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Newsletter October 2008

Network for Black


more than a network

Network for Black


London Branch of the Network Re-launched Network for Black Professional members based in the London and the south of the country can now enjoy even more benefits following the successful re-launch of the London and South region.

The inaugural event was a sell-out alumni celebration at the London Marriott Hotel, County Hall, in May; it was all the more fitting because it took place during the 10th anniversary year of the Network. Attended by First Steps to Leadership graduates and participants of the full range of BLI programmes, the highlight of the evening was when members spoke with pride about the progress they had made in their careers as a direct result of their association with the Network. Jannett Morgan, London and South regional manager (and an equally proud Network beneficiary) aims to build on this individual success by enabling members to also work collectively. She explains:

more than a net work

“The Network is a national organisation but we recognise that there are some issues that are of particular regional or local interest and we want to respond accordingly. It is the members who will set the agenda for these events. At the same time, I work closely with my northern counterpart, Lenford White, to make sure we offer joint programmes where appropriate. Over the next year, I want to ensure that every aspiring BME individual working in our core sector (FE) on my patch engages regularly with the Network by attending one of our masterclasses, networking events or simply by getting in touch to find out more about what we do. But I also want to make sure that the individual knows he or she is part of a family who are there to offer real support.�

In July the London and South region held a masterclass on the Machinery of Government. Staff from all levels from a cross section of London colleges attended. The event was a huge success and there was a real buzz during the networking session that followed; due to popular demand, a follow up event is scheduled for November. There is much work to be done but Jannett has already seen a change in the number and type of people coming forward to participate in Network events and has high hopes for the future. For more details about the London and South region please contact Jannett Morgan at

Newsletter - October 2008

Editor’s Message Once again, a warm welcome to all of our readers!

Jeff Browne

In this edition, our key messages are recognition and acknowledgement of successes and achievements. We also highlight ways to take charge and be proactive with one’s professional development via the BLI’s positive action programmes such as mentoring and talent management. I hope you enjoy the various stories. If you have any feedback, news or stories that might be featured in the next edition, do get in touch! Jeff Browne Editor

Apology In the November 2007 edition of NBP News in an article on page 1 we misspelt the surname of Daniel Khan OBE, the Principal of Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education. The correct spelling is Khan not Kahn. We apologise for getting this wrong.

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Robin’s Column As the new term gets into full swing, the pace of change in the learning and skills sector gathers considerable momentum. The new successor-body to replace CEL and QIA - the Learning & Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) - is shortly to come into being with its Board appointed. The good news is that this board comprises a very high proportion of practitioners, and from the diversity angle, for the first time in this sector we have 25% of the 12 person board being from Diaspora community members. Wally Brown CBE, Asha Khemka and Stella Mbubaegbu CBE are clearly not there to make up the numbers, but the strong signal that Dame Ruth Silver has sent by these appointments means that LSIS gets full marks for a promising start. Another promising start has also been evidenced by the first few weeks of Martin Doel’s tenure at the Association of Colleges. Simply by meeting with me in his first week in office, the new AoC CEO also sent an important message of intent, and as well as making the right noises, he has committed to becoming a trained Black Leadership Initiative® mentor. This is a significant symbolic step, and moves us much closer to a position where the AoC provides the kind of leadership on diversity that, with the honourable exception of Sue Dutton, has for too long been absent.

Robin landman

more than a net work

The Network too is making major changes. We have achieved our goal of becoming an Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) accredited centre, the next step up from our current position of ILM corporate membership. Achieving this will mean that all the career and professional development training we currently do will be certificated and universally recognised, and as well as raising the leadership capability of members, we will be able to further diversify our income beyond the current over-reliance on large individual contracts. This will also be a significant step towards our long term goal of creating the Black Leadership Institute. The recently launched Talent Management Service set up with the assistance and advice of Protocol National, is exceeding all expectations, and is a package I would highly recommend to people serious about their careers, especially since we will soon have to raise the fees for this unique service to something closer to its market value. To support Grace Haynes, our HR Adviser, we will soon have to advertise for other Black HR specialists to provide the one-to-one advice that make Talent Management so special.

We took the opportunity of a recent Alumni event to say a public thank you to Lynne Sedgmore, outgoing CEO of the Centre for Excellence in Leadership. Under Lynne’s leadership, CEL did make a difference to the profile of Black staff in the sector, and has been one of the very few senior people in this sector to do more than mouth warm words on Diversity. Doubtless she will re-emerge soon in another role, but I want again to thank her for her commitment. And finally, our collective congratulations to Amarjit Basi on his recent appointment at Walsall College. As the first BME principal in the West Midlands, this appointment is long overdue and will, I hope, be the first of a new crop. As a former student at Sandwell College, Amarjit has FE in his blood, and after an impressive period as Acting Principal at Ealing Hammersmith & West London College, I’m confident he will be a success in the Black Country. And as we go to press, we also note with considerable delight, the appointment of Andy Forbes, currently VP at Blackpool and Fylde College, to the Principalship at Hertford Regional College.

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Newsletter - October 2008

Two New BME Principals Appointed The Network is delighted to note the recent appointment of two new BME Principals with Amarjit Basi taking over the reins at Walsall college and more recently, Andy Forbes being appointed at Hertford Regional College.

Congratulations to new BME principal, Amarjit Basi, recently appointed at Walsall College. Amarjit joins a small group of BME principals and becomes the first one in the West Midlands.

Amarjit Basi

Amarjit, the eldest son of a firstgeneration Sikh immigrant who worked in the metal-bashing foundries of The Black Country was born, schooled and started his teaching career in Sandwell, West Midlands - just 5 miles from Walsall.

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He began his teaching career at Alexandra High School in Sandwell in 1985, a job which he supplemented with part-time teaching at Sandwell College. His subsequent progress through the academic ranks saw him rise from teacher to programme leader, cross-college manager; faculty director; deputy principal and interim principal before landing the Walsall post. In all he has worked at five very different further education colleges - most recently, Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College. He has also taken on roles as a part-time inspector (for OFSTED and previously the FEFC) and as a consultant for LSDA and QCA. So what has driven Amarjit’s success? The key career driver for him he says has been the belief and experience that education and training is the key to creating life chances, and that regardless of an individual’s background there should not be a threshold placed on their potential. As he says: ‘disadvantage is a context, not an excuse’.

