Written by Hajra Tahir, First Year Law with Politics Student at UoM
The life of an average Uni student is comprised of what seems like endless studying, back to back lectures, coursework deadlines, volunteering, gruelling placement searches, CV updating, and let’s not forget, the occasional social event or night out with friends. When time is split into a million different slots, it becomes increasingly frustrating when things take more time than you can afford to allocate.
A large proportion of this time is dedicated specifically to preparing for the future. Internships, Vacation Schemes, Insight Days and Work Experience are all some of the most valuable activities you can involve yourself in – (and incidentally the most time consuming!) By establishing a foothold in prospective career options as a student, you greatly increase your chances of employment and develop essential skills that will broaden your realm of opportunity as a graduate.
However, often a time for BAME students, this process is considerably more frustrating. For a person of colour, every opportunity that you come across is not always a chance to extend your course-related skills or experience working in a new environment. Many BAME students feel they are hindered from breaking into predominantly white industries as a result of inherent prejudices within large companies and firms; despite ethnically diverse workforces increasing an average company’s financial returns by 35%. This discourages students of colour from seeking traditional work-related opportunities, resulting in an increase in demand for schemes tailored specifically to accommodate BAME students.
The issue at hand with such schemes, is that they are very difficult to find. When your time is as thinly spread as it is in University, spending an extortionate amount of time searching for extra-curricular opportunities inside and outside of Uni is somewhat counterproductive. This blog post aims to resolve this issue by organising the various opportunities available to BAME students – so you can make more productive use of your time.
1) MEDIA AND JOURNALISM
Arguably one of the most difficult industries to infiltrate as a person of colour is the media. With a heavy history of under-representation, traditional media outlets such as Television and Radio can be considered somewhat feudal in comparison to more modern creative channels of expression. These contemporary avenues allow aspiring BAME media professionals to flourish and gradually ease their way into conventional routes. The following schemes and websites allow BAME students to achieve this.
- Creative access is one of the most helpful websites available. They provide a range of opportunities from renowned media giants such as The BBC, ITV Studios, Bloomsbury and many other firms that could potentially support your budding career in the entertainment industry. This includes summer internships, book publishing programmes and even Youtube Channel Management workshops!
- The BAME Short Story contest is an exciting annual competition that allows aspiring writers to enhance their CVs as well as receive a cash prize for their efforts. The winner will be able to attend an exclusive one-day Publishing workshop hosted by the 4th Estate, as well as having their story published on the Guardian Website.
- Pop-up Projects (a London based Illustrations company) in partnership with House of Illustration are set to launch a two year pilot scheme that offers a 70 day workshop/master class/business training package to a selected number of BAME illustrators. The chosen illustrators will produce 5 small pieces, the best being sold by the House of Illustrations and distributed by Pop-up. The pieces will also go on display at the London Book Fair and Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
2) CORPORATE WORLD AND BUSINESS
Another industry that is largely dominated by racially exclusive firms, is the corporate world. Jobs in Marketing, Management, Law, Banking, Accountancy and Business traditionally have limited space for graduates of colour, making it particularly difficult to grow professionally in an already cutthroat field. The following are schemes and opportunities that will enable BAME students in particular to gain a competitive edge and enhance their CVs and applications.
- Uncovering Prospects in the City host an annual event for high performing Black/Afro- Caribbean students to explore internship opportunities in Investment Banking and Finance in London. Professionals working at the World’s top 7 City firms will be available to give the best interpersonal advice to the participants.
- The Dil Internship Project is a scheme aimed at (but not limited to) South Asian students of Pakistani descent who wish to not only give back to their community but develop integral commercial skills along the way. The opportunities available from this project consist of London, Dubai and Karachi based businesses offering long-term and seasonal schemes predominantly revolving around marketing and management. There are also opportunities available for other professions such as engineering.
- Diversity Access Schemes is another beneficial opportunity put forth by the Law Society that enables diverse young individuals undergoing extenuating circumstances to earn a scholarship that will fully fund their Legal Practise Course. The project is sponsored by a range of top firms including Hogan & Lovells and Eversheds and Sunderland – further widening the horizon of prospective employers.
The final sector that I will be talking about is technological and biological sciences. BAME students can visibly be seen to make up a large proportion of most STEM subjects at University and A-levels. Despite this only 3% of tech leadership programmes are held by ethnic minorities. The following scheme helps bridge the disparity between these figures.
- The Association for Black and Ethnic Minority Engineers (AFBE) is a brilliant group that provides a range of projects specifically aimed at BAME students. They aim to help young BAME professionals succeed professionally and are a sound support network for ethnic STEM students.
For more support and skills based internship/ seasonal opportunities, visit the University of Manchester Careers Service. The Careers Service has various resources to optimise your experience as a BAME student and help you progress career wise, post-graduation.
Also coming up is the BAME Careers and Beyond event on the 2nd April 2019, where top BAME professionals from various industries will talk about how best to pursue employment opportunities after graduation as a person of colour.