I am a thirdyear law student at City and one of three co-founders of the Women in Law Society. We started the group after coming to the conclusion that becoming lawyers wasn’t going to be as easy for us as it would for some of our colleagues. We are all women from working class backgrounds, we found that the information and the advice being offered to us, wasn’t for us.

Our first event was a seminar with the brilliant, Kate Mahon – a barrister turned solicitor who ran her own all female law firm. She spoke about the work that she had done, the work she was doing and how she ended up with her own firm. We hadn’t expected so many people to show up but when 30 people joined us we were elated.

The vision behind forming the society was to provide members with the information, skills and advice that is tailored to women looking to work in the law. The Solicitors Regulation Authority tells us that women make up just under half of the lawyers employed by a firm – women only make up 33% of partners in UK firms, 16% of QCs are women and only 38% of barristers are women. These are just a few examples of gender disparity in the legal sector.

From there we launched our monthly “Women in Law Seminars”. These proved to be a hit among students and faculty at the university. Friends of ours, LinkedIn connections and

mentors agreed to talk at these events and inspired many. One of my favourite instances was when we had invited secondary school and college students to join these sessions, our friend Rachida Benamar had agreed to talk for us. She was incredible, full of life and so vibrant, we were lucky and had a fantastic turnout. One of the year 9 students who attended even wrote an article detailing the experience. It is truly a pleasure to be able to have bought these experiences to so many aspiring lawyers and law students, my friends and I are so lucky to have started this society at a time where it was really needed. We hope to continue this legacy past our third year and hopefully pass it down to some passionate Women in Law.

WANT TO GET INVOLVED? You can find more information at

Ruqayyah Ahmed is a Law Student at City, University of London, Co-Founder of The Women in Law Society

Women in Law “Meet your Society” event

When we started, there were three of us and a lot of people to convince that we were worth their time and the £5 membership fee (which for students is considered a small fortune). We knew that there would be people who doubted our society,


ARE YOU CONSIDERING MOVING ON FROM THE LEGAL PROFESSION? Perhaps you feel that you are not suited to it or are finding it hard to manage the pressures. Before you make the choice to exit let’s walk through the process and consider your options.

REVIEWING THE SITUATION Before you make the huge, lifechanging decision to change career, ask yourself some questions: • When did you last take time off? Do you need a good holiday? • Would you feel differently if you could take routes to reduce stress? • Are you bored? Would a change in specialism or area of practice help? • Do you need additional training and support to help you do your job better?


• If a particular person were to leave your workplace, would you feel differently? • Does your organisation know that you are unsatisfied? Might they be willing to make changes to keep you? • Do your skills align with your current career path, and where will that path lead? • What would a career change require? Could your education and expertise transfer to a new career? • How would the global pandemic affect your working arrangements?

THE THREE LEVELS OF CAREER CHANGE • Job Change: doing the same type of work in a different setting, such as a more flexible organisation or even just changing to a different department or specialism. • Career Alteration: utilising your legal skills in a different setting – teaching at a law school, or working as an employed barrister, for example. • Career Transition: moving to a new career significantly different from the practice of law. This could involve retraining.

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF The grass isn’t always greener elsewhere, as the person mowing the lawn and starting somewhere new may be difficult. Remember that you are a well-educated and highly trained professional, who is worth investing in and employing. If you choose to leave the law altogether, don’t feel that the time you spent training has been wasted: your skills will be valuable elsewhere, and they don’t obligate you to remain in a job you don’t enjoy. And don’t make any drastic career decisions if you are depressed or experiencing another mental health concern. Go and see your GP and ensure you take steps to feel better before making major decisions about the future.

CAREERS COUNSELLING Be your own careers counsellor: Give yourself a career “check-up”. Put together a comprehensive and detailed personal history including your professional status, education, employment, professional affiliations, marital and family background and financial needs. Remember to include all of your experiences in

practice, including administration, staff relations or finance.

pay cut in favour of greater job satisfaction?

• Are you prepared to re-qualify Talk it through with someone, in another career, with all the or brainstorm on a blank sheet necessary cost, study and training of paper. Your aim should be to that will entail? evaluate your career goals, clarify your values and priorities, and develop a concrete and realistic plan • Has the time come to go it alone in that business venture you’ve any changing job or career. There always wanted to try? are careers counsellors who can help you identify your skills and strengths. • Would you like to relocate and/or have a different lifestyle?

SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER • What are your major and secondary skills, interests and capabilities?

• What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Do your own SWOT (Strengths/ Weaknesses/Opportunities/ Threats) analysis • What part of your work do you enjoy most? What do you dislike about your job? • What do you do for fun? Could any of these lead to a potential job or career choice? • Are you prepared to take a

• How does it feel when you consider that you might be working in the field you’re being trained in for potentially 30 or 40 years, or more?

RECRUITMENT AGENCIES You may prefer to seek professional help, from a recruitment agency or professional careers counsellor or coach to get your CV up-to-date and as attractive as possible. You could also explore temporary or contract employment opportunities as a transitional option to get you out of an unhappy situation and to buy you some thinking time.


Financial Services Finance is where the money is, so from the outside it looks like a no-brainer that working in the sector will be well rewarded. However, as with any other sector, a brain is very much an asset, and to be a success, knowledge, professionalism and creativity are prized just as highly. The financial services industry is diverse, spanning a broad variety of different sectors and specialisms. Once you have experience under your belt, you have the opportunity to move into other lines of the business. Enjoy problem-solving and tough challenges that let you use analytical rigour? Become a Financial Analyst. Ready to map things out and think long-term? Get to work as a Certified Financial Planner. Despite booms and busts, Financial Services has remained a highly soughtafter career for ambitious professionals, with uncapped earnings potential, where every entrant is on a level playing field and where your uniqueness can be an asset. Each sector provides an avenue of career development, and the opportunity to be involved with one of the most dynamic and forward thinking industries in the world.


Britain is a world leader financial services. In 2019, finance contributed £132 billion to the UK economy, 6.9% of total economic output. The sector was largest in London, where half of the revenue was generated. The UK financial services sector was the ninth largest in the OECD by its proportion of national economic output. After Brexit, (and after COVID restrictions are lifted) there could well be a renewed focus on the industry and the possibilities of what the easing of EU regulations may mean. The finance industry is constantly advancing and expanding. Not only are the possibilities endless when it comes to career paths but for destinations too. By pursuing a career in finance, you are opening the door to thousands of exciting opportunities, including international working and places where you may not have considered moving.


INCLUDING YOU IN AN INSURANCE CAREER I started my career in insurance longer ago than I care to admit. Back then in the mid-seventies, the sector certainly wasn’t as eclectic as the UK’s social or music scene. Those were the days of the insurance man, and they were mainly men (you probably won’t remember the “Man from the Pru” adverts), calling on middle England homes to arrange insurance, and the somewhat arcane traditions of Lloyd’s and the London Market insurers. The reference to men in grey suits was made for those days. My slightly more youthful colleagues tell similar stories about joining the sector in the 80s and 90s when diversity had only moved on minimally. Happily, the insurance sector has changed. There is still work to be done, but a career in an insurance firm whether in claims, underwriting, broking or a myriad of other ancillary functions is rewarding, exciting and vibrant. My own sector is in insurance broking, the link between the customer and the provider of their insurance. The world of insurance is complex but it’s simple to liken it to shopping. You might want to buy a fridge but you are unlikely to go directly to SMEG. You can go online and buy it. You may want to see what you are buying to understand it a little more and visit a shop, a well known name like John Lewis or something more local. My own town has a little appliances dealer called Fullicks, which is always great for some valuable advice and usually as good a deal as other suppliers. A similar model operates in insurance. The manufacture is the insurance company, with underwriters assessing the risk, actuaries and analysts pricing the cover and technical specialists creating the policy. Insurance companies may sell cover directly to the public but many sell through insurance brokers – their intermediaries or ‘shops’, which may be online or not.


Insurance brokers have at their disposal a whole host of insurers and policies to choose from and part of the joy of their role is to help people find the insurance they need – for their car their possessions, their business or for themselves (life cover, income protection travel etc.) The insurance sector is really coming of age. BIBA helps our members attract the best talent to build and drive their businesses forward, and the best talent is diverse. Research has proven time and time again that firms that embrace inclusivity and diversity will have better business results. If a leader is surrounded by clones creativity cannot flourish. Allowing employees to be themselves and bring their different experiences, beliefs and visions to the table aids decision making, long-term thinking, innovation and competitive advantage. Otherwise firms will continue doing what they have always done. But new talent wants to know that they will be a good fit and that their voices will be heard. That is why the sector is listening to the needs and wants of their prospective recruits. Recently research suggested that Millennials (and younger) looking for careers want far more from their prospective employers than just a good salary. When I was beginning my career, I admit my checklist began with pay and pension and had a nod towards location, working hours and holiday allowance.

Steve White, CEO BIBA

Candidates now want to know that the culture of the organisation they are considering is a fit for them, that the core values reflect their own sentiments on the environment, community and equality. Equally, they want to be confident that their individual aspirations will be met including skills development and mentoring and coaching, but they also want the flexibility to work how they want and have the opportunity to develop outside the workplace. In Deloitte’s Global Millennial Survey 2020* Millennials (born on or after 1981) and Generation Z (born on or after 1996)** responded that more companies were doing more to respond to the need of future generations with 71% of both Millennials and Gen Z agreeing that employers were working towards “creating a diverse and inclusive working environment”. “Two-thirds of millennials said that working remotely enables a better work/life balance. Half of all respondents said they’ve felt more able to bring their “true selves” to work by having their offices at home and nearly seven in 10 millennials said the option of working from home in the future (post-pandemic) — and avoiding commutes—would relieve stress”. Millennials and Gen Z have remained focused on larger societal issues. “They continue to push for a world in which businesses and governments mirror that same commitment to society, putting people ahead of profits and prioritising environmental sustainability.”

