Category Archives: Ethnicity

BBC Pushes for Diversity on Air

The BBC has announced plans for greater black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) representation on and off air.

“The BBC should be giving talented people a chance wherever they come from,” said director general Tony Hall.

The BBC will put £2.1m into a fund intended to help BAME talent, on and off screen, to develop new programmes.  More …


Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – June 2014


Michael Caines – Chef

Michael was born in Exeter in 1969 and adopted into a large and loving family. He gained his passion for food from his mother who he used to enjoy helping in the kitchen.

Michael attended Exeter Catering College where his precocious talent was already evident, earning him the accolade ‘Student of the Year’ in 1987. He subsequently spent a year and a half at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane in London, before embarking on three influential years under his mentor Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire. From here he then moved to France for a further formative period of training, honing his profession under the guidance of such superstars chefs as the late Bernard Loiseau in Saulieu and Joël Robuchon in Paris.

He returned to Britain in 1994 to take up the position of Head Chef at Gidleigh Park. Gidleigh’s restaurant was already rated amongst the most prestigious in the country so the position represented a massive challenge and opportunity for a young and ambitious chef. Yet, only two months into the job, Michael suffered a terrible car accident in which he lost his right arm.

Remarkably, he was back in the kitchen part time within two weeks, and full-time after just four. With the support of the owners and an unwavering belief in his own ability to overcome obstacles, he returned to the kitchens of Gidleigh Park more focused and determined than ever to pursue his dream of reaching the top of his profession.

Michael founded Michael Caines Restaurants in 1999 and the next year opened his first signature restaurant Michael Caines at The Royal Clarence in Exeter. In 2003, a chance meeting with Andrew Brownsword resulted in a dynamic partnership and the purchase of The Royal Clarence. From there Michael Caines Restaurants has opened in Chester, Manchester and Canterbury.

He is an inspirational leader and loves to share his passion, vision and skills with the teams of talented, enthusiastic chefs that are now working in the kitchens of the restaurants that bear his name.


For this years Celebrate Difference and Diversity event we organised and ran a photo competition entitled ‘What Diversity Means to Me’.

We received 11 excellent entries, all very different and meaningful.

The winner was entry 11 from Sally Gill in the Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Humanities.

Please click here to see all the entries, well done to Sally and thank you to everyone who took the time to take part.



Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – April 2014

Stephen Wiltshire – Architectural Artist


April is Autism Awareness Month and with that in mind we have chosen Stephen Wiltshire as our Inspirational DiversityChampion.

Stephen Wiltshire is an architectural artist who at the age of three was diagnosed as autistic.

At school Stephen expressed an interest in drawing and he began to communicate through his art. Teachers encouraged his drawing, and with their aid Stephen learned to speak at the age of five.  At the age of eight, he started drawing imaginary cityscapes and cars and aged 10 he drew a sequence of drawings of London landmarks, one for each letter, that he called a “London Alphabet”.

Stephen only needs to look at a subject once and then he can draw an accurate and detailed picture of it. He frequently draws entire cities from memory, based on double, brief helicopter rides over a city. He produced a detailed drawing of four square miles of London and his longest ever panoramic memory drawing of  Tokyo on a 32.8-foot-long canvas within seven days following a helicopter ride over both cities.

Stephen has been the subject of many TV documentaries, books and articles and in 2006, he was appointed an MBE for services to art.  In September 2006 he opened his permanent gallery in the Royal Opera Arcade, in London and in 2011, he was made an honorary Fellow of the Society of Architectural Illustration (SAI).


Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – January 2014

Ade Adepitan – TV Presenter and Wheelchair Basketball Player

ade adepitan

Ade Adepitan is a television presenter and wheelchair basketball player. He was born in Nigeria on 27 March 1973. At the age of 6 months he contracted polio which resulted in the loss of use of his left leg and very limited use of his right leg. At the age of three, Ade and his mum emigrated to London to join his father.

He was taught how to walk using iron calipers, which he wore until the age of 17. Despite having Polio, Ade loved playing football with his school friends. He spent his early years dreaming of playing football for England.

Ade discovered wheelchair basketball when he was twelve, after being spotted by two Physiotherapists. They saw him being pushed in a shopping trolley by his friends. The shopping trolley was one of Ade’s favourite modes of transport at the time, as it was the only way he could keep up with his friends. Owen McGhee and Kay Owen, were both Physiotherapists whose philosophy was to teach young disabled children how to be independent using sport. After taking Ade to Stoke Mandeville, they introduced him to wheelchair basketball. From that moment Ade’s ambition, was to win a medal in the Paralympics for Great Britain.