Amarjit readily acknowledges that he has benefited greatly from his involvement with the Network. “Both Robin & Rajinder have always been strong advocates throughout my time in further education”, he says. “They were instrumental in providing me with my first formal mentoring support through the network. This was very influential in leading to my move to West London to take up the post as Deputy Principal - leading to perhaps my most successful and happiest time in FE. “I have always been hugely impressed by the energy, enthusiasm and conviction of the small team that drive forward the Network. The Network/BLI has been magnificent in lobbying key policy makers to raise the profile of equality and diversity within our sector, and the fact that I now join a still too small group of black principals reminds me of the responsibilities that I have to encourage greater elevation through the ranks for the undoubted talent that diverse communities contribute to the UK education system”.

Andy Forbes appointed as new Principal at Hertford Regional College The Network is delighted to extend it congratulations to Andy Forbes, currently Vice Principal at Blackpool and Fylde College, upon his recent appointment as Principal of Hertford Regional College.


Andy was brought up in Birmingham and went to a Direct Grant Grammar school before reading English at Selwyn College, Cambridge. After training as a secondary teacher, Andy found himself teaching in Manchester in the late 1980s at the Abraham Moss Centre, which at the time operated rather uniquely as a combined secondary school and FE college. The experience of working with ‘second chance’ FE learners led Andy to make the decision to move into the further education sector full time, ending up via a series of college re-organisations in City College, Manchester.

more than a net work

Andy’s first step into senior management was when he was appointed Director of Widening Participation at Oldham College, working under Carol Gibson. Oldham had many challenges including extensive deprivation and a problem of poor local race relations. However, the experience of working at Oldham was rewarding and stimulating. In 2004, Andy was appointed Vice Principal at Blackpool and Fylde College. Talking about his experiences as a Black manager in FE, remembers vividly his experiences at the AoC Conference in Harrogate in 1998 “I was on the Network’s stall at the conference with Wally Brown, Sujinder Sangha, Europe Singh and Robin Landman and as the only BME faces at the conference, being viewed with quite some degree of puzzlement by delegates.”

“The Network was a lifeline”, says Andy, “at a time when there were lots of barriers to the progression of BME colleagues and this was an unacknowledged problem in the sector. The Network has helped me and many colleagues to discuss these issues and to clarify the steps that we needed to take in order to take our own careers forward”. Getting to the top demands sacrifices, including balancing family needs and making commitments to often large amounts of travel. Andy encourages other BME managers with aspirations to management at senior level to apply not only to colleges in communities with large BME populations, but also to colleges in traditional white areas. “There is a danger that as BME manager you can be viewed as being associated with a specialist equality and diversity agenda rather than mainstream FE agendas such as quality improvement, teaching and learning etc.”

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Newsletter - October 2008

Sir David Melville Joins the BLI Advisory Board The Network for Black Professionals is delighted to announce that Sir David Melville has joined the Black Leadership Initiative’s Advisory Board. Sir David is Chair of Lifelong Learning UK, following his highly successful tenure as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kent 2001 to 2007. Previously he was Chief Executive of the Further Education Funding Council, and before that he was Vice-Chancellor of Middlesex University and Vice-Chair of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals (now UUK) and Chair of its Longer Term Strategy Committee. He began his career as a lecturer in physics at Southampton University and became Professor of Physics and Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy and subsequently Assistant Director and Vice-Rector of Lancashire Polytechnic. He was a member of a number of Research Council committees and SIR DAVID MELVILLE panels, the Tomlinson Review of 14-19 Curriculum and Qualifications, the Foundation Degree Task Force, the Foster Review of the Future of Further Education Colleges and chaired the UK Universities Race Equality Consultation Project. Robin Landman, Chief Executive of the Network for Black Professionals, said “We are delighted that someone of Sir David’s stature has lent his weight to working with us to achieve greater workforce diversity in the learning & skills sector. David’s track record on this issue is second to none, and as an inaugural recipient of the then NBP’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Race Equality in further education, we had already recognized in 2002 that David’s commitment has been career-long.”

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Sir David is a board member of the Higher Education Careers Services Unit and The Place and a member of the Council for Industry and Higher Education, the South-East Regional Assembly, the South East Science, Engineering and Technology Advisory Committee, the Kent Partnership Board and the Medway Renaissance Partnership, and Chair of the Higher Education Statistics Agency, the University Vocational Awards Council, the Kent and Medway Learning and Skills Council and Higher Education South East and Vice-Chair of the Kent Public Service Board. He is currently Chair of the Committee of Inquiry into the changing learner experience, a board member of Edexcel, the Institute of Financial Services, the Learning from Experience Trust, West Kent College and a member of the QCA Qualifications and Skills Advisory Group, the Advisory Board of the Black Leadership Initiative, the All Souls Group, the Thames Gateway Strategic Partnership, the DIUS 14-19 Higher Education Project Board and the DIUS/DCSF STEM High Level Strategy Group, and Vice-Chair of the Marlowe and Folkestone Academies. He is a patron of the 157 Group and Comprehensive Future. He was educated at Sheffield and Columbia Universities, is an Honorary Professor of the Universities of Central Lancashire and Middlesex and Emeritus Professor of the university of Kent, has Honorary Degrees from Southampton, Derby, Middlesex and Sheffield Universities and was awarded a CBE in 2001 and a KBE in 2007 for services to further and higher education.

