From education to employment

LSC London Central Announce Partnership for Pilot Scheme for Women from BME

Inclusion and diversity are two of the key issues faced within Further Education, and are indeed two of the prime reasons for the very existence of the sector. It is not simply a matter of meeting the challenge of including students who have been excluded from education in other areas; the issue of inclusion and diversity amongst staff, to produce a staff that mirrors the ethnic and demographic makeup of the student body, is just as crucial.

In an effort to further this cause, the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) London Central has teamed up with two prestigious organisations, the European Federation of Black Women Business Owners (EFBWBO)and Cranfield School of Management to deliver a ground-breaking pilot training programme to increase opportunities for women from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds to join and participate on public boards.

Concept Origin

The concept originated from Yvonne Thompson, Chair of LSC London Central andPresident of EFBWBO. The idea came from an awareness that there is currently a significant under-representation of women from BME backgrounds on public service boards. The pilot programme was the result of an extended consultation period, and will be delivered by Cranfield School of Management.

It was launched in February, and affords twelve women from BME backgrounds the opportunity to learn what skills are required at board and senior level appointments. It is hoped that the graduates of this scheme will be better equipped to fulfil the duties of a board place, which are usually voluntary, unpaid appointments. Having more women from diverse backgrounds on boards permits public organisations to better represent and understand the customers they serve.

Programme Praise

The participants were eager to start. One programme participant, Regina Bash-Taqi, Projects Director for Childhood Foundation, said: “I”m really excited to be part of this programme. I think it is very important for women from my own background to have their voices heard and to represent our community on public boards. It’s great that the LSC London has acknowledged and taken steps to address this issue.”

Hilary Harris, Programme Director from Cranfields Centre for Customised Executive Development, said: “We are delighted to be working on this programme with the LSC. The programme draws together Cranfields extensive experience in the field of board-level development and – through the work of Professor Susan Vinnicombe OBE and her team – our thought-leadership in issues relating to diversity at the most senior levels. We look forward to this opportunity to make a real difference for the women involved and the Boards they will work on.”

Jethro Marsh

How can this programme be expanded across the nation? Tell us in the FE Blog

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