All of this, reinforcing the idea that now there is more to a career than pay and progression. Where does this leave my entreaty for you to view insurance as a place to leave your career hat? From the outside, insurance may appear not to offer much choice. I beg to differ. As mentioned earlier, my organisation is centred around insurance brokers – the intermediaries that help their customers to find the insurance protection they need. So, if you know nothing about insurance can you work in it? Well that is the point. Insurance brokers like any other business need a whole host of skills to create a successful business. Technical insurance disciplines bring their own rewards. Underwriting, claims and actuarial functions are really about finding solutions. Allied to the need to understand insurance (usually via training and professional qualification), there is the need to present yourself as an authority, to share knowledge and explain, sometimes technical, principles. An insurance broker may have this technical background, but in reality, they are people people! Opportunities abound A successful broking firm should be able to relate to, understand and communicate with customers – and with their insurance underwriters that provide the cover. This means that the more diverse the firm in terms of its people the better they are able to relate to those needing their help and the more successful they will be. Insurance brokers come in many shapes and sizes, some focused almost entirely on one-to-one interaction with clients where empathy and the strength of personal relationships is paramount. Others will be multi-department businesses. As well as having the insurance broking technical and relationship management teams there will be a whole raft of employment opportunities to appeal to a wide range of applicants. In our sector IT is vital and more, brokers looking to innovate are placing a massive reliance on online solutions and even artificial intelligence – a natural born innovator would not be disappointed with their remit in many broker firms.

For the more creative types, insurance is a highly competitive market so many firms need fantastic marketers, communicators, media experts and social marketing gurus. If people are your thing, then consider a role in human resources or learning and development. With opportunities also abound in administration, research, legal and more insurance can really be an eyeopener once the uninitiated dive into the sector to find out more. Which brings me back to the culture of the sector. It is unrecognisable as the world I joined in the seventies and that is change for good. There are many organisations and initiatives that help to promote inclusivity and diversity. Businesses and their employees pay attention to this and rely on the likes of Lloyd’s Dive-In festival to get ideas and develop good practice. There are networks such as iCAN (the Insurance Cultural Awareness Network) and ACIN (the African and Caribbean Insurance Network) that help promote and celebrate difference as well as Government’s Women in Finance which promotes equality and of whose Charter BIBA is a signatory. There are numerous ways to join in with areas of personal interest. At BIBA we rely on our members to help shape our direction and among them are our Young Broker Ambassadors. They are passionate about their careers in insurance and about promoting the sector as a prime place to forge a career, regardless of background, education, or experience and they are helping create a buzz that means as a sector we truly are shaking off that grey image of the past.

* en/insights/topics/talent/deloittemillennial-survey.html **The Pew Research Centre

ABOUT BIBA The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) represents the many interests of insurance brokers and their customers. BIBA wants to help our members attract, employ and retain talent in order to be able to thrive and serve their customers well. That broking talent must reflect the make-up of society in all its diversity. To be successful firms in our sector need to have varied life experiences in terms of race, social background, sexual orientation, age, religion, education to list but a few areas – and to be able to show that they are inclusive and tolerant of those differences. BIBA is committed to bringing about positive change among our membership, suppliers and the wider insurance sector and is committed to embedding an inclusive, collaborative culture among colleagues within the association and to actively seek diverse representation within BIBA’s governance structure and on our member committees. Our aim is to help our members to realise the value and potential of diversity and inclusion, to promote the approach and help provide the tools to achieve it. BIBA is a signatory of the Inclusive Behaviours Pledge; and supports inclusion@lloyds, iCAN (Insurance Cultural Awareness Network) and the AfricanCaribbean Insurance Network (ACIN).

USEFUL LINKS iCAN ACIN Women in Finance women-in-finance-charter BIBA


BUILDING A DIVERSE TALENT PIPELINE IN A CHANGING WORLD Ama Ocansey is UK Head of Diversity and Inclusion at BNP Paribas, a leading bank in Europe with a presence in 71 countries. Present in the UK for over 150 years, today the Group is formed of 10 divisions, with over 9,000 staff.

The business case for diversity and inclusion has long existed, and we are seeing a growing recognition of its importance across the financial services industry, alongside the legal and moral imperative to treat all people with equal respect and dignity. The message is clear: diversity unlocks potential, encourages innovation and improves financial performance. It is a message that has, for some time, been grounded in cold, hard data. According to the most recent McKinsey report on the business case for diversity, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than those in the bottom quartile; this percentage rose to 36% for companies with the best ethnic and cultural diversity. In under 15 years, we have lived through two economic crises with important lessons to be learned from both. Following the 2008 financial crisis, diversity and inclusion were hailed by many as an antidote to the toxic culture of group-think that led to catastrophic failures of risk management and a resulting recession that led to disproportionate economic and social impacts on minority groups. And yet, the pace of change within the corporate world remained glacial at best. Fast forward to 2021 and, once again, we are experiencing a crisis with similarly long-term and disproportionate impacts. 2020 was a year that saw global calls for action on racial equality following the death of George Floyd and the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement. This presented a renewed opportunity for Black communities to speak their truths and lived experiences – both in society and in places of work.


For organisations, these external pressures highlighted an urgent need to take a harder stance against racism and discrimination, and look more broadly at issues of representation and inclusion. This is reflected in the priorities of the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the conduct regulator for financial services firms, which has highlighted diversity and inclusion as a critical part of building a healthy organisational culture, managing risk and serving consumers from diverse segments of society. Speaking at 2020, in the review of the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter, FCA CEO Nikhil Rathi said: “I would question if any firm can adequately respond to the needs of these consumers if they do not have the diversity of background and experience required to overcome biases and blind spots”. Mr Rathi also drew attention to the importance of looking at how gender intersects other areas of diversity, particularly ethnicity. That year, the Women in Finance Charter submission form added questions on other underrepresented groups Last year the Women in Finance Charter submission form added questions on other under-represented groups. This external pressure is not limited to the regulator. Clients are increasingly asking about diversity and inclusion commitments before entering into a relationship with a financial intermediary. And as the integration of ESG – environmental, social and governance factors – into investment decisions continues to gather pace, investor activism is not limited to environmental issues. Many investors are now pushing for greater engagement on diversity from the companies in their portfolios, thanks to the growing data sets on the link between diverse companies and financial outcomes.

We are also seeing corporates and financial institutions using innovative financing to help drive positive social outcomes within their organisations. For example, at BNP Paribas we recently supported investment giant Carlyle on a $4.1bn sustainability-linked loan, whereby the price of debt is directly tied to the company’s goal of having 30% diverse directors on the boards of the companies it controls within two years of ownership. Internally, employees are holding management to account, and diversity and inclusion are now multi-disciplinary. For example, risk and compliance teams must consider how they are embedded within regulatory compliance and organisational risk. Procurement teams must look at supply chain management. Communications specialists are increasingly involved in developing a progressive narrative and shaping organisational policy to encourage leaders to take a stance in the public domain. While there is reason to be encouraged, it is an uncomfortable truth that driving change at every level of the business remains a material challenge. According to Brightpool research conducted in 2019, 46% of CEOs in financial services believe that their company performs better for ethnic diversity, while only 25% of HR directors share this view. Progress depends on more than just policies and programmes. It depends on a deep cultural shift that addresses everything from leadership buy-in and career support to the values, behaviour and even language we use. At BNP Paribas, we have much to do. We are lucky to have a high level of engagement from the very top, but we must ensure that race and ethnicity measures in our sector are raised to the same degree as gender equality and other areas of diversity.

Last year, an important landmark on our journey was signing the Business in the Community Race at Work Charter, providing a framework for action on race and ethnicity; and establishing a dedicated cross-business working group of diverse talents to drive this work forward, focusing on four main areas: Recruitment, Retention & Progression, Data and Culture & Awareness. To achieve this however, we need to start by addressing our talent pipeline, particularly within our Early Careers programmes, and see specialist partnerships as a key part of this. We have started working with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), a charitable organisation helping us to strengthen our capabilities to attract diverse profiles of candidate, including those from Black, Asian, Mixed race and other ethnically diverse backgrounds. We have also joined 10,000 Black Interns, a UK-wide initiative that aims to transform the horizons of young Black talent in the UK by offering paid internships, and one that demonstrates the power of collective action across sectors. We are lucky to have some great employee-led initiatives supporting this work, such as B.L.A.C.K. – which stands for Building Leaders Allies Careers and Knowledge – a programme in our Global Markets division founded by two employees. It aims to promote the benefits of racial diversity internally and forge partnerships with schools and universities to reach more diverse talent, complementing our broader engagement with local communities.

