AFBE-UK and the Royal Academy of Engineering to host online event to celebrate Black History Month

Source: press release, 19 October 2020

AFBE-UK Scotland chair Dr Ollie Folayan
AFBE-UK Scotland chair Dr Ollie Folayan (photo: AFBE-UK Scotland)

AFBE-UK, a social enterprise which promotes diversity and inclusion, is hosting an event in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering to celebrate Black History Month.

Taking place on Thursday, October 22 (5:30 pm – 7:00 pm), this free webinar will showcase established BME (black and minority ethnic) engineers and their stories in relation to racial equality and its importance in everyday life.

Founded in 2007, AFBE-UK highlights the achievements of BME engineering industry professionals and also provides support for young people looking to develop their career. The event is being hosted by Dr Ollie Folayan, chairman of AFBE-UK Scotland, which was founded in 2011.

At the seminar, the Royal Academy of Engineering’s CEO, Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE, will discuss how certain factors contribute in maintaining race inequality in the engineering sector. Attendees will then have the opportunity to share ideas. Founded in 1976, the Royal Academy of Engineering is the UK’s national academy of engineering. It is a charity that utilises the power of engineering to develop a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that accommodates to everyone.

In addition to Dr Sillem, attendees will hear stories from a diverse industry panel. This includes Loraine Martins MBE, diversity and inclusion director of Network Rail. Oluwaseye Sosanya, co-founder and CEO of Gravity Sketch. Sargeant Alan Cameron of the Royal Air Force, and Maryam Amussah, production specialist at Shell.

Black History Month is an annual celebration which began in the US as a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. In the United Kingdom, Black History Month was first celebrated in October 1987 and has been marked annually ever since.

Dr Folayan says, “We are delighted to partner with the Royal Academy of Engineering for this event to celebrate Black History Month and demonstrate the importance of racial equality in the engineering sector. Its values align very closely with AFBE-UK, where they also focus on inclusivity to provide opportunities for everyone.”

Aberdeen-based AFBE-UK Scotland encourages all young people, particularly those from BME backgrounds, to consider a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). Over the years it has supported thousands of pupils, students and graduates through online and face-to-face events in Aberdeen and Edinburgh.