REflect 2019 takes place

The IET and RS Components have collaborated to host a new event dedicated to promoting engineering and technology careers to the Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) community, and to those from a low socioeconomic background, with the goal of encouraging them to make positive steps towards a bright future.

Latest research by the IET has shown that only 9% of engineering companies in the UK have sought to increase the diversity of their engineering, IT and technical workforce in terms of ethnicity*.

According to the Social Mobility in Engineering Brief from Engineering UK, just 24% of those working in engineering come from low socio-economic backgrounds. The ethnicity Facts and Figures audit established that unemployment among black, Asian and other ethnic minorities is almost double that of white British adults.

Taking place last week, the IET and RS Components hosted the ‘REflect’ event at Hawker House on Thursday 1 August. Supported by Inside Success, the event showcased cutting edge technology to young people aged 18-25 and highlighted the exciting and cool career opportunities across engineering and technology that they might not have had access to before.

Role models from the BAME community shared their success stories to break down barriers and show young people that they can be whatever they want to be if they believe in and apply themselves. Speakers included engineer and innovator Yewande Akinola, Terry Jervis, Founder of Jervis Entertainment Media and Colleen Wong - Founder/Director Techsixtyfour Ltd and Sky Women in Tech scholar.

Following this year’s launch event, the IET and RS will run this event annually to create a new National Day aimed at encouraging multiple engineering and technology organisations and other Professional Engineering Institutions to take action and engage with underrepresented groups.

Jo Foster, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at the IET, said: “Engineering and technology is a fantastic career but more needs to be done to ensure that STEM is being promoted as a viable career path for everyone. Following this year’s launch event, we are aiming to make REflect an annual National Day and event.  We know that the initial inspiring part is easy – but there must be a tangible follow up to keep the momentum going.”

Isabella Mascarenhas, Vice President, Grass Roots & Shining Stars at RS Components, added: “Following the main event, delegates can sign up to a series of follow up activities and mentorship programmes to provide soft skills training, workshops and a careers fair. The ultimate goal is to offer employment opportunities to these young people to improve their future prospects.”

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