We’ve found that initiatives that drive progress from the bottom up, and not just the top down, are crucial if we are to bring everyone along on the journey. We also want to ensure that talented individuals can progress, and find themselves on a level playing field when it comes to moving into leadership positions. Our focus is on looking at existing mentorship and sponsorship programmes within our business and elsewhere, and looking at how the different benefits of each could support specific groups. Alongside our work on diversity, we are equally focused on inclusion, and ensuring that all employees feel safe and valued. According to the same McKinsey report,bold action is neccessary to create a workplace where employees thrive, even when companies are relatively diverse. We want everyone to feel able to bring their ideas and experiences to the table, and use them to do better business. Part of this is promoting psychological safe spaces for staff to speak up, to tackle more overt forms of discrimination and inappropriate behaviour, as well as educating on the micro-aggressions that might make employees feel uncomfortable. We are actively working on improving our organisational culture and have introduced a new online forum where employees can submit questions to senior leaders and peers, openly or anonymously. We are also piloting unconscious bias and inclusivity training. This is particularly important for our younger employees, many of whom are entering the financial services

industry, or full time employment, for the first time. A feeling of belonging is something we seek to embed even before they’ve joined us. Alongside our formal graduate recruitment process, we run informal pre-assessment briefings, helping candidates prepare for the interviews and exercises, and offering tips on presenting themselves in a corporate environment. Those who secure spots on our graduate or internship programmes are matched with a buddy from a previous graduate intake before joining, and we have a vibrant community of young people, six employee networks and events such as our annual Early Careers Network BBQ to help them feel included from the start. Corporate culture is changing, and the demands of employees, investors, regulators and society are converging when it comes to building diverse and thriving workplaces. Internal and external pressures are mounting, and financial services firms, like other sectors, must work harder to accelerate change in the face of a new economic downturn that threatens progress on diverse representation. Organisations must answer urgent calls to tackle issues as racial equality that have been overlooked for too long. Inclusion must be put front and centre of organisational culture and engagement. Employees must be given a voice, while being able to hold management accountable for the burden of real change. We are committed to transparency, to collaborating for progress, and to working to reflect the diverse society we are.

Find out more about BNP Paribas Early Careers programmes: early-careers/graduates/ Follow us on social media: @BNPParibasUK company/bnp-paribas/


Sports & Leisure The sport and leisure sector is a fast-growing area of the economy, and offers a wide range of career opportunities to graduates with a degree in sport and leisure management. Sport and recreation is a major part of cultural identity and development. Sport is integral to a child’s education and can also be used as an important way to develop community involvement and regeneration; because of this, careers in sports development and teaching can make a huge difference to people’s lives. Sport is also big business. Since the London 2012 Olympics, the UK’s interest in sport has been rejuvenated and more job opportunities have been created. If you are keen on sport and fitness, and you like working or training with liked-minded people, there are many ways in which you can develop your social skills and engage with your local community. You could start by seeking work experience in local gyms or leisure centres, or speak to your local Further Education College about sports and fitness training courses.


Understandably, every sport depends on the men and women who actually compete, however, elite athletes would not be able to succeed without a complex support infrastructure that makes it all happen. Every single area of sport and recreation requires a wealth of behind-the-scenes staff, including coaches, physical trainers, medical staff, sports agents and referees. Every event or training session needs a venue, and these venues need staff. From local rugby tournaments to major international events, ground staff, stewards and ticket vendors are needed to make sure everything runs smoothly. Your local gym needs fitness instructors, delivering group or one-to-one training. Schools and colleges need PE teachers to train young people in sport and fitness. Alternatively, you could work in sports science, or perhaps take a role as a specialist physiotherapist.


FOR FOOTBALL. FOR LIFE. The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) was formed in 1907 and is the world’s longest established professional sportsperson’s union, representing football players in England and Wales. The aims of the PFA are to protect, improve and negotiate the conditions, rights and status of all professional players by collective bargaining agreements. The PFA has been successful throughout its history in the challenges it has faced due to the strength of support from its members. PFA Equalities department exists to: • FIGHT discrimination and inequality within football. • PROTECT professional football players facing discrimination issues. • USE football as a tool to promote equality and diversity within society. Throughout 2020, PFA members have demonstrated a strong understanding of societal issues and used their platform to highlight the impact racism has on both individuals and wider communities. The decision to take the knee before matches was initially made by Premier League captains during Project Restart, to show solidarity with Black people facing discrimination across the globe. This includes Black players here in the UK who are still subjected to racist abuse in stadiums and online. This powerful symbol of support represents the players’ commitment to anti-racism and is not an endorsement of any political position. It is a peaceful gesture of unity that highlights a persistent issue that continues to affect players daily. The PFA supports the player’s right to take the knee and also commends the positive statements from Colchester United and Cambridge United supporting their players’ decision.


Players in the Premier League had already committed to taking the knee for the duration of the 20212021 season, players across the EFL have been left in a difficult position following a lack of leadership on the issue. A survey conducted by the PFA has shown overwhelming support for continuing to take a knee this was able to demonstrate to the EFL and the clubs involved the information needed to support the players. Taking the knee has been a powerful example of players working in solidarity for all black and minoritized groups and has had a far-reaching effect across the globe on the power that sport can play towards equality. Another issue where players and wider society face abuse is on-line. The internet has enabled interaction between our members and football fans in a way that extends previous realms and boundaries. It has created opportunities for players to engage with fans and enabled the reach of football players to be extended ever further around the world. However, at the same time some serious challenges have emerged, and the harms that they face online need to be addressed. First and foremost, online discrimination against protected characteristics outlined under the Equality Act should be addressed, but likewise beyond these protected characteristics, general abuse, threats, intimidation and harassment and vitriol online should not go unchecked. The PFA want to see a framework and regulatory body to protect those online within reasonable bounds and supports the Secretary of State's recent commitment to this issue. The situation regarding online abuse and lack of action was marked on

19/04/2019 when, for 24-hours, there was a social media boycott organised by the PFA in protest of the abuse received by players – calling for stronger and effective action from social media platforms. These platforms are used by football players on a daily basis, including interaction with fans and commercial endorsements and partnerships. The action called on platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to take responsibility for the online discriminatory abuse received by our membership and seen by fans of all ages, as it is often not removed or reports acted upon to any effect. The boycott and campaign message #ENOUGH reached over 90 million people and clearly highlights the increasing concerns about this abuse and the demand for effective action to tackle the issues that are not being effectively dealt with by the social media platforms. The action was demonstrated by players and supporters around the world and received endorsement from FIFA, FIFPRO, as well as support and coverage by Sky Sports, BBC Sport, Al Jazeera, The Times, The Washington Post, Time Magazine, plus football clubs including Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Watford Supported by players including: David Beckham; Danny Welbeck; Vincent Kompany; Jamie Vardy; Yaya Toure; Jesse Lingard; Theo Walcott; Marcus Rashford; Wayne Rooney; Eden Hazard; Christian Atsu; Gareth Bale; Gary Lineker; Wes Morgan; Troy Deeney; Ross Berkley; Eden Hazard; Ashley Young; and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

The PFA welcome proposal that will see an industry regulator underpin a statutory duty of care making Internet and social media companies more responsible for the safety of their users. Football clubs have long been accountable for providing a “duty of care” to participants and spectators and work closely with other authorities in football, as well as police, to provide reasonable measures of safety and conduct.


Abuse that occurs within a football stadium in the UK can be effectively dealt with by the club, police or football authorities with direct action and consequence in most instances that is tangible and measurable. Abuse online is currently not being dealt with to any significant effect. Reports of abuse that are submitted are often returned as “not violating terms”, despite language and terms that are offensive and offences under the Football Offences Act and Equalities Act 2010.

Nearly half of the players’ accounts monitored in the study received abuse that would constitute a sanctionable offence in The FA handbook, demonstrating that players are held to a higher code of conduct than the people they engage with online. However, players are limited in how they can respond to this level of abuse, with action from social networks relying heavily on the victim of abuse to read and report every abusive message they receive.

The PFA Charity report into online abuse aimed at professional footballers has revealed that 43% of Premier League players in the study experienced targeted and explicitly racist abuse. The PFA Charity’s study, in partnership with data science company, Signify Group, and supported by Kick It Out, used machine learning systems to analyse messages sent via public Twitter to 44 high profile current and former players from across the top divisions of English Football. During the six weeks of ‘Project Restart’, Signify analysed 825,515 tweets directed at the selected players, identifying over 3,000 explicitly abusive messages. 56% of all the discriminatory abuse identified during the study was racist.

• 43% of Premier League players in the study experienced targeted and explicitly racist abuse. • 29% of racially abusive posts came in emoji form. • 50% of the total online abuse recorded was received by just three players, as a result of their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The PFA Charity wants to see a change in practice so prosecution for online abuse is not solely reliant on victim complaints. It should be incumbent on leagues and clubs to collate relevant evidence and submit grievances to the police, on behalf of the players they employ. All stakeholders need to work together collectively, to ensure this practice then becomes the industry norm. The damning data in this report means now is the time for decisive action. This includes: • Clubs investing in resources and technology to monitor player’s accounts and identify and report abusive messages. • Legislation that allows football's governing bodies to pursue legal ramifications for those who target abuse at players.