Rockpools – Naturally Different Rockpools is an innovative people-focused business that works in partnership with organisations to create the right environment to attract, develop and manage their top teams to deliver the very highest level of service. We believe our approach, people, creativity and honesty are some of the things that make us stand out from the competition. We can demonstrate that our thinking is different, our ideas original and that we can provide traditional consultancy services in a new and effective way. We believe that the time is right to provide our clients with a genuine choice when selecting recruitment consultants. The established consultancies in this marketplace may look different on the outside, but in reality they all offer more or less the same service. We seek to challenge conventional practice, make full use of available technology, and bring senior recruitment into the 21st Century. Our track record on diverse appointments is also something we are proud of. Again, it’s not just something we say and do because we know that it is an important issue to our public sector clients. Diversity is something we live, breathe and is embedded into the core of our organisation. We can make such a claim because we recruit our own staff from diverse backgrounds. Have a look at our website and you will see our Consultants and staff come from a range of backgrounds, not just in terms of ethnicity, but also in terms of differently-abled staff; staff who identify as lesbian and gay; and staff from a range of different professional backgrounds. This enables us to better understand the needs of our clients and our customers. Diversity is an important issue for our clients in the FE and wider education sector. While BME staff are well represented at more junior levels across the sector, there is definitely a drop in representation at senior management level. We help identify talented BME staff, rising stars and those who may not even think they are ready for a step up. We aim to support and help draw out the talent that exists within these people and assess them rigorously to see if they are what our clients need. We also challenge our clients on their decisions and thinking of what the right candidates should look like. Does this mean that just because you are from a BME background you will get a job through Rockpools – absolutely not! We will help you identify your strengths; explore your areas for development; and help you come up with practical solutions to ensure that you gain the skills and experience you need to be a credible candidate for senior management positions when they come up. We want you to be successful and want to be part of your success story. To find out more ring Shahidul Miah, Partner and Head of Education Practice on 020 7017 0912 or visit

more than a net work

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Newsletter - October 2008

Stella Mbubaegbu, CBE, Honoured for Services to Further Education Stella Mbubaegbu, Principal and Chief Executive of Highbury College, Portsmouth, the UK’s first black female college principal, was made a CBE for services to Further Education in the Queen’s New Year honours list. She is clearly delighted with her award. She says, “The CBE is fantastic. It’s a great honour and huge encouragement for the future. It encourages me to continue to make a contribution and that what I am doing is worthwhile. What’s been most fulfilling about it is the way that people feel part of it. So many people have rallied around me and I have received congratulations from many parts of the country and the world. It feels very much like a community thing that I am supported and lifted up by so many people.”

Stella continues to have a historical relationship with the Network for Black Professionals, having been involved from the start. She explains: “I was at the very first meeting that was held. I was told about it by Robin. It was a case of I had to be there. It was very important at the time and still is because the road we have to travel on as BME staff in FE is a long one. The formation of the Network was a milestone on that journey”. Previously chair of the BLI’s steering committee, she currently chairs the advisory board, as well as being a member of the NBP’s executive board. For her, chairing the BLI involves championing its work for the key stakeholders across the sector to make sure that it continues, and mentoring BME staff.

Stella’s career progression in FE has been nothing short of impressive. From the start of her career as a part-time lecturer she has focused on working hard and making a contribution in her role. In addition she has also been willing to take on challenges. As she says, “I do have a She adds, “The journey that we have passion for teaching and organisational to travel as BME staff in FE is long development. That whole development and not an easy one. It is ongoing. issue has come together perfectly in being The Network and the BLI are making committed to the organisation I was giant strides along that journey at this working for as well as being committed moment in time. The work is absolutely Stella Mbubaegbu to the business of the organisation which fantastic. Black and white colleagues happens to be teaching and learning. I have working together is a key ingredient of the success of the wanted to do and be the very best that I could be in the role”. BLI and a unique feature of the work that we do”. Her success has been driven by her strong work ethic and “For me it is absolutely important that the BLI and values. In her case: “There’s not been a plan, the whole issue of the Network stay focused on taking all BME staff work has been a calling - a vocation. That’s the way it has been for forward to meet the needs of all involved.” me coming up.” Stella sits on many boards, and as John Wright, chair of the board of governors at Highbury College stated in a press release: “Stella is a massive inspiration to us all. Stella has captured the hearts of so many in her sheer determination, outstanding vision and unprecedented talent in leadership”.

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NBP Chief Executive Becomes National Sports Pundit The Network’s Chief Executive, Robin Landman, recently featured in The Observer and on BBC Radio Five Live and was quoted as welcoming the appointment of Paul Ince who, as the newly-appointed manager of Blackburn Rovers Football Club, became the first Black British Premiership football manager in June of this year. Interviewed by Kevin Mitchell, The Observer’s chief sports writer, Robin commented that the soon to be announced appointment of Ince would mark a significant breakthrough in the progression of Black British sports stars into high-profile management positions. “...Ince’s move to Blackburn will have a major impact in the black community, as Robin Landman, the chief executive of Network for Black Professionals, points out. ‘This would be an overdue breakthrough appointment,’ he says, ‘especially in light of the 25 per cent-plus black players, both domestic and overseas, in the ranks of elite clubs.

‘It would also be good news if an English manager, irrespective of his ethnicity, is being seen as the first choice from what was a strong national and international list of candidates. Hopefully, the fact that John Williams [the Rovers chairman] has been able to see beyond Ince’s skin colour [in considering him] will encourage other clubs throughout the English leagues to behave in the same way. That last observation is a noble one. Will it happen? The walls of prejudice will not crumble overnight.


more than a net work

Landman hits on another key point: ‘Ince is an Englishman, an English manager. And there have been precious few of those, of any colour, at the top end

of club management for a while.‘ The day will come when colour is not an issue. That day is not quite with us yet. If Ince does get the job at Blackburn and does well, if he inspires others to follow him, if he persuades other owners to be brave, he will have achieved far more than he ever did as a player.” The article was subsequently picked up BBC Radio and Television and Robin was also interviewed on BBC Radio Five Live and Midlands Today Television news. For details of the full article, visit football/2008/jun/22/blackburn

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Newsletter - October 2008

Feature on Mentoring We may all need mentoring at some point in our careers, and research shows that you are more likely to succeed at work if you do seize this developmental opportunity. However, people are sometimes confused about what mentoring is or isn’t, what it can and can’t do, and about whether or not it is worth the effort. Effectively, mentoring is an empowering relationship between two parties - a mentor and a mentee, which requires a certain amount of time, interest and commitment from both sides. Mentoring is not specific to any one culture or nation – there is as much evidence of it within BME societies and communities as within western traditions. At its best, it is a learning process that enables mentees to be proactive about their career development, by becoming more focussed and exploring options. Mentors also learn from the process and further develop their own people skills. This is certainly the case for those involved in the Black Leadership Initiative (BLI) Mentoring Programme where training is given to both mentors and mentees. In some organisations, mentoring goes on informally, and certain hand-picked individuals appear to be groomed for higher things. Elsewhere there are more formalised processes – for example for a new graduate intake, and to support positive action initiatives for women and for BME staff, where these staff have traditionally been under-represented in more senior roles.

