“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” — Coretta Scott King (wife of Martin Luther King Jr)

Black Engineers

A SPECIAL conference was held to celebrate Black engineers in the United Kingdom and call for better inclusivity in the engineering sector.

The Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers (AFBE-UK) announced the second edition of its flagship event, AFBELive! Conference, which was the UK’s premier gathering for Black and Minority Ethnic engineers.

The conference took place on April 23, 2024, at the distinguished Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London.  The conference also aimed to help bridge the gap between the low representation of Black engineers in the workforce, compared to the high number of engineering graduates from Black and minoritised backgrounds. According to an EngineeringUK report, only 9% of the country’s engineers come from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities,  despite an average of 30% of engineering university graduates being from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.

Dr. Nike Folayan MBE 

Dr. Nike Folayan MBE (CEng, FIET), the Co-founder of AFBE-UK, said she was excited to celebrate the achievements of engineers at the conference.  She said: “We gathered to amplify the voices of Black and Minority Ethnic engineers, celebrate their accomplishments, and create a future where diversity is not just recognised but celebrated as an indispensable catalyst for innovation and progress.  Our conference delved into critical topics such as AI in Engineering, Sustainability, Equity in the Built Environment, Company Culture and Inclusion, and Labour Income Inequality, envisioning a holistic approach towards human-centric solutions that transcend traditional engineering boundaries.”

Marcus Mosiah Garvey once said, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”

Black Engineers

This year’s conference, themed “Future of Engineering: Human-Centric Solutions,” followed the hugely successful inaugural event in 2022.

AFBELive! explored innovative approaches, technologies, and collaborations prioritising human well-being. It also spotlighted advancements, celebrated achievements, and championed inclusivity within the dynamic landscape of the engineering industry. This year’s event featured an exciting range of sponsors from various industries, ranging from Tech to the Built environment and Aerospace.

Cisco Meraki, a proud diamond sponsor of AFBELive 2024, expressed their commitment to an inclusive future.  They stated: “Cisco Meraki champions an inclusive future for all. We were proud to sponsor The Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers 2024 conference, reaffirming our commitment to diversity and representation in engineering. Together, we ensured every voice was valued.”

To read more about the work of AFBE, please click here.

Positive Impact

Organisers said they were dedicated to advancing education and engineering careers among individuals from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) backgrounds across the United Kingdom.

AFBE-UK promoted diversity through programs and activities led by exceptional professionals in the Engineering industry, designed to instigate meaningful change, sustainable growth, and a lasting positive impact in the UK.

Since its inception in 2007, AFBE-UK’s outreach initiatives had supported over 20,000 beneficiaries across the UK. Offering networking, mentoring, educational resources, and opportunities, the Association also facilitated access to job opportunities nationwide.

“If everyone does a little, no one has to do a lot.”  Charles Harper

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