• Social media platforms to commit to drastically improve policies and thresholds for online abuse Simone Pound, Head Of Equalities at the PFA says: “Social media companies must do more to address this abuse on their platforms. The PFA brought the issue of emojis being used to send racist abuse to Twitter in 2019 – the Project Restart report shows that over a year later, this is still a major problem. Equally, social media is a tool players use to build their brand and interact with fans – which means clubs and leagues must have a duty of care to ensure players are protected while using social media platforms.” Following a whole game meeting with platforms and stakeholders the organisations committed to working together to find solutions to tackle hate and discrimination in football and on social media. They agreed that abuse towards players, fans, participants and their on-line accounts is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated and perpetrators should be held accountable for their actions. Online hate must have real-world consequences. The PFA will continue to lead this work on behalf of the players and wider community who are impacted on the online abuse. We would urge anyone who has been the victim of online abuse to report to the social media platforms and police. All cases must be challenged and we urge support across society to call out the abuse online and for social media platforms to step up and act against hate and discrimination online. Find out more about what we do –


LET’S TALK ABOUT RACE UK Athletics outlines its plans for change in the sport Last Summer, rather than simply look for a few days of news coverage and make a token declaration that #blacklivesmatter, UK Athletics launched a focused initiative entitled 'Let’s Talk About Race', to promote discussion with the aim of driving change in sport. For some, this was the first time they felt able to speak to someone about their experiences with a genuine belief that they would be listened to and their concerns would be meaningfully taken onboard. UK Athletics is currently working towards the Equality Standard for Sport Advanced Level with England Athletics – and a significant part of this relates to tackling racism. This follows work in recent years, headed by our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (ED&I) team. We are proud of a number of activities where we have made black, Asian, minority ethnic issues a core focus, including:


• COACH – UK Athletics’ groundbreaking photo exhibition in 2017 of the many black and ethnic minority coaches working within our sport. The project was exhibited in numerous locations around the country and continues to be exhibited in various training locations. (https://

to as a sport. ( uk/media/news/2019-news-page/ march-2019/01-03-19-race-at-workcharter/)

• Staff training and engagement – we have implemented comprehensive ED&I training for staff, and two of our ED&I staff advocates are designated to promote and deliver initiatives around race and religion or belief.

All the above has been alongside and working with the Home Country Athletics Federations (HCAFs), to tackle issues of racial inequality UKwide. The purpose of highlighting these activities is not so we can pat ourselves on the back, but to ensure we are transparent on the standards we have committed to so far.

• Race To Work Charter – In 2019 UKA were proud to be the first sport national governing body to sign the Race at Work Charter, which outlined the principles we have committed

• Education – We are delivering ED&I workshops, such as the workshop we delivered at the last Officials Conference on use of language and behaviours, and rolling out a programme of specially devised workshops which will be available for our partners and sponsors.

And yet, I will concede – this is not enough and there is so much more to do.

“This is a significant step in our pursuit to drive change in our sport. The focus groups will magnify the important points raised so far which are essential for our 2021-24 Diversity Action Plan.” So, to further the initiative we conducted a series of educational roundtable seminars and discussion forums to hear directly from the athletics family and listen to all the issues they want addressed, from an accurate and agreed starting point. We then hosted a series of focus groups for athletes, coaches, officials and clubs, plus groups looking at our approach to communications, training and development. Several contributors from the initial round– tables have agreed to continue the conversation with the governing body to assist in bringing together a clear action plan for the sport. Recently appointed ED&I Advocate, Imani Lansiquot, and Yannick Phippen chaired the athletes group, while British Athletics’ Executive Champion for Race, Mark Draisey, headed up the Training and Development discussion. Michael Afilaka, who has coached several athletes including a world silver medallist, and Ashleigh Nelson, led the Coaches group. Melanie Anning, who has been involved in the sport in various roles as an official, parent of an athlete and currently as a masters athlete, led the Officials discussion. Meanwhile, Marcus Opoku, a level 2 Official and parent of a junior athlete, led the Clubs focus group and Sabrina Pace Humphreys, co-founder of community and campaigning group, Black Trail Runners, will chair Clubs and Communications respectively.

Joanna Coates, UK Athletics CEO, stated: “This is a significant step in our pursuit to drive change in our sport. The focus groups will magnify the important points raised so far which are essential for our 2021-2024 Diversity Action Plan, so I look forward to seeing the recommendations in the next few months.” Donna Fraser, Equality, Diversity and Engagement Lead at UK Athletics, added: “These focus groups are a crucial part of our work on race, and I am so pleased that we have several individuals across the athletics community who have stepped up to be part of this journey, either as a Chair of the subgroups, or volunteering their time to continue this significant work.” Referring to how the death George Floyd sparked conversations about race around the world, Donna Fraser commented “We took the time to reach out to the athletics community to understand the true feelings and experiences within our sport. “The passion and commitment to make change from those who supported the programme really shone through and I thank them for their honesty. This is the start of a journey and I have no doubt that the athletics community will hold myself and the senior leaders at UKA and the HCAF’s accountable for the Let’s Talk About Race deliverables.” Recently Kadeena Cox has joined as an ED&I Athlete Advocate and the RACEquality Network has also been launched, chaired by Lorna Dwyer. The headline actions agreed by the CEO forum include: • A sport-wide commitment to address racial inequality • Embedding ED&I in UKA and HCAF strategies • Diverse representation at all levels of athletics e.g. Developing a Club ED&I toolkit • Development & Education e.g. Embedding unconscious bias / ED&I training in coaching, officials and workforce qualifications • Develop mentoring/shadowing programmes • Policies e.g. Develop and implement a Race Equality Code of Conduct for officials.

DONNA FRASER What is your role at UKA? I’m the Equality, Diversity & Engagement Lead. What inspired you to want work for UKA? Being a former athlete, athletics will always be my passion; coupled with that I have a passion for making a difference to others which ED&I embraces. So in a nutshell this was my dream job. How does a diverse team improve how you work? A team of people with different views and experiences contributes to my work – having that broad view enables successful engagement and interactions with what I aim to deliver. With that comes creativity, innovation and continuous improvement. What is the best career advice have you received? I have two: 1) My Dad has all girls but treated us like his sons, he’d often tell us “Do whatever you want to do and don’t let anyone stand in your way”. 2) My mentor to this day tells me that I am too humble and to “sell myself more than I do, because no one else will”. I blame my parents for that but I’m improving. What words of wisdom do you have for the next generation? Know your worth and don’t limit yourself on what you can achieve – if the opportunity doesn’t knock, make your own door and open it.


You’re also a coach, what has been your proudest moment as a coach? As well as winning the London Regional Coaching Award in 2014. I am also proud of having two former athletes representing GB with one winning European U23 200m gold medal in 2017. If anyone could describe you in three words what would they be?


Approachable, positive, genuine.

Paralympic Talent Development Coordinator What is your role at UKA? My role involves the effective coordination of Paralympic Pathway coach and athlete development activity to increase the number of eligible paraathletes recruited to compete and progress to elite level in the sport. As well as monitoring of performance for early talent identification to progress athletes through the talent pathway. I have been in the role for three years, which has flown by. What inspired you to want to work in the para team? My previous role within England Athletics was coming to an end, the vacancy for my current role was advertised around the same time and after reading the job specification I applied for it. I feel that this is one of the best decisions I have made in my working career. I find the role challenging at times but also extremely rewarding. As well as having the opportunity to work with some amazing and talented athletes and supportive staff I have also had the opportunity be a team coach at para competitions on a global level. How did you get involved in athletics? I am a former athlete; I became involved in coaching after carrying out an after school athletic club whilst working at a primary school within the London Borough of Newham. I now coach an inclusive group of athletes of various ages at Newham & Essex Beagles AC.


SHARON MORRIS Performance Pathway Senior Coordinator / PA to Talent Director How long have you been in your current role? Approximately 8 years, but I’ve had various roles within Coaching & Development and Anti-Doping since 2006. You’re also a coach, what do you love most about being a coach? I love creating an environment where the athletes I coach are happy, have fun, achieve and support each other as well as having great parents on board. I never considered being a coach in athletics, if anything netball would have been a possibility as I spent many years in the sport. If it was not for my son wanting to run 15 years ago, I would never have been on this path. I am strong in my Faith and believe this was my calling. What has been your proudest moment as a coach? I have many. Firstly being the first black female coach to win Coach

of the Year award at Birchfield Harriers and having my family there who have supported me throughout this journey – having two young children (now both adults), a husband and full time job whilst coaching was not easy to balance, but because I was committed I was able to do it all. Secondly, having three athletes selected for GB in 2018, and thirdly, seeing an athlete I used to coach in an Olympic final. What or who inspired you to get into coaching? My son was a good young athlete and I took him to our local club. One of the lead coaches said I had a good coaching eye and they encouraged me to take a coaching qualification, and I gained a UKA volunteering award 12 months later. I continued my coaching education by achieving Level 3 in Sprints & Combined Events and Level 2 across all event groups. I attended conferences and workshops and learned a great deal on the EA National Coaching Development Programme and was one of the first coaches on the Female Coaching Legacy Programme (FCLP). I was able to form great relationships with coaches, and they all inspire me. I have also mentored two female coaches at my club for the past six years and with my older athletes they are encouraged to take a coaching assistant coach, so hopefully we are able to create a legacy. You’re part of the European Athletics pilot Women’s Leadership Programme in conjunction with the German Athletics Federation. What have you learnt from that? It was an honour to be invited to work with such inspiring ladies. We have a lot of similarities within our roles and future goals and many of us face the same obstacles which we aiming to eliminate and make a major difference. When we see each other online, it’s as if we’d known each other for years. If anyone could describe you in three words what would they be? Passionate, empathic, calm. 143

Street League:

Helping young people make the move from school to sustained employment through sport Leonardo at the Street League Manchester Football Academy

Far too often the world defines young people as what they’re not, and what they haven’t got. Not in education, not in training, haven’t got a home, haven’t got a job. This is ‘disadvantaged thinking’, and we think it has to stop. We believe every young person has a talent – we want to stop talking about what’s holding young people back, and start talking about what they can become! Young people are our future, and it’s only when we see them in that way, that we will be able to invest properly in them, help them transform their lives and our communities. Street League uses sport to help young people to achieve their potential and overcome barriers to employment and educational achievement whilst inspiring them to adopt healthy and active lives. Street League’s aim is to end youth unemployment in the UK and we do this by supporting young people to move into work, and alongside them and their employers to keep them in sustainable employment. With one in seven young people unemployed in the UK today, youth unemployment can cause significant physical, mental and emotional harm. Working across 14 regions, and 38 local communities we’ve helped move 1,656 young people into a job, further education or training in the last twelve months alone.