What does a mentor do?

Choosing a mentor

A mentor can act as a sounding board, an adviser, guide and role model in times of change. A mentor’s role is not to solve a mentee’s problems, to tell them what to do or to give them that job or promotion they’ve been looking for! They can however suggest alternatives and shine the light on what would otherwise be blind spots for the mentee. Their job is to challenge and inspire while maintaining confidentiality, and to facilitate a dialogue that empowers the mentee to refine and attain their goals. Last but not least, mentors also bring expert knowledge, networks and their political experience within organisations – which add much value to the relationship.

The BLI will match prospective mentees with a suitable mentor. Typically, mentors will be very senior leaders and managers from within the FE and lifelong learning sector, including principals. The BLI prefers to choose mentors from outside the mentee’s line management structure as they are more likely to see “bigger” for the mentee, and be more impartial.

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Mentoring and coaching, are they not the same? So, what’s the difference between mentoring and coaching you might ask? Both roles do in fact use coaching skills such as active listening, questioning, seeking clarification, paraphrasing, summarising, offering suggestions, giving feedback and building on ideas. The difference is that the coach will work on a specific intervention, such as improving an aspect of performance or teaching a new skill, while for a mentor, the sky’s the limit. They have no vested interest in keeping the mentee within a particular role and will take a more strategic overview of the mentee’s development needs and of where they want to get to.

What’s in it for the mentee?

What’s in it for the mentor?

For mentees to get the best out of the relationship, they need to be ready for it and open to new ideas. A willingness to listen and to accept feedback is also needed. They must take responsibility for identifying their own career development objectives and their own learning. Mentees have a part to play in maintaining the relationship, and should be able to express themselves effectively – both verbally and in writing. Add to this, a commitment to take action and to keep a brief record of meetings.

Mentors usually self select and this is important as it indicates they are interested in people and their development and are willing to dedicate the necessary time. While there is no hard and fast rule about how long the relationship should last, six to twelve months may be considered as a reasonable initial timeframe to be reviewed at the end of the period. Within that period, the BLI recommends a formal face-toface meeting once a month for approximately one hour, plus email and phone contact in between - as needed.

With 2 years’ experience of mentoring a trainee teacher under her belt, Bridgette Wilkins from Wolverhampton College already understood the benefits. She decided that after 15 years in FE, the time was right for her: “I decided that I might benefit from having a mentor for myself. I had dedicated myself to my job and organisation but somehow felt that my skills were underutilised and I had become somewhat disillusioned along the way. For the most part I was receiving many mixed messages and needed clarity.” “I took the plunge and applied (to the BLI) for a mentor - a Principal from a different college to mine. So far I have found that I can be myself and get impartial and honest advice and commentary. I am away from anyone who knows me, and I can escape the bustle of staff moans, student groans, mobile phones, mountains of portfolios and unrealistic deadlines. I feel that the hour allocated is for me and no-one else. The onus is on me from someone who is not patronising and has my interests at heart.” “Occasionally, I may be given certain tasks to do and bring back to the next meeting. It has opened my eyes and helped me to think about my own development and the way that I approach things. It has brought out my strengths and made me more positive about my achievements and where I want to go. I believe that there is a commitment on both parts. I wish I had done this years ago.”

Mike Hopkins, Principal of South Birmingham College shares his experience of being a mentor for the BLI: “First and foremost you have to want to be a mentor and you have to be committed. There are many inequalities within our sector and I believe that the Mentoring Programme can make a difference. I get real satisfaction not only from being able to help individuals and to have an impact, however small, but also from watching the person grow and develop both personally and professionally. My expectation and hope is that the individuals I mentor gain promotion as this is perhaps the most fulfilling outcome.” “All of the successful managers within the sector will have had some support or guidance whether formal or informal within their careers and I am no exception. This is my chance to put something back in an area that I believe in.” “There are so many people who are capable of much more and all they need is some help and support either to unlock and focus their potential or increase their confidence and belief in what’s possible. There are major career opportunities within our sector and I hope that I can help to open some of these up for the people I mentor.”

Mentor/mentee briefings

What can go wrong?

Ideally both mentors and mentees should receive training or briefings about their roles – as they do from the BLI. This includes what to expect from the relationship, and the need to agree ground rules and some form of contract regarding what both parties will and will not do.

So, taking all the above into account, what can still go wrong? To begin with, meetings require a timeframe and safe space without interruptions like phones ringing and people marching past.

more than a net work

If after the first meeting, either party feels there has been a mismatch, they should re-start the process with a clean slate and no hard feelings.

Should the mentor or mentee move on from their organisation, the relationship can still carry on if both sides are agreeable. For more information on the BLI Mentoring Programme, contact Hoda Rezaie, BLI Mentoring Programme Coordinator at hodar@, tel. 01902 428 528.

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Newsletter - October 2008

Success Stories Network and BLI alumni colleagues share their successes. Aminul Hoque MBE

Anne-Marie Hall

Aminul is the Youth Engagement Adviser for Rathbone, a national charity with a remit to work in London, and a national policy making and advisory role. He joined in 2000 and works with some of the most disadvantaged and disengaged young people in East London. He has engaged in ground breaking good practice models which have been replicated by local authorities, such as, developing an innovative 5 step model of working with the ‘hard to reach’.

