Dr Nike Folayan, Chair of Association For Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers delivers ‘Diversity in Engineering’ lecture

Dr Nike Folayan, Technical Discipline Leader – Communications & Control (Rail) at WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff and current Chairperson of Association For Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers (AFBE-UK), delivered her lecture on ‘Diversity in Engineering’ to staff and students in the School of Engineering and Digital Arts on Wednesday 23rd November, as part of a series of lectures tackling issues of Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity.

As Chair of AFBE, Nike represents the organisation on local and regional levels and project manages various AFBE-UK’s events and seminars on diversity and inclusiveness. She is also an alumna of the University of Kent, having studied the MSc Broadband Mobile Communication Networks in EDA in 2001.

Reports by Engineering UK indicate that there is lower representation of black and ethnic minorities (BME) in engineering professions which can be attributed to a wide range of socio-economic factors, one of which is a lack of professional advice at critical junctures in engineering career progression. During her lecture, Nike highlighted the fact that in order for diversity to be successful it has to be implemented by senior management and not Human Resource managers (HR). Nike stated that diversity should not be a separate entity but woven into the culture and ideology of each organisation.

Nike spoke with passion about AFBE-UK’s schools outreach programme called ‘Making Engineering Hot’ which promotes engineering to the BME community. She also described AFBE’s first ‘Transition’ event which took place at London South Bank University in June this year. The ‘Transition’ event saw students from across London benefit from a range of employability and engineering challenges in order to support students into meaningful careers.

Nike explains why Transition is vital:
“Just 7% of working adults from the BME community pursue engineering careers. This under representation is the result of many factors, but this event focuses on giving students who are already keen to enter our industry that final push they need to transition from student to engineering professional. Some students don’t have the experience and confidence they need to produce a compelling CV or perform as well as they could at interview. Redressing the balance must mean the industry is inclusive of all diverse groups. That’s where Transition comes in and where we need support from within our industry”.

Thank you to Nike for providing useful insight and discussion into improving diversity within organisational culture.