Young people are at the centre of all we do… Everything we do is focused on supporting young people to change their lives. This might be helping them get motivated and healthier through sport and fitness, or gain the qualifications, skills and confidence needed to move into work. We will always see the positive in young people, encourage their ability and talents and strive to help them realise their ambitions. Street League programmes are designed with this in mind and we believe investing in our young people is the ONLY way forward.

We value the power of sport to change lives… Sport is integral to making Street League work. It brings people together, creating fitter bodies and healthier minds. We believe sport teaches key skills such as discipline, communication and teamwork and is one of the most powerful tools for building friendships and getting to know people.

• Progressions Hubs these are one to one sessions solely focused on supporting individuals into employment education & training. • Street Football is a session that is delivered twice a week in every region and a great opportunity for young people to meet the team and find out more about the Street Leagues programmes. Sessions are delivered face to face and online in the ever changing and challenging climate, everyday is different where each person on the programme will learn and develop new skills along with obtaining a certified & accredited qualification. The support doesn’t stop there our Aftercare Coordinators ensure every young person is supported for up to twelve months after completing their programme, this support has proven a huge success and is a key part of all of our programmes. We have invested heavily in our ICT resources during the Coronavirus pandemic ensuring all our young people can access our services from home where restrictions apply.

The Street League programme

Who we work with

We offer a variety of structured programmes to meet the needs of young people these range from; • 8-week Employability & Personal Development Programme. • 20-week Functional Skills Programme up to Level 2 (equivalent of a grade 4 at GCSE).

We work with young people from a range of backgrounds, primarily from disadvantaged communities. Whether unemployed due to lack of qualifications, low confidence or self-esteem, mental health issues, crime or gang involvement, learning difficulties or care responsibilities –

Street League graduate Chinedu with former England player and TV presenter, Dion Dublin

Klaudia at her new job with call centre Rightio, Birmingham

young people join our programme for a number of reasons. At Street League, we truly believe there is no one size fits all approach.

for them. We listen to and work with each young person to develop a plan that works for them – their expectations, needs and goals.

Where our young people end up

Where the Street League Programmes are delivered?

Street League participants end up in a variety of destinations dependent on their interest. Our top three industries last year, where young people secured a job, were retail, hospitality and customer service but we also see a number of participants go into construction, warehousing, call centres, offices, sports and the health and beauty industry. Some young people will want us to help them get into college, university or find an apprenticeship that’s right

CASE STUDIES: Leonardo Ambrosio 19-year-old Leonardo from Manchester arrived in the UK in 2013 from Iran. His struggles with the language meant he had difficulty finding employment, “At that time Street League welcomed me in, even with my lack of communication. They let me play football every day, showed me what to do and said they would help me achieve what I wanted.” Now working with the National Football Museum, Leonardo further says “I trust Street League and it has had a massive influence in what I am achieving now. My full time job has given me stability and I would recommend anyone in this situation to get involved with Street League – they can help you achieve what you want.”

We deliver our services across England and Scotland, the regions are listed below and contact details for all of the regions can be found on the Street League website. • Ayrshire • Birmingham • Clyde West • Dunbartonshire • Dundee • Glasgow

• Lanarkshire • Leeds • Liverpool • London • Manchester • Sheffield

How do I get involved? Visit where you can sign up directly at join-a-free-programme or read our case studies and FAQs to find out more. A member of our team will be in touch once we have received your submission. For more details follow us on our social media channels, @street_league streetleagueuk

Chinedu Ubaknma

Klaudia Ruchwal

Chinedu, 23, from South London was struggling to hold down a job before he joined a Street League programme. His main focus had always been to play football, with the hopes of becoming professional but he struggled with confidence and belief in himself. He doubted himself and his skills and felt he wasn’t going to accomplish much. Street League’s London football academy saw him develop his professional skills, gain relevant qualifications and confidence.

At 19, Klaudia from Birmingham had no issues with confidence but struggled with personal and family issues at home. Klaudia joined our dance academy once she left the family home with nowhere to go. Street League helped source emergency housing, working with her to ensure she was in a better personal space. Despite tough circumstances she committed to the academy programme, working through days when she was upset due to personal problems.

Now working in a marketing role as brand ambassador for Adidas his first thoughts on Street League were “I had just lost a job and was pretty downhearted. This sounded like it might help me get back on my feet and wait a minute… I can play football too?! It sounded too good to be true… so I checked it out and then I realised how great it actually is.”

Street League introduced her to Rightio where she received an offer of full time employment. The steady income from her job has allowed her to live independently and put her in a better frame of mind. In Klaudia’s words, “Street League has helped change my life. I have been able to get away from home and live on my own and I have also got into full time work.”


Emergency Services The blue light emergency responders are the visible, and audible, public face of the three main organisations in the UK – the Police Service, the Fire Service and the Emergency Medical Services. But this is the tip of a much wider support base. The range of job opportunities open to you in the emergency services is vast, from being a dog handler for the police to driving an ambulance or working as a firefighter. There are many opportunities for both school leavers and graduates in the emergency services and prospects for training and progression are good. Many roles require shift work, as emergencies can happen at any time. Employment is usually on a local basis, so you’ll need to find out about specific job opportunities from the relevant organisation in the area where you hope to work. In recent years, there has been a trend towards recruiting graduates in some areas of the emergency services, and in some a degree is now required, so it has become increasingly common to study an approved course at university before starting work.


Always considered as essential workers, and undergoing a highly professional and rigorous training regime, these services have always been seen as an excellent, if demanding, career choice, with plenty of chances for advancement. There are around 132,000 full time police officers in the UK, 32,000 fire personnel and around 29,000 qualified paramedics and ambulance staff. There are also a number of different roles available ranging from ambulance technicians, coastguards and emergency planners to forensic scientists and photographers, media relations and scenes of crime officers. There are plenty of opportunities within all three emergency services for anyone with the drive, commitment and ability to carve out a progressive, long and successful career for themselves.


FITTING THE BILL Essex Police have developed a unique police officer recruitment drive, #FitTheBill, which has been a huge success in bringing a wide range of people into policing, from increasingly diverse backgrounds. To further those ends, in 2020 they created a new #FitTheBill campaign entitled ‘We Value Difference’. Nationally, policing struggles to attract people who are black, Asian, minority ethnic, LGBTQ+, female or who declare other protected characteristics. This is an issue which many organisations have addressed, however very few diversity campaigns tackle the whole breadth of protected characteristics head-on, with a clear and explicit statement of intent welcoming everyone to the profession on the basis of shared values first and foremost. ‘We Value Difference’ tackles diversity and inclusion in its entirety. It reflects the values which define us and the values policing is most interested in. It articulates some of the fundamental tenets of British policing with consent, and communicates them in a way which is relevant to modern society. Put simply, it’s your public service ethos and commitment that matter, not your religion or your height or your gender or sexuality.


Within the first two months of campaign launch, the number of applications from black, Asian and minority ethnic men and women doubled compared to previous recruitment campaigns. Over the same period, applications from nonBritish white men and women (for example those of central European or Irish backgrounds), and women in general, also increased.. Within the first four months of campaign launch, the ‘We Value Difference’ Campaign had attracted 1295 men and women to apply for a job as a Police Officer, 16% from black, Asian or minority ethnic individuals, compared with 9% of applications in the same period the previous year – an unprecedented outcome for a police diversity recruitment campaign.

the county and a 1.13% increase in female officers in a force of over 3300 regular Officers and over 500 Special Constables. The methodology, impact and insights from ‘We Value Difference’ have also been recognised as best practice and have been shared with 30 other UK police forces, the Home Office, the national College of Policing and the National Police Chiefs’ Council. In addition, other forces have expressed interest in collaborating on future diversity recruitment campaigns and we plan to continue sharing insight for the benefit of the entire sector. Chief Constable of Essex Police, Ben-Julian Harrington said: “It’s been amazing to see the reaction – not just from across Essex, but across the UK and beyond.

The ‘We Value Difference’ Campaign is changing the make-up of one the UK’s larger police forces and is making it more representative of the communities it serves. The campaign also won support from completely new audiences and from people across all sections of society. Essex Police has already seen a 4.35% increase in black, Asian and minority ethnic officers serving in

“Our aim is to make our police force as diverse as the county we serve, and we are committed to doing that. We genuinely value differences between different people and communities at Essex Police – whether that’s your age, your ethnicity or your life experience. As long as you share our commitment to protect and serve the people of Essex, we want to hear from you.