After turning down an opportunity to study and play basketball, at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Ade decided to play basketball professionally for two years with CAI CDM Zaragoza. His dream to play for Great Britain at the Paralympics finally came true. After fifteen years, Ade was selected to compete in the Sydney 2000 Paralympics.

The unprecedented coverage of the Sydney Paralympics boosted Ade’s profile amongst the public and helped him gain the opportunity to become familiar face on television.  Ade has taken part in many shows including documentaries, children’s tv and sports presenting.

Ade is involved in a number of charities, particularly supporting those that help other people with physical disabilities. He is a patron to two charities called Go Kids Go ( and Scope ( He is also a great supporter of the NSPCC and WheelPower (

In 2005 Ade was awarded the MBE for services to disability sport. Find out more about Ade and his current work here



Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – October 2013


Trevor McDonald 1

October is Black History Month and with this in mind we have chosen Trevor McDonald as our Inspirational Diversity Champion.

Trevor McDonald was born in Trinidad in 1939, he worked in various aspects of the media including local newspapers, radio and television before he joined the Caribbean regional service of the BBC World Service in 1960 as a producer.  He moved to London at the end of that decade to work for the corporation (BBC Radio, London).

In 1973 he moved to Independent Television News (ITN) and rose steadily through the ranks to become the first black newsreader in the UK.  He was twice voted Newscaster of the year, and is perceived as the face of ITN after years of fronting its flagship ‘News at Ten’ bulletin.

He is an accomplished journalist, he has written several books including autobiographies on cricketers Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards. His own biography, ‘Fortunate Circumstances’, was published in 1993.

Once viewed as the best-spoken person in the country, he fronted a two-year inquiry into the state of language learning. It warned that government education policy failed to teach pupils the necessary language skills needed for later life.

Trevor McDonald read the news for ITN for over 30 years, in 1992 he received an OBE in the Queen’s Honours List, and in 1999 received a knighthood for services to journalism.  Although now retired from reading the news Trevor continues to broadcast on TV most recently last month when he presented the show ‘Women Behind Bars’ an insight into the Indiana Rockville Correctional Facility.


Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – August 2013


Diane Abbott 2

World Breastfeeding Week takes place between 1 – 7 August and as such, we have chosen someone who has combined their role as a mother with a successful working life as our Diversity Champion for August.

Diane Abbott is a mother and politician. She has been the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington since 1987, when she was elected to the House of Commons and became part of the first Black and Asian intake in Parliament for almost 100 years. She was the first black woman to be elected to the House of Commons. In 2010, she became Shadow Public Health Minister after unsuccessfully standing for election as leader of the Labour Party.

She has a record of differing from some party policies; voting against the Iraq War, opposing ID cards and campaigning against the renewal of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons. She has been seen as a “maverick, a free-thinker, willing to rebel against the party machine”.

More …

BME into Leadership Conference – 24 October 2013

The annual BME into Leadership conference examines how BME leaders, at whatever grade, can utilise their strengths and become the leader they aspire to be.

This conference involves hands-on advice and coaching, featuring contributions by inspirational speakers from all levels of the civil service and beyond.  The event will also provide an opportunity to network with colleagues and counterparts across Government, many of whom are working to tackle the challenges facing BME Public Servants and looking for opportunities to further their own careers in the public sector.

Attending this conference allows delegates to:

  • Hear from the Head of the Civil Service, Sir Bob Kerslake
  • Explore the challenges currently facing BME leaders looking to further their career in the Civil Service and discuss how to overcome them
  • Network with peers and counterparts from across Government who are also contemplating furthering their career in the Civil Service
  • Share experiences, learning and best practice with peers across the country

To book and for more information see:

Honorary Awards for Baroness Amos and Baroness Grey-Thompson

Baroness-Amos-and-Baroness-Grey-ThompsonThe University of Greenwich is awarding honorary degrees today (Tuesday 30 July) to Baroness Amos, the first black woman to become a Cabinet minister, and to champion Paralympic athlete Baroness ‘Tanni’ Grey-Thompson.

They are both being honoured in graduation ceremonies taking place at Rochester Cathedral.  More …