At the beginning of June this year, we, like millions of others across the globe published a statement in solidarity of the ongoing fight against systemic racism;
“We stand in solidarity with those fighting against racism. We are committed to learn; we will review our own policies and practices and will continue to actively encourage diversity within the engineering community to ensure it represents and serves all people.”
We are committed to delivering on this promise, and are taking steps internally to explore what this means for our organisation. To begin this process we have elected a working group, who will be analysing our current policies and culture to ensure we are doing all we can as an organisation to recognise areas for improvement. We recognise this will not be a quick process and are dedicated to providing the time necessary to explore this fully. We also recognise that this is not just a question of what we are doing as an organisation, but it is imperative for us to assess the engineering sector more broadly, and acknowledge the lack of diversity that still exists.
In 2018, statistics from the Royal Academy of Engineering showed that 27% of UK-domiciled engineering graduates came from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic backgrounds, but only 7.8% of engineering professionals are from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic backgrounds. This was further supported by Engineering UK’s findings, when it was reported that 65.5% of White engineering and technology graduates found full time employment after six months of graduation, compared to 48.6% of graduates from ‘Ethnic Minority backgrounds’. Calling into question; where is the leak in the employment pipeline for those from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic backgrounds and how does this affect who engineering design and technology serves most?
We want to try to understand what is causing this disparity by inviting experts in the field: Dr Udonna Okeke a Senior lecturer at the University West of England who founded the BAME Girls in Engineering project, Georgia Thompson civil engineer by background and co-founded D-vers-ty and Mara Makoni systems engineer by background and the External Relations Lead at the Association For Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers, UK to a panel discussion, Racism and engineering: The stories behind the statistics. During this panel discussion we will not only be exploring the current state of representation in the engineering sector, but questioning what actions the sector needs to take to provide opportunities and welcome a more diverse cohort of engineers.
The panel discussion, which will be chaired by one of our member elected trustees, Nav Sawnhey, will take place on Thursday 13 August. During the discussion there will be an opportunity to hear from the experts as well as pose your questions to the panel to consider. To sign up to attend this event, click here.