“I think the police should be more straight-talking and acknowledge we need to do more to attract people from all walks of life to join the great people that are already part of our team.” “Sir Robert Peel, the founder of modern policing, said: “the public are the police and the police are the public” – it’s as simple as that. “We also know that different personalities and viewpoints can make a great team – that’s why difference is so important. We support officers from all sorts of backgrounds, those of different sexual orientations and gender identities, of different levels of neurodiversity and ability or speak different languages. I think the police should be more straight-talking and acknowledge we need to do more to attract people from all walks of life to join the great people that are already part of our team. We need to get on and deal with it and that is what we are doing. “I know we can do better. And we will. I want to make sure that our officers are the best that they can be so that they can continue to detect crime in our county and keep you safe.”

REFLECTING THE COMMUNITY Essex Police know the importance of showing the public the people behind the uniform, humanising them and breaking down some of the barriers that exist with communities. This is a must to challenge common misconceptions and stereotypes of the police and encourage those from all backgrounds to consider policing as an excellent career for all. This is now of particular importance as the death of George Floyd in the USA and the reaction of the Black Lives Matters movement shone a light on perceived racism and a lack of trust in policing across the world. We have sought advice from diverse community groups, charities,

members of the public and existing officers and staff from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, and they have highlighted some of the barriers that potentially exist between them and the police and what can be done to encourage people from these communities to join the police. As a career, policing was generally not recognised as credible within certain groups. Asian communities felt the police offered a lack of status and prospects, the black community felt there were minimal opportunities for black women in a predominantly white male organisation and those from different faiths and those who had English as a second language thought they were ineligible to work for a British police force. All of which were negative assumptions or misconceptions. PC Anokhi Chouhan, who serves on the Community Policing Team in Loughton, has already used her connections to make a difference. Having joined in Summer 2019, she noticed that “[my team] had little to no contact with members of our religious communities. [I] worked with a local Reverend to identify and contact religious leaders from all faiths in our districts and come up with ways we could better engage with those communities.” Alongside Anokhi, over 50 officers and staff from all walks of life have also provided case studies, appeared in selfie-campaigns or have spoken about their experiences in interviewstyle videos. Differences in ethnic backgrounds, socio-economic backgrounds and life experiences have shown how the force celebrates diversity and values difference. Case studies included officers with dyslexia and autism, women who had joined later in life, single parents, people in same-sex relationships and those from ethnically diverse communities. Each person spoke about the barriers they faced, how they overcame challenges with the help and support of the force, and the importance of difference in the workplace. These were not only used in our usual channels, but selected stories were also used to support the multi-million-pound Home Office national ‘Make Your Difference’ recruitment campaign and officers have featured across a range of regional and national platforms.

Recent figures show an additional 6620 officers have joined forces across England and Wales, putting the Government on track to attract 20,000 more officers by 2023.

NEXT STEPS The ‘We Value Difference’ campaign is designed to increase trust, connect to new audiences and open doors that were previously shut for many people who just didn’t think policing was an option for them. Not only has this seen more people from diverse backgrounds join the force at Constable level, it has seen the force recruit a new top ranking senior female black officer, a Chief Superintendent, which is two ranks above the previously highest-ranking black officer. An independent survey has shown the campaign has helped change public perception of the force, with public confidence and trust hitting an all-time high. ‘We Value Difference’ has now been extended to include Independent Advisory Groups, to not only encourage recruitment but also to encourage wider engagement with District Commanders and members of the community. Essex Police are showing they really do value difference, and the different opinions on how policing with consent should work in Essex. The ambition is to not only deliver regional improvements, or even to work hand in hand with multiple other forces, but for Essex to help to transform the whole policing sector. Despite the fact the timing of this project could not have proven any more challenging, with the country has been gripped in the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘We Value Difference’ has exceeded all expectations. Essex Police are committed to continuing activity to further increase the diversity within the force.

Essex Police is recruiting now. You can apply here:


THE HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL BLACK POLICE ASSOCIATION In 1990, questions were raised with the Metropolitan Police regarding the alarming rate that Black staff were leaving the service. As a result an initiative between the Metropolitan Police and the socialist support unit at Turvey was held in Bristol, with aim of encouraging retention of experienced officers. In 1991, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) organised the “Fairness, Community, and Justice” Conference in Bristol and mandated that all Black officers were to attend. The seminar brought together people from within the Police Service and professionals from other organisations who had an interest and concern for issues around equal opportunities. Sir John Smith, the Deputy Commissioner, told delegates that the main aim of the conference was to “inspire action”.


At this seminar Black officers were confronted with the realisation that the issues they were facing in isolation were being replicated and repeated across the MPS. Examples of racism, victimisation and isolation were shared. Many of the offenders were serving police officers. The Bristol Seminars were the creation of an informal network based on friendships made during the two days and the subsequent “Bristol Reunion” Social Functions. These seminars sowed the seeds for the formation of the Met BPA in 1994 and later the National Black Police Association (NBPA) in 1999. With the help of the Metropolitan Black Police Association, the word quickly spread across the country, resulting in a flood of interest from Black members from other forces.

This interest was not allowed to dissipate and individuals from provincial services came together with Metropolitan Police staff for a number of meetings in 1994-1995. The meetings were held at the then Home Office Specialist Support Unit in Turvey where the notion of a National BPA was nurtured and the transition from informal networking to strategic national communication network took place.

STRENGTH IN UNITY In October 1996, with interest having grown across the country in the work of the BPA, a National Communication Network was formed. This network consisted of Black staff members spanning the length and breadth of the country. It was quickly realised that the only way forward was to form a national

association, speaking with “ONE VOICE, STRENGTH IN UNITY”. The country was then divided into three regions with a co-ordinator for each region. In November 1998, the National Black Police Association became a reality when an interim executive was elected to take the association to launch. The executive committee was comprised of 14 executive members from 12 Constabularies. The post holders included a Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson, General Secretary, Treasurer and Deputy Treasurer. In addition to the executive committee a NBPA coordinator was appointed. It was to be chaired by Leroy Logan MBE of the MET Police – with the Vice Chair, Dr Ali Dizaei, also from the MET, and the General Secretary, Robyn Williams QPM from Nottinghamshire Police. Home Secretary, the Rt Hon Jack Straw, gave his full support to the NBPA voicing it in many public forums and was instrumental in the negotiating the NBPA office which was previously situated within the Home Office building. In 1998 Members of the executive committee sat on the following groups: • Home Secretary’s group

over seeing and auditing the recommendations from Macpherson. • Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies Project review board on Accelerated Promotion Graduate Scheme. • Association of Chief Police Officers Race Hate Committee. • Association of Chief Police Officers Race and Community Relations. • IONANN Advisory Committee. • Action Equality. • Her Majesty’s Inspection team. In addition to participating in the above groups, members of the executive also delivered presentations to bodies such as Bramshill, Strategic Command Course, Probation Service, Community Race Relations Committee, and National Federation to name just a few. In November 1999, it was launched at the International Conference Centre, Birmingham, with the mission statement; “The National Black Police Association seeks to improve the working environment of Black staff by protecting the rights of those employed within the Police Service and to enhance racial harmony and the quality of service to the Black community of the United Kingdom. Thereby assisting the Police Service in delivering a fair and equitable service to all sections of the community.”

The definition of “Black” does not refer to skin colour. The emphasis is on the common experience and determination of the people of African, African-Caribbean and Asian origin to oppose the effects of racism.

“The NBPA seeks to improve the working environment of Black staff by protecting the rights of those employed within the Police Service and to enhance racial harmony and the quality of service to the Black community of the UK.” Summary provided by the South West and Wales Regional Black Police Associations



Policing is a career like no other. Our police officers, police staff and volunteers show courage, teamwork and compassion on a daily basis to make a real difference to people’s lives in the communities they serve. At Hampshire Constabulary we look for all kinds of skills, because we know it takes all kinds of people to protect the public. Problem solving, compassion, resilience, respect, courage and teamwork. These are the qualities we are looking for. You could be part of an increasingly diverse workforce, and develop the skills and knowledge to deal with new and emerging types of crime, such as cybercrime, as well as highharm offences like domestic abuse or serious sexual offences. It’s a role that offers job stability and huge day to day variety.

Diversity is something we welcome and want to increase because we know that having diverse empowered teams allows us to understand new ideas and perspectives to make better decisions to offer an even better service to our communities. We have a positive action team, and support groups in force that are here to help. If you think you might have the skills to serve, why not apply?

Why did you choose the police, and Hampshire Constabulary in particular, as a career?

under-represented communities. Other forces around the country, especially the MET Police, have officers from differing backgrounds, so I felt strongly that I had a duty to step up and help the constabulary mirror the multicultural, diverse community it serves.

Serving the public is in my DNA. I have always had an interest in Law Enforcement, but only recently did I feel ready to join the police.

How have the skills and experience you already had prior to joining helped you in the modern police service?

In 2012, I joined The National Archives as a Security Officer. I really enjoyed my role there, so I decided to take my career further in the same direction by joining the HM Prison Service as a Prison Officer. After working in a multi-agency environment, I felt that I could use my skills and experience to serve my community as a Police Officer.

I feel that my cultural and religious background, multi-language skills, experience in conflict management and decision making under pressure, was a massive advantage, not only for myself but my team, force and the community I serve. I was born in a Muslim family in Pakistan. Religion was always part of my upbringing. I am fluent in Urdu, Punjabi and Hindi. These languages helped me break barriers in my public facing policing role. My religious knowledge helped me clarify many concepts of Islam among my peers. This also equipped them with basic


There were several reasons to join the Hampshire Constabulary. Firstly, it was my home police force, and secondly, I felt that Hampshire needs officers from


cultural and religious manners of different ethnic minorities of our community. My experience from HMPS gave me skills and confidence to deal with extremely volatile and dynamic situations.