Following her completion of the First Steps to Leadership course, teacher Ann-Marie Hall took just 7 months to get her first promotion onto the management scale. This followed nearly 8 years of teaching. In April she started her new job as Assistant Programme Manager, taking the lead for travel and tourism, at Leyton Six Form College. Prior to that she taught Travel and Tourism at Sir George Monoux College.

This included home visits, bilingual advice, working with parents, the faith sector, sporting bodies and schools, volunteering, and peer mentoring, etc. To date, he has worked with over 400 young people aged 15- 25 to re-engage them back into mainstream provision like education, training, and employment. He was nominated for an MBE by a colleague who wanted recognition for Aminul’s passion and achievements. Aminul worked evenings and weekends with a target group that others had failed with. He explains: “The MBE was for services to youth justice in East London.” Aminul says: “I still have a lot to offer and give to the local and national community and to be recognised for something which I see more as a hobby and passion is truly amazing. I am humbled. Also, as an ethnic minority, there is a sense of double achievement - a personal one and also one for my community. If I can act as a catalyst and role model for other young people from the Bangladeshi community then that can only be good. It also sends out the message that with hard work, commitment, passion and determination, you can achieve and gain recognition.” He heard about First Steps from a colleague: “I researched, filled in the form and the rest as they say is history.” The course helped him in various ways, building confidence and drawing skills out into the open, reminding him and others of their capabilities and that with a bit of hard work and luck, everyone could achieve and aspire: “This course Aminul Hoque has also introduced me to some brilliant individuals and role models, some of whom I shall stay in close contact with, others I will secretly admire and aspire to be more like. The First Steps course also enabled me to determine a personal and professional ‘plan’ which is being actioned as we speak.” Aminul has pledged to act as an advocate for this and other courses offered by the NBP/BLI as he believes they do wonders for professional and personal development. In summary, Aminul rates the BLI training as: “A brilliant initiative, great speakers and trainers who have charisma, empathy and experience. A brilliant platform to recognise your own strengths and weaknesses and act upon them. Also a unique opportunity to make friends and network. Allows you to start developing a ‘plan’. Gives you the confidence to seize the moment.”

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Anne-Marie Hall

Ann-Marie also attended a BLI mentee workshop where she heard about First Steps to Leadership. She received email alerts about the course and knew colleagues that had been on it. On the benefits of First Steps, she says, “It has really motivated me and helped me to reflect on where I am now and where I would like to be. It was empowering to meet so many ethnic professionals who are not much older than me, yet despite all odds have gone on and achieved great things. It has given me the will power to strive further than I have ever imagined. Prior to the course I was fairly ambitious but limited my goal post. Now I cannot see the goal post anymore. It’s out there in the distance somewhere which is an indication that you should not limit your ambition - the world is your oyster and the BLI will help you get there.”

Success Stories Network and BLI alumni colleagues share their successes. Lesley Shepperson Why do you want to be a ‘First Steps to Leadership’ course participant? This was the question to answer on my application form for the First Steps to Leadership Programme run by the Black Leadership Initiative in November 2006. My answer was that I had been a full time lecturer within the further education sector for 12 years, eleven years of which have been in some type of leadership role – course coordinator, programme area manager, senior tutor teaching and learning and curriculum manager. I had attended a number of staff development programmes linked to current further education issues and effective curriculum delivery. In an added attempt to realise my potential and

improve my promotional prospects, I had also undertaken a range of activities culminating in a BSc in Biology and a Masters in Education (Inclusion) Degree. My expectations were high. I wanted a course that would enable a more focused personal and career outlook, help me make more informed career decisions and enable me to contribute to the progression of others. I remember writing that I wanted this personal development opportunity to become a pivotal career move that I could look back on it as a landmark that impacted my future - and it has certainly been that. Last year I became the Learning and Development Manager at Blackpool & The Fylde College.

I would like to thank my family, Maxine Room, the BLI and my colleagues and friends who have invested in my present and future. To those of you who are thinking about doing the course my advice is do it: “Ideas become powerful when they are put into action”.

Lesley Shepperson

Palvinder Singh

Tito Ariyo

First Steps to Leadership graduate Palvinder Singh recently became Head of Marketing at Stockport College. For the past 4 years, he was Marketing Manager at Park Lane College, Leeds, a post in which he was very successful gaining 11 national awards in Marketing and Public Relations activity from bodies like the FE Marketing Network, HEIST and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

From 2003-7, Tito was Head of Department Maths, Science & Technology and Head of Vocational Science & Technology at Greenwich Community College, London. She has since been promoted to Director of Vocational Education & Training at Southwark College, London.

On the benefits of First Steps, he says: “It gave me confidence in establishing firmly in my mind that I had the ability, skills and experience to move forward. It focused my strengths and achievements and has been key in my new role. I have been clear with how I have positioned myself, with what the challenges are and how marketing fits into the agenda. “I never realised how under-represented this sector is, I never saw my self as a BME member of staff. I was awakened to the fact that I am not just another member of staff in the FE sector, but person who has a duty and a responsibility of being a BME member of staff.”

Palvinder Singh

more than a net work

Tito Ariyo

She attended quite a few leadership development training programmes with the BLI/NBP and with CEL. The first one in 2003/4 was Aspire – ‘Developing Tomorrows Leaders Today’ through CEL. She also attended some training workshop sessions on Funding Priority and Ofsted Inspection through the NBP. In addition, she recently completed the ‘Routes to Success’ leadership programme organised by CEL.  She feels she benefited a lot from the training activities as they gave her the confidence to work as a leader within the FE sector and the knowledge and skills to progress her career. She puts it this way: “I gained a substantial “toolbox” to excel. In addition, I have been able to network with a lot of professionals from other institutions while on training which is very useful.”  Tito believes “the NBP/BLI has given BME professionals the opportunity to access training and development programmes of significant value at very reasonable costs. The partnership with CEL has opened the doors wide for BME professionals that want to develop and progress within the sector.” 

