From education to employment

Imperial’s flagship BAME talent programme celebrates its seventh cohort

Participants of @ImperialCollege’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic talent programme celebrated their graduation this week.

Being a Black woman in a working environment can sometimes leave you in a state of ‘otherness’. IMPACT felt like a good support mechanism.Leah OlimaCareers Operations Manager, Business School

Now in its seventh year, Imperial Positive About Cultural Talent (IMPACT) is a four-month long development course for Imperial’s Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff.

IMPACT seeks to address some of the issues faced by BAME staff which prevent them from progressing in their career. The programme aims to empower staff to overcome these barriers so they can realise their true potential.

This year 15 staff members across Imperial took part in IMPACT, participating in a series of online workshops and a group project of their choice. The project ideas presented by graduates included an Imperial cultural exchange festival and a fitness and wellbeing section for Imperial’s mobile app to help staff take care of their mental health.

In previous years, several IMPACT group projects have gone on to be implemented, including Shifting the Lens, a communications campaign to spotlight Imperial’s minority ethnic staff and students, and CO-Action, an initiative that provides job interview practice for staff.

Below, we hear from some of the 2021 IMPACT graduates.

Demi Corr

Postgraduate Education Administrator, Department of Surgery & Cancer

“My experience of IMPACT has been absolutely amazing. When I first started, I was quite nervous. I’ve been told by my close family members that I don’t speak up enough for myself or stand my corner. Since attending the programme, I’ve been offering to do presentations and taking part in public speaking opportunities.

“Out of all the IMPACT workshops, I enjoyed the workshop on assertiveness the most. I’ve always struggled to be assertive. Since taking that training course, I feel like a new person. I now know that it’s fine to say ‘no’ and I feel confident when I say it. That was the highlight of my IMPACT journey.

“I’m now looking forward to putting the skills and tools that I’ve gained into action. I think the confidence and self-assurance that the course has given me will really help me in life.

Leah Olima

Careers Operations Manager, Imperial College Business School

“I applied for the IMPACT programme as I thought it was something that could bridge the gap between my personal development and professional journey. Being a Black woman in a working environment can sometimes leave you in a state of ‘otherness’. IMPACT felt like a good support mechanism.

“I was quite terrified when I first started the course. I was unsure what to expect and had many preconceived ideas. But it’s been a really good journey which has opened my eyes. It was nice to be in a room full of BAME staff where I didn’t have to think about the ‘unsaid things’. I enjoyed spending time with the other participants, understanding their backgrounds and motivations for taking the course. It’s been a really positive experience and made me accountable to myself for my career.

“IMPACT has helped me realise that I have an extended community at work. There is something comforting about that. The course has helped me with my strategic thinking, encouraging me to put plans in place for my career progression. I’ve gained confidence by attending the course, which I will definitely be taking forward.”

Izhar Shah

Research Associate, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

“There were a few things that attracted me to the IMPACT programme, such as the chance to improve my presentation and teamworking skills, build my confidence and learn more about the BAME community.

“For me, working on the group project was the most enjoyable part. Meeting regularly with my team members and refining the project was an interesting experience. We worked really hard to design the project and make sure it was polished. Participating in all the IMPACT workshops was highly engaging and allowed me to explore more about my own self and understand the experiences of other staff at Imperial.

“Thanks to the IMPACT course, I’ve created an action plan for my future. This has allowed me to highlight my next career moves, and identify areas for improvement such as my leadership and management skills and engaging in entrepreneurial activity.”

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