What training routes were on offer to applicants? Which did you follow, and why? I applied for the Hampshire Constabulary in 2016. At that time there was only one standard route to join as a PC. Applicants go through paper sifting and then an internal interview. Successful candidates then get an invitation to national selection for police offices (SEARCH). This included English report writing, maths, role-plays and a final interview. Successful candidates then need to complete a vetting, medical and fitness test. Once all cleared, candidates receive an offer and a start date for 15 weeks training at Netley.

What range of skills have you developed while on the job? Being a police officer is not a job – it is a lifestyle and vocation. It comes with positive restrictions and limitations. Officers have the same powers on duty and off duty. This is a massive responsibility; social circles, associates, friends and even activities change. My job helped me develop interpersonal skills, time management and prioritising tasks, decision making with a rational and role model persona. These skills help me manage my personal and social life too.

What are the possibilities for career and personal development and/ or specialising in particular roles? What are the usual timescales involved? The possibilities are endless, it all depends on what an individual wants to achieve and how much effort and work one invests in it. During the first couple of years of probation, a student officer will have an opportunity to work with different departments of the force and learn basic skills. This also gives them chance to develop their interest for a specialist role. Opportunities to pursue promotions or even fast track development scheme are also there for ambitious officers to go through the ranks. I have had the opportunity to represent my force at national and international policing events. In short, being an officer from an ethnic background has never been a disadvantage for me.

Why do you think it is important that Hampshire Constabulary has a diverse workforce that reflects the local community? Diversity and inclusivity is key to the performance of any organisation. It is even more critical when it comes to policing. Hampshire does not have a diverse workforce when compared to other forces around the country, and it has been reaching out to diversify its workforce over the last few years. Efforts been made and measures have been implemented to promote policing as a career in ethnic minority groups. Recruitment events and positive action support for applicants have improved diversity in our force, but we still need more people from all communities to join us and help us serve the public better.

Is there any special support available for BAME candidates? Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney is the force’s Race Champion. There are several support groups to meet the needs of everyone. The BEAM support group is very active helping staff and officers from ethnic backgrounds, and focuses on recruitment, retention and progression of BME staff/officers within Hampshire Constabulary. BEAM SPOCS are the friendly faces, spread around the force to discuss any issues in confidence.

Have you faced any prejudices in the workplace at Hampshire Constabulary? I have personally never experienced any prejudice within Hampshire Constabulary. I have always been treated with respect

and fairness. The Professional Standards Department deals with all internal complaints and disciplinary issues. The BEAM support group also raises and addresses any issues. Hampshire Constabulary do not have any room for discrimination and all complaints are dealt with promptly and robustly.

Is there much variety in what you do day to day? As a frontline response officer, no one day is the same. We respond to all emergencies. One can never predict what to expect when we come to work. Police officers not only deal with crime, but public welfare and vulnerability is a vital part of our day to day role. Missing people, concern for welfare, medical emergencies, traffic management etc… are very common.

What is it about your role that you enjoy and what motivates you most? And the downsides? I enjoy all aspects of my role. It may sound strange, but as a response officer we go towards danger and threat when everyone else is running away from it. The best motivation for me is to know that when someone picks up the phone and dials 999 with the belief that a police officer will respond to protect them regardless of their race, religion, nationality or any other difference. Policing is a tough and challenging career. We get abused, we get assaulted and get injured too. You may have to work on public holidays and you may miss your family events, but it’s all in the line of duty.

“Being a police officer is not a job – it is a lifestyle and vocation. This is a massive responsibility; social circles, associates, friends and even activities change.” 153

How do you feel you’ve benefitted from choosing a career within the police service? I have been involved with law enforcement for many years and joining the police service was my ultimate goal. I have benefitted enormously from it on a personal and professional level. I found my purpose and sense of belonging with Hampshire Constabulary. The pride and

honour to serve and protect is hard to explain through words, one needs to live through the experience to understand it. Professionally it is an excellent career, with so much to choose from. I feel more financial stability and job satisfaction than I have ever felt before.

What advice would you give anyone who is looking to join the service?

If you have ever thought about joining the police as a career then now is the time. New generations of officers are changing policing all over the world. You will have an opportunity to start an exciting career along with a degree supported by the police service. To me, it is the best job in the world. Not many careers empower you to be the first one to help in an hour of need. It is an honour and privilege for me to wear this uniform and serve.

JOEY’S STORY Why did you choose the police, and Hampshire Constabulary in particular, as a career? I wanted to join some time ago, but I wanted to gain some life experience before going into a full time professional career. I have family in the police and they had told me how rewarding policing is, not just the fast cars and chasing down the bad guys but also helping people and getting outcomes for the victims of crime. I was born in Hampshire and this is where my roots are. Having children, I did not want to travel too far to and from my place of work, but also Hampshire is one of the largest police areas in England and Wales. It’s very diverse and its support network is one of the best.

How have the skills and experience you already had prior to joining helped you in the modern police service? Prior to joining Hampshire Constabulary, I worked for the University of Southampton, where I gained skills in dealing with people from different backgrounds and effectively helping me gain confidence in communicating with students, members of the public and outside stakeholders. While dealing with a vast range of duties I also developed organisational skills and the ability to work effectively, efficiently, to make instant decisions, while working independently most of the time.

What are the possibilities for career and personal development and/ or specialising in particular roles? What are the usual timescales involved?

“Diversity builds trust in communities and helps break down barriers between police and public.” officer. The recruitment team were very helpful. They set up workshops and open days that gave an insight into the job and how to prepare for interviews and role plays. I also received a lot of guidance from officers within the force, who were very helpful with passing my initial assessment and the application process.

What training routes were on offer to applicants? Which did you follow, and why?

What range of skills have you developed while on the job?

I entered via the 15-week training at Netley, rather than the degree route that is available now. As well as the PC route, there was also the direct entry Detective Constable route, PCSO (Police Community Support Officer), or Special Constable route. I chose the PC route as I wanted to become a full time frontline

The skills you can gain are endless. Every day you are learning something new, from effective communication, to being organised and making on the stop decisions using the NDM (National Decision Model). I have also gained skills in first aid and I’ve assisted in CPR saving a life while on duty.


After your probation period you are able to pursue a career path in anything from armed response to dog handler to high harm team. The opportunities within the force are immense. If there is a particular route you wish to take, the force helps and assists you to develop your skills via attachments to prepare you for the role you wish to choose.

Why do you think it’s important that Hampshire Constabulary has a diverse workforce that reflects the local community? Hampshire is full of people from different background and different walks of life. Diversity within the force is essential to represent these ethic groups. Diversity builds trust in communities and helps break down barriers between police and public.

Is there any special support available for BAME candidates? There is a lot of support out there. I am a member of BEAM (Black, Ethnic And Minority Support Group) within the force and I strive to help those of ethnic minorities, such as myself, to succeed in the application process. BEAM provide support to those who wish to attend via workshops and application assistance and also to progress once you are member of the policing family.

Have you faced any prejudices in the workplace at Hampshire Constabulary? I can say hand on heart I have never faced any prejudices within the work place or from the communities in which I work. I know officers that have and these

are issues that are taken very seriously within the force and I would urge anyone that has faced prejudice to come forward and not to let it break you down.

Is there much variety in what you do day to day? Each day is different, one day I may be dealing with a theft from a shop and the next day I am saving a life by commencing CPR. The job is vast in the fact that we deal with a lot of incidents and this is why it is both exciting and challenging at the same time.

What is it about your role that you enjoy and what motivates you most? And the downsides? Me personally, I love the people I work with, and the support that I receive from my colleagues and the higher ranks is the best I have ever had in any job role. I get great satisfaction when we are able to get outcomes for victims of crime and

being a part of them rebuilding their lives. I also like communicating with people, breaking down barriers and building confidence between the police and the public. In regards to downsides, I don’t really have any at present. I am still learning and enjoying every aspect of my work.

How do you feel you have benefitted from choosing a career within the police service?

and also think about what you can bring to the job if successful. I would also say talk with recruitment and the Positive Action Team (if applicable), as they are very helpful in guiding new applicants in the right direction, and speak to experienced officers on the frontline, as they will also give you valuable advice in applying for the role. If you have any further questions or would like to know more about the roles in Hampshire Police, please visit or email our positive action team on:

I feel I have grown in the job; I have become more confident and have been able to use my skills and language to help victims of crime. Policing is a great career with many opportunities. It is a stable, respectful role that I love.


What advice would you give anyone who is looking to join the service?


If I were to give advice, I would firstly say look into the role and force thoroughly, understand the role and what is expected

@HantsPolice HantsPolice


LIFE ON THE FAST TRACK Sharath Ranjan, Police Inspector, Hampshire Constabulary, and Co-Chair, Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic Support Group, gives his advice for candidates

As I sat in front of my computer one afternoon in 2013 at the offices of Quote Me Happy, London, I had to make a decision. Should I accept the offer of joining Hampshire Constabulary as a Police Constable (PC), or Should I continue with a career in IT Consulting? On one hand, life post move from India to the UK was finally moving in a positive direction with plenty of opportunities, exciting projects, recognition of potential and decent money to accompany it all. Why do I need to throw it all away and take a pay cut to join policing? Something deep within me queried – Does what you do now make a difference to people’s lives? At the time, that question was the catalyst for me taking the leap of faith and joining Hampshire Constabulary. Unafraid of exploring the unknown (moving from India to England, changing careers from hospitality to utilities to IT), I said to myself ‘As long as job satisfaction outweighs the pay-cut, why not?’ I joined policing as a 31-year-old with a passion for wanting to make a difference to people. Alongside this, I also wanted to progress and be recognised for my diversity of thought, potential and my transferable skills.