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Newsletter - October 2008

Success Stories Network and BLI alumni colleagues share their successes. David Dangana David Dangana recently moved from Basingstoke College of Technology where he was Programme Manager, Applied and Vocational Sciences to Guildford College of Further and Higher Education where he is Quality & Performance Manager. As well as completing the First Steps to Leadership course David has participated in the BLI’s Ofsted inspection shadowing and mentoring schemes. Both have been important to his personal and career development and he would like to see the NBP’s professional development opportunities accessed by all BME staff. He heard about First Steps from his former principal, Judith Armstrong and got more details from the NBP website. David says First Steps gave him the knowledge and skills to discuss FE issues with a lot of confidence, plus the management and leadership skills required to lead and manage teams effectively and efficiently. The Ofsted Shadowing scheme gave him an insight into an Inspection process from the Inspectors perspective: “The college got an outstanding grade across the five CIF questions and so I have a clear vision of what is expected of an outstanding college. This informed my decision to go for a cross college role where I can contribute to improving quality on a college-wide basis.” David’s mentor is Julie Mills, Deputy Principal, Quality and Human Resources at Milton Keynes College, and he has found the relationship invaluable: “She helped me design and work on a realistic career and personal development plan. She shares a lot of information about the FE sector with me and has enabled me meet up with staff David Dangana in her college to share ideas and information about various issues such as personnel management, funding, quality processes, performance management, etc. Julie supported me when I was applying for my current job by running a ‘mock interview’ and giving me feedback. She gave me that extra nudge to believe in myself and go for the job.”

Kam Nandra Kam was Deputy Head of a 6th Form Academy (Business and Law) at North Hertfordshire College where he managed a team of 25 staff, and over 200 learners. He joined as an agency member of staff, became a full time lecturer, and then Deputy Head of Academy. Kam now works for Castle College in Nottingham as Assistant Director of Faculty (Service Sector Occupations). The role is quite different with a focus on operations and Quality Improvement. Kam did the Mentee training and the Ofsted Shadowing, both of which advanced his knowledge and employability. He found the one to one discussions and networking most beneficial and was inspired by frank and informal discussions with Principals and Vice Principals about the complexities of management in FE, and the solutions to some of these problems. He says: “I would definitely recommend all aspiring managers to take advantage of the mentoring programme. It’s almost too good to be true that a person can have free career advice from an existing Principal for a period of a year!” He found the Ofsted Shadowing pivotal – “probably the key training that I undertook which catapulted me into the CMT level of management. Being a fly on the wall during discussions between Inspectors was truly educational. Every member of the Inspection team took time out to discuss their responsibilities with me. The experience that I gained from this can now be applied to my existing job, and any job that I take in the future.”

Kam Nandra

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“I cannot thank the BLI/NBP enough for the experience and support that I have gained via the Network. One thing for certain is that I will continue to make use of the opportunities available for BME staff. I would strongly urge all BME colleagues to pick up the phone and contact the Network, even if it is just to find out what development opportunities are available to them. You will not be disappointed.”

NBP Conducts Survey on Impact of its Positive Action Programmes Towards the end of 2007, the NBP conducted an online survey of 260 participants to assess the impact of positive action leadership and career development programmes available in the learning and skills sector. Most of the respondents had attended First Steps to Leadership programmes. A number had participated in the Ofsted Shadowing scheme and the BLI Mentoring programme. This was a timely initiative for the Network, which is currently funded by the Centre for Excellence in Leadership (CEL), and is now in its tenth year, and for First Steps which was launched two years ago. The Network currently has a subscription of over 160 colleges and other organisations, and continues to work in partnership with key sector bodies. The purpose of the survey was dual to give a “snapshot” of how the Black Leadership Initiative (BLI) partnership programmes such as the Ofsted Inspection Shadowing, Mentoring, the First Steps to Leadership, and others were perceived, as well as their impact on participants’ career progression. The majority of respondents described themselves as managers, of whom 45% said they were middle, 26% junior, and 8% senior. Twelve percent said they were lecturers.

more than a net work

Bearing in mind that 80% of all responses were to programmes undertaken in the past two years, the results are very promising. An overwhelming majority of 96% felt that participation in the Network’s positive action programmes had contributed to their career progression. Of these, one third said the contribution had been significant. When asked specifically about the Ofsted Shadowing scheme, two thirds said they had achieved promotion since the programme. Some 88% felt the positive action programmes were justified. The vast majority or nine out of ten vouched for the quality of the programmes and would recommend them to colleagues. Many spoke of improved confidence, networking and the opportunity to meet more senior people. Here is a brief sampling of some of the feedback: “The First Steps programme was fantastic. I had been in management for 13 years but had never accessed a course that tapped into me as an individual.”

“I really feel I would not have progressed to my new position as quickly as I did without the mentoring programme. My mentor was excellent.” “I feel I have gained most from the opportunity to listen to and learn from colleagues both black and white who have been successful in their career and from their willingness to share their career with others. I think this is the one distinct opportunity offered by the Network and long may it continue.” “In particular, the Ofsted Shadowing Scheme was brilliant and soon after I was promoted at work.” “I would probably have left the sector if I had not participated in the Network’s programmes.” For more information on the survey, contact David Round, NBP Operations & Policy Manager at, tel. 01902 428528 or to download a copy visit www. htm. For information on the BLI’s positive action programmes, contact Bobby Upple, BLI & Professional Development Manager at bobby@, tel. 01902 428528.

