For many people from ethnic minority backgrounds, however, support comes from family and friends not from the workplace. In a recent study we conducted, ‘Aspiration and Frustration’ only a third of all of those we spoke to felt they had access to professional support and guidance at work, and of these less than a third used it.
There is then a clear need to extend to as many people as possible the opportunity to benefit from the advice of others who have made it. And, as importantly, to educate ethnic minorities about the benefits of taking advantage of such networks. Actively encouraging company directors and industry leaders to become involved in mentoring activities and programmes at a local level can have a lasting positive impact in opening up opportunities for BAME candidates.
Mentoring disproportionately benefits the person being mentored but ask any mentor and they too will say that they have learnt from the experience.
RfO Board Mentoring Circles
In January 2010 RfO launched its Board Mentoring Circles, a unique opportunity for BAME individuals to be mentored by leaders of dynamic organisations and to gain insight into what skills and competencies they need to succeed in their chosen field.
RfO employees and RfO board members have been mentoring BAME employees, SME business-owners and students in schools, universities and other HE institutions – offering tips and strategies, as well as the chance to network with other BAME individuals across different industries.
To date, more than 350 people have been involved in the Board Mentoring Circles, and many high profile organisations have committed to rolling out the scheme internally.
For more information please contact: Anushka Weragama
RfO BAME Women Mentoring Circles
Race for Opportunity’s 2008 report, Race to the Top revealed that just 6.8%, or one in 15 BAME workers were in a management position, furthermore just 34.1% of senior managers from a BAME background are women. In addition the 2009 Female FTSE report found there are only 11 BAME women on FTSE 100 boards of which none are British nationals.
One of the recommendations from the Race to the Top report therefore was to organise workplace mentoring, support employee networks and provide credible role models. With this in mind the overall objective of the programme is to help progress the career prospects of BAME women, to help redress this imbalance