FIVE YEARS – WAS WHAT I WAS PREPARED TO GIVE FOR PROGRESS TO BE REALISED? In 2014, Fast Track to Inspector scheme was introduced by the College of Policing. The scheme’s purpose was to identify, attract and develop the most talented constables from within the Police Service who would bring new perspectives, diversity of thought and make an impact on the culture. It would propel a PC to the rank of Inspector in two years. As a probationer, I emailed the then Chief Superintendent, Rich John, to discuss the Fast Track scheme. Rich was kind enough to acknowledge my email and agreed a meeting where we discussed my credentials, ambition and his support. A colleague did quip at the time ‘You are too big for your boots’. Taking a ‘What’s the best that could happen?’ approach I applied in 2014 – failed at paper sift – dusted off – took on feedback. I applied in 2015 – failed at paper sift – dusted off – took on feedback. I applied in 2016 – failed at interview stage – dusted off – took on feedback. 2017 was going to be a good year Firefly – A change/leadership excellence programme had

just been introduced and I was selected alongside colleagues from Hampshire Constabulary, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and Hampshire County Council. I completed my Colour Works Insight’s profile, had a formal mentor and worked with a coach. A deep understanding of who I was and why I did things the way I did them followed. I was now able to articulate ME when it mattered the most. I applied again to Fast Track knowing it would be my last attempt and if unsuccessful, I would be moving on having given it my all. A vision was developed – ‘Make a Difference to People at Pace’. I passed the paper sift, interview and presentation with the Deputy Chief Constable, National Assessment Centre run by College of Policing, the Inspector’s Exam and started on the programme in December 2018. As the scheme came to an end last month, it’s a good time to pause for reflection. You or your organisation may be a part of similar talent management schemes and I hope this gives you some insight to be more effective in its delivery.

LABELS Being associated with any talent management scheme brings labels and often unrealistic expectations – ‘Fast Track’, ‘Exceptional’, ‘High Potential’, ‘Talented’.

What was so special about me that I got all the exciting opportunities? Nothing. I had worked hard to take the step from knowing to doing, failed fast and often and adapted to give myself the best chance of success for the future. Assumptions that one would be arrogant, entitled and ‘here to change everything’ were not uncommon. There was a time when a new officer asked ‘Is it true that if you are from a Black or Asian background, you get Fast Tracked?’ Little did he know about my failures. At times, labels can lead to a hostile environment where focussing on the development and adding value becomes hard to realise. Despite some of the negative aspects, I often saw this as an opportunity to challenge those presumptions with compassion and humility. But that comes at a cost – one had to dig deep in to the resilience reserves to keep on course. My hope is to have made a positive difference to these presumptions and paved the way for the next cohort of officers coming through the scheme.

BARRIERS For far too long, organisations and leaders have believed that resilience and survival was a key indicator of the success of future leaders. We rewarded our survivors with promotion time after time which meant those in positions of power and management now expected to see the same traits with those coming through the ranks. As I’ve navigated the last two years in several departments and teams, a common theme often seen was the perception that I was averse to difficult and challenging circumstances. On the contrary, my Insights profile showed a strong preference for the Yellow energy. I thrive on challenge and problem solving in a creative and innovative environment where dissent and disagreement is welcomed, where hierarchy and bureaucracy doesn’t rule the roost and where my whole self is accepted and celebrated. Depending on the critical service provided, need for urgent action, competing priorities and the micro

culture of the different departments – a mixed experience was not unusual or unexpected. Those with an urgent need for support and help readily welcomed the diversity of thought, differing perspective and ability to challenge the status quo. On other occasions, the questioning of ‘Why do we do this as it’s always done?’ was perceived as unnecessarily confrontational and/ or at times purposely problematic. Being trouble – good trouble, comes naturally to me and this at times can be difficult to be faced with and had caused friction. Broadly speaking, policing is still grappling with its leadership styles and how it brings the right future managers through to positions of power and influence. However, the promotion process is now underpinned by a competency and values based framework which has seen a change in what is assessed and valued. There is an impetus on identifying transformational leaders who are creating a nurturing environment where people thrive rather than survive. Transformational leadership is not to be reserved for the C-Suite alone and, if true, cultural shift is to be realised. We need transformational leaders at all levels of the organisation.

“Fast Track has been an incredible journey and as I have reflected, I identified a need for clarity across the organisations about such programmes.”

improved understanding. Identifying idiosyncrasies of individuals/teams and sharing my own along the way has hopefully paved the way for the next cohorts of Fast Track Officers. I had the exposure of working on very different teams. At the time I failed to see the relevance of some of my postings. However, I now appreciate the positive impact it has had on my leadership journey. Working as a Sergeant (the first level of supervision) has enabled me to understand the pivotal role it plays in the effective delivery of the Organisational strategy and setting the culture. Fast Track has been an incredible journey and as I have reflected, I identified a need for clarity across the organisations about such programmes. We now have an ‘Operational guide for Line Managers’ that I have co-authored to smooth the path for future cohorts. Races will be run; talented people will take to the track – it is up to us as leaders and organisations whether we want it to be a 100m dash or a 110m hurdles. Whatever we choose, let’s make sure it’s a level playing field where people thrive rather than having to survive. Looking forward to challenges ahead, I know that labels will resurface, barriers will create the challenge I need and new opportunities will present themselves. It is up to me as to how I respond and my experience has definitely stood me in good stead.

What will be your approach?

OPPORTUNITIES Did anything go well? Of course, it did. I have come to the end of the programme, that’s a huge milestone in itself compared to my first application in 2014. The labels and barriers identified above presented unique opportunities to make a ‘Difference to People at Pace’. Short stints with different departments meant that I had to build meaningful and lasting relationships at pace. Disagreements, constructive challenge and debate led to vulnerability, acceptance and

USEFUL LINKS National Black Police Association Fast Track Training Programme Hampshire Constabulary https://www.hampshire.police. uk/police-forces/hampshireconstabulary/areas/careers


Working together, sharing strengths Women in the Fire Service UK (WFS) is a volunteer-led, non-profit organisation with a vision of a society where women and girls are empowered to realise a career in the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS). Caroline Anderson, WFS Vice Chair, and Crew Manager/Recruitment and Retention Officer at Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, talks about how although the tide is slowly turning, the bigger picture is not the diverse workforce we would expect to see in 2021.

Inspiring a more progressive fire and rescue service Gender imbalance is high in the FRS, with women hugely under– represented. Because firefighting is still seen as a ‘man’s job’, many girls hold back from exploring this career. Recent Government figures show women make up less than 18% of the total workforce – and underwhelmingly – only 7% are firefighters. But it’s not just women that are underrepresented, 5.1% of all FRS staff are from ethnic minority communities and experimental figures show 3.3% identify as LGBT+. Of course this is only half the picture, what about gay women of colour, for example? Despite the low numbers, it’s good news there are now more positive action campaigns aimed at encouraging underrepresented groups to apply for opportunities. Proactive services are leading the way on this, one way is through “Have A Go” days specifically for women, BAME and LGBT+ communities. FRS also works with and supports organisations like the Asian Fire Service Association, Stonewall, and Women in the Fire Service UK to name a few, helping create change in a deep rooted culture. That culture is a white dominated male workforce. Sadly, stereotypes still need debunking, as many young people don’t see that careers in the service are for them. Old cliches are harmful – that certain groups of people aren’t up to the job or wouldn’t want to do the job just isn’t acceptable.

women to take the path that’s right for them. Our Reps speak in schools and at careers fairs. And we’re often asked for advice from young people thinking about pathways to the FRS – what subjects to take, and questions about other routes into the service, like Apprenticeships or the Fire Cadets. WFS also has a jobs board which advertises opportunities from entry-level to senior positions. To apply for a full time firefighter position in Devon and Somerset Fire Service you currently need four GCSEs or equivalent, including English, Maths and Science, and you need to be able to swim and have a driving license. Many women firefighters also train to drive fire appliances, qualifying as an LGV driver – something people often don't think of a woman doing at all!

Role models of the future WFS champions the motto, “if you can see it, you can be it”. Our ‘Young Person Role Model Award’, a category in our award

scheme, recognises young people in the FRS aged 11-24 years old, who are ambassadors for equality and diversity issues. Last year we awarded an Assistant Commissioner Ambassador Cadet, who spoke passionately about the need for the young to break down barriers across London communities to make streets safer and to celebrate diversity. There are many roles for young people to aspire to, whether that’s a chief fire officer, drone operator, diversity officer, dog handler, driving instructor, or an engineer or even a food nutritionist! I was working as a legal secretary, when I saw an advert outside my local fire station. I really wanted a new challenge in my life, so thought I’d apply to be a firefighter. The fire service is now like a family to me. To any young person thinking about joining – don’t let anyone tell you it’s not the career for you, because of your ethnicity, gender, physique, ability or background. For more information about WFS, visit:

Careers for everyone Leaders and senior posts in the FRS are for anyone. Women have risen to the very top of the profession, with six women fire chiefs now across the country. We encourage and promote self-development, empowering


Image WFS UK (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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