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Newsletter - October 2008

Talent Management – At Your Service! The Network’s Talent Management Service has really taken off with more than 30 professionals signed up and looks set to grow. This is a unique career development opportunity for BME staff in the sector that is long overdue. Grace Haynes, the Network’s Senior Talent Management and HR Consultant is leading and delivering this initiative. The testimonials that follow give a glowing account of how valuable, timely and empowering the service has been right from the beginning: “I signed up for the Talent Management Service because I felt I needed the support. The one hour flew by quickly – too quickly in fact. The discussion centred on my background, current position, career interests, and the nature of continuing professional development I should consider pursuing. Having the opportunity to pause and reflect on one’s achievements and aspirations is something we sorely lack. We all experience a time when we know we should move forward in our career, but because of inadequate preparation or possibly procrastination, we do not do so. Before we realise it, we cease to be that “sought after” individual that ticks all the boxes. I came away from the meeting motivated, enthused and determined. Since the meeting, I have sent Grace an updated CV, and have also applied for the First Steps to Leadership programme. When the time comes for me to move forward, I will be ready!” Zainab Yahya, Head of Department

“After my initial meeting I felt I had renewed motivation and find it amazing that a short period of time can have such a positive impact. Grace Haynes, who I met with, was very approachable, downto-earth and easy to talk to. I found her fountain of knowledge really beneficial. Through her useful questioning skills and the ability to quickly pick up on one’s strengths, we were able to set clear actions to move forward. I now know about a range of different workshops and options as well as having the opportunity to get help to tweak my CV into an excellent CV. I have every intention of using this wonderful opportunity to the fullest.” Miranda Gay, Student Services “Not only was the experience self-affirming, it provided much needed practical support. Grace masterfully used questioning and excellent listening skills to put me at ease and to understand my situation, motivations and the actions I’d already taken. We concluded with a clear way forward. The Talent Management Service is going to arrange work shadowing for me and get me a mentor. Any apprehension I may have had prior to our meeting has melted away thanks to Grace’s professionalism, thoughtfulness and warmth.” Joyce Okenwa Macfarlane, Director, Coaching Leadership Change

For more information contact Grace Haynes at, tel. 01902 715309 or visit the NBP website

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Grace Haynes

“I thoroughly enjoyed the meeting. It helped and enabled me to take another look at my position. I found the advice very helpful and was able to look at my work experience, and think about my achievements and presentation from another angle. I always believed I had a very good CV. The meeting showed me that I was suppressing and not bragging about my experiences and achievements. This was a completely different approach to my previous meetings with recruitment consultants. Many thanks.” Ken Agbugba, Senior Management Accountant

Meet the Network’s New Team Members We are delighted to welcome Jannett Morgan and Rosemary Campbell-Stephens to the NBP team. Jannett Morgan started her

teaching career in 1998 as a visiting teacher at Lewisham College and seminar tutor at London Metropolitan University. Upon being given a permanent contract at Lewisham in 1999, she taught a number of subjects including: advertising; business studies; key skills and additional learning support. Having gained a generic teaching qualification, she then became qualified to assess and support dyslexic learners in 2003 and decided to specialise in Skills for Life. When Lewisham College was awarded CoVE status for its basic skills provision in 2004, Jannett played a central role in the development and delivery of the FENTO Level 4 Subjects Specialists course for adult literacy teachers. She was determined to ensure that the course content gave due attention to the needs of BME learners and created a bank of teaching and learning materials to that effect.

Rosemary CampbellStephens is the programme leader for Investing in Diversity at the London Centre for Leadership in Learning, Institute of Education, University of London. She is also a consultant -trainer for leadership, race equality and succession planning to a number of London boroughs and local authorities beyond the capital such as Birmingham. She has been a consultant to the DfES (now DCSF) as part of the team that developed and delivered the Aiming High strategy. She has combined public speaking and community activism with supporting local authorities, schools, colleges and universities in developing their leadership capacity to meet their responsibilities under the Race Relations Amendment Act (2000).

In 2005 Jannett became Workplace Skills for Life Manager, a role that was at the heart of the new learning and skills agenda. The remit for this role was to plan and deliver a curriculum that was fit for purpose and met the needs of both employers and employees. The work of her team was highly commended in the 2006 Ofsted inspection, for which Lewisham College was judged “outstanding”. Jannett has also worked with vocational employers to embed Skills for Life into their vocational programmes, as part of the Quality Improvement Agency (QIA) funded initiative. Jannett brings with her over twenty years’ experience in private and public sector organisations. As an educator her specialisms include Skills for Life, employer engagement and project management. Alongside her teaching and management responsibilities Jannett mentors a number of colleagues in the sector.

Within the broad field of race equality and leadership, her particular strengths and interests lie in not only diversifying the face of educational leadership, but enabling them to lead differently. Rosemary’s expertise is based on her experience, as a teacher, secondary school deputy and head teacher, Ofsted inspector and local authority adviser over 25 years in a range of contexts.

In addition to working as an employability consultant for Lambeth College, Jannett jointly owns and runs MorganKing, a dyslexia consultancy. In her “spare” time Jannett runs a supplementary school in south-east London. Jannett loves learning and is known for her ability to enthuse and inspire those around her.

Jannett Morgan

This is part of a concerted effort to improve the diversity profile of schools and enhance the career prospects of BME leaders by providing them with this unique insight into the inspection process. Watch this space for further developments!

Rosemary has agreed to lead for the Network on an ambitious bid to the National College for School Leadership to replicate the highly successful Black Leadership Initiative (BLI) Ofsted Inspection Shadowing Programme in the schools sector.

Rosemary Campbell-Stephens

more than a net work

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Newsletter - October 2008

STEP UP TO A MANAGEMENT CAREER TO ‘MAKE A DIFFERENCE At various events over recent months, the Network has been delighted to introduce the Catalyst programme ‘Make a Difference’, developed by LLUK, to BME professionals working in and outside the learning and skills sector. The programme is targeted at professionals from across the private and public sectors through a nationwide campaign to attract them into management roles in further education (FE) colleges and other training and skills organisations. Motivated, graduate-calibre individuals are being told they can potentially fasttrack their management career as well as finding a job with a real sense of purpose and reward through Make a Difference.

The recruitment drive is part of an programme to cultivate new talent and develop future leaders within the FE sector, delivered by Lifelong Learning UK, the sector skills council which represents lifelong learning employers. At the time of the Foster Report into the future of FE in 2005, the Network lobbied hard that the development of succession planning programmes for the sector should ensure that the diversity of the student body and of college communities be reflected in the design of the programmes.

The Network is happy that it has been able to agree a partnership with Catalyst which will ensure that talented and ambitious BME professionals are made aware of the opportunities to develop their careers through the programme.

