“Building on Beacon – Enhancing Employability for all through Staff-Student Partnerships”

Project lead: Dr Mary McAlinden

This project sought to develop and run an employability event for final year Mathematics students, specifically designed to raise employability aspirations across the full spectrum of ethnicity, with a particular focus on BAME students. The event was planned and designed by a Staff Working Group, working in partnership with a Student Steering Group which acted in an advisory capacity. The event was timed to coincide with the end point of students’ undergraduate studies, and as such it was deliberately designed to be an end of study celebratory event.

The invited keynote speaker was Dr Nira Chamberlain, the President Elect of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, who has given his public lecture, The Black Heroes of Mathematics, across the UK and as part of Black History Month. In a highly inspirational talk, he raised awareness of the massive impact that can be achieved through a career in Mathematics. Other speakers included five alumni who willingly gave up their time to contribute to the event, through round table sessions and more formal talks. FDM also attended as employers. The event closed with a group photograph which was subsequently made available to students.

A strong focus on diversity was proactively built into every aspect of the event, including in the makeup of the Student Steering Group, the selection of speakers and the career paths they had chosen and the keynote speaker. Special efforts were made to ensure that students fasting for religious reasons were able to participate to the full during the event, including over the lunch. Some of these students came to offer special thanks for the arrangements that had been put in place for this. During the event staff actively sought to identify any students who did not have plans for after university and follow-up additional support was offered to these students after the event. The evaluation conducted at the end of the event resulted in very positive feedback and much appreciation from students. A summary article is being prepared for the Autumn 2019 issue of Prime Times, the Greenwich MathSoc newsletter.