From education to employment

Black Leadership Group celebrates mentoring success

A pioneering mentoring programme, led by the Black Leadership Group (BLG), is celebrating two successful years as it launches its third cohort this month.

The programme supports aspiring black leaders by providing experienced mentors from the education sector and beyond – who work with mentees to build confidence, offer careers advice and generate networking opportunities.

Since its inception in 2021, BLG, in partnership with London South East Colleges, has matched 25 mentors and mentees across the UK. It gives middle and senior managers from a range of college functions – from curriculum to HR – the opportunity to get support, advice and guidance from highly experienced black leaders.

This enables mentees to build leadership confidence in a safe space, while exploring career opportunities and accessing practical, expert advice to support their professional development.

Speaking at a special online event to mark the programme’s success, FE Commissioner, Shelagh Legrave CBE highlighted the importance and impact of it. She said:

“The FE Sector needs a diverse college leadership and I am delighted to welcome and congratulate everyone who has gained a place on this programme. It is a privilege to lead and I hope that this encourages and supports you all in your journeys to senior leadership positions. Thank you to BLG and London South East Colleges for championing this work to encourage more ethnically diverse management within colleges.”

Dr Maxine Room CBE has been leading the programme in her role as associate director of leadership, mentoring and coaching at BLG. She said:

“This successful programme is highly impactful and is making a real difference to the lives and careers of black staff. With our third cohort of mentors and mentees now launched, we intend to keep it running for as long as it’s needed.

“With a lack of black leaders and managers across most sectors, more strategies continue to be needed to address this – and mentoring is key. Together we can build an amazing talent pipeline and give people the opportunities they deserve.”

Chair of the BLG mentoring committee and executive principal and chief learning officer at London South East Colleges, Asfa Sohail, added:

“As an FE College serving a diverse community, we understand the importance and benefits of supporting all our staff to reach their full potential. This mentoring programme provides fantastic support to talented black staff, with sharing of invaluable expertise from some dedicated mentors.

“Congratulations to everyone who has taken part in the programme so far and very best wishes to those involved in the latest cohort.”

100% of participants on the programme have been positive about the programme. Comments included:

‘This was the support I needed’

‘I got the job…the one I really wanted, not the one I thought I should go for’

‘My mentor was amazing, making me think and reflect on my goals.’

For more information about the work of the Black Leadership Group and this successful mentoring programme, please contact Maxine Room.

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