Career prospects

World-class learning

Based around a three-step recruitment model, Make a Difference encourages professionals from a range of backgrounds to apply to work in FE management, then assesses their suitability and matches their skills to vacancies in the sector. Candidates choose where they work and what management specialism they follow and go on to receive personalised leadership training - making their career prospects surprisingly good.

Make a Difference is part of a series of Lifelong Learning UK initiatives collectively known as the Catalyst programme, which focus on recruiting and developing teaching staff, leaders and managers who will be an asset to the further education sector. Two other programmes also bring new talent into the sector – Business Talent aims to recruit highly experienced managers into Principal and Chief Executive roles and Pass on Your Skills encourages vocationally qualified professionals to train as teachers in FE.

Natasha Tesfai, project manager for Make a Difference, says that the programme reinforces the message that FE offers an attractive career for young graduates “Make a Difference provides participants with a tailored, leadership development programme in their first year of employment and the opportunity to fast-track to a senior leadership role. And with salaries for management and leadership roles within further education typically starting in the region of £32K, a move to the sector doesn’t have to mean a compromise financially. We aim to develop the leaders of the future who will utilise the skills they have gained in their current employment and play a key role in helping their new employer raise the bar of performance and aspiration.”

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A fourth programme, Business Interchange, focuses on increasing the vocational skills of teaching staff already working in the sector by providing opportunities for them to participate in learning placements hosted by local businesses, and build relationships with employers. For further information about the Make a Difference programme and to apply visit or call 0845 602 7012. For information about other elements of the Catalyst programme visit

‘First Steps to Leadership’ Graduation Ceremonies in Liverpool and London The past few months have seen the graduation of a number of First Steps to Leadership cohorts with ceremonies taking place in Liverpool and London. In February and June, graduates of the CEL-funded First Steps to Leadership programmes met to receive their course certificates and receive the congratulations of the Network for their successes. Many course participants were joined by their Principals or line managers as well as family and friends. In July, Liverpool Town Hall saw a glittering evening of celebration and entertainment with BME professionals from City College Manchester, Middlesbrough College, the Chara Trust, Park Lane & Keighley College, Blackburne House, Stockport College of Further & Higher Education, Skills Solutions and others. Graduates were joined on the evening by Roger McClure, Chief Executive of the newly-formed Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) who extended his congratulations to those who had completed the programme:

more than a net work

"The Government's new policy of self-regulation and self-improvement for the FE sector in England offers a fantastic opportunity for the rebirth or re-emergence of professionalism amongst staff at all levels in colleges and other providers. There is a welcome recognition that public services such as education are so complex that the best results, for the full spectrum of learners, will most likely be achieved by both expecting and trusting well qualified and committed professionals to do their jobs whether lecturers, support staff, or senior managers - to a consistent high standard. It is particularly welcome, therefore, that the First Steps to Leadership programme developed by the Black Leadership Initiative and the Network for Black Professionals for BME staff already has professionalism at its heart with an emphasis on aspiring leaders being prepared to take ownership of what they do and wishing to take pride in what they achieve and the level of quality to which they operate. The Government's new policy is a two-way street: self-regulation and self-improvement are being offered to the sector; it is now for the sector and specifically staff working in the sector to step up to the mark and show that they can be trusted with England's further education. I am confident that programmes such as First Steps have a key role in ensuring that all staff in the sector, including BME staff, play their part in meeting this challenge." Roger McClure, Chief Executive of the Learning & Skills Improvement Service (LSIS)

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Stop Press First Steps to Leadership It is with regret that the Network has recently learned that after the successful development and delivery of the First Steps to Leadership positive action programme for the past three years, the Centre for Excellence in Leadership has decided to offer the contact for the delivery of this programme to another contractor.

Schools Inspection Shadowing Programme Following a successful competitive tendering submission, to the National College for School Leadership (NCSL) the Network , in partnership with Ofsted, is managing the delivery of a pilot programme for aspiring BME school leaders to shadow two school inspections. Supported by a mentoring and career development programme, the project will be evaluated by the Institute of Education and it is hoped that this will lead to the roll-out of a wider programme across the schools sector.

Graduate Membership Service The Network is pleased to announce the new Graduate Membership Service which was launched on the 8th October 2008 at the Ethnic Diversity Careers Fair in the University of Manchester. A follow up first introductory event for graduates will take place on the 10th December 2008 in Manchester.

Upcoming Networking Events

The Network becomes an Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Approved Centre The Network for Black Professionals is now an approved centre for the delivery of a wide range of Leadership and Management programmes accredited by ILM. These include the qualifications of ILM Award, Certificate and Diploma at Levels 2 to 5 and includes Mentoring and Coaching awards. For further details of the Network’s accredited leadership and management programmes, visit

09th / 10th December 2008: The events will take place in Leeds (9th) and Manchester (10th) from 18:00-20:30pm. This is an opportunity to network with colleagues and to find out more in relation to the Machinery of Government (MoG) changes and the new NBP Institute for Leadership and management accredited programmes.

BLI Training and Development Services - 2008 Programme



Mentee Induction

Park Plaza, Leeds

16th October 2008

Mentor Training

Wembley Hilton Plaza, London

3rd-4th November 2008

Career Development Workshop

Centre Point, London

12th November 2008

Ofsted Inspection Shadowing Briefing

Orange Studios, Birmingham

19th November 2008

Shadowing & Secondment Review

Malmaison, Birmingham

9th December 2008

Mentor & Mentee Review

Malmaison, Birmingham

10th December 2008 (18.00-20.30)

Career Development Workshop

Institute of Directors, Birmingham

10th December 2008 (09.30-16.30)

Network Professionals Network for Blackfor Black Professionals

more than a network

Wolverhampton Science Par k, Glaisher D rive, Wolverhampton, West Midlands. W V10 9RU

w w w. n b p.o r g . u k / t . 019 0 2 715 3 0 9 / f. 019 0 2 4 2 6 3 7 8

Newsletter October 2008 London Branch of the  
Newsletter October 2008 London Branch of the  

Network for Black Professional members based in the London and the south of the country can now enjoy even more benefits following the succe...