UWE conference celebrates BME work shadowing initiative

Issue date: 30 June 2009


Headteacher, Mary Phipps, helps a student shadowee A one day conference at the University of the West of England on 10 July will celebrate the achievements of 30 year 10 Black and Ethnic Minority (BME) pupils from the Bristol Region. The pupils have been taking part in a work shadowing initiative, to raise aspirations and give guidance and information about pursuing careers in teaching. The initiative is a partnership between Aimhigher West Partnership and UWE.

The Conference marks the successful completion for the Year 10 pupils of a Teaching Shadowing project organised by the Positive Action Training Hub (PATH). This initiative aims to address the under-representation of ethnic minority people in professions such as teaching, through providing short course training at UWE followed by placement in the relevant sector.

The conference will enable the young people to hear from speakers such as the writer and actor Kwame Kwei Armah, Conference Chair, Sherrie Eugene (UWE Governor, TV presenter) and Professor David Johnson (University of Oxford).

The young people will be welcomed by Professor Ron Ritchie of the School of Education at UWE. Other speakers and topics include, Hadassah Radway (BME Achievement Adviser/Head of EMAT) on 'Parents as partners in the Education of their children'; an introduction to the REACH National Role Models programme by Alex Beresford (ITV Anchor); young people workshops run by five of the national role models; and feedback on the UWE SchoolsLink Role Model Tutors.

All the student shadowees will receive a certificate of participation.

Conference organiser Dr Marie-Annick Gournet (UWE Principal Lecturer, SSH Faculty's Director of Widening Participation and Chair Aimhigher South West BME Special Advisory Group) explains, “It is recognised that our teaching workforce needs to reflect the diverse ethnic and cultural make up of society. Although children and young people from BME groups in Bristol schools represent about 24% of the population, the teaching workforce has less than 4% of teachers from BME groups.

“This project aims to provide the young people with a picture of what it takes to successfully have a job in this profession. By offering this insight at an early age we hope to enable the students to develop a good idea of what will need to be done in order for them to achieve such positions.”

“This is an excellent opportunity for the students as it is a chance for them to raise their aspirations and self confidence and help them set future career goals. This scheme enabled the shadowee to work in a learning assistant capacity in primary schools and to be actively involved in the various roles. We want the young people to get a realistic picture of a teaching career and its demands so that they have something to aim towards.”

This programme involves 30 participants in year 10 and eight adult learners who are considering starting NVQ L2 route leading into a profession in Education. With the adult learners, the programme aims to develop their awareness of what is available and build up confidence about their ability to map the relevant progression routes for themselves.

The conference is being run by UWE in conjunction with Bristol City Council, Bath and North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire Council, Reach National Role Models, Bristol Legacy Commission. The conference will be held on UWE's Frenchay Campus on Friday 10 July from 09:00 – 16:30.

The conference follows a similar successful event last year.

Conference focuses on work experience for BME young people

Ends

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