In the blink of an eye, the second edition of the Global Majority Mentoring Programme (GMMP) has come to a close! Following a successful pilot programme in 2022 with 56 mentors and mentees from across eight London Higher member institutions, this year saw double the participants with nearly 120 mentors and mentees from 15 institutions take part. The expansion of the GMMP has been made possible through generous support from our sponsors Minerva, who also ran a career development, CV, headhunting and negotiating masterclass for participants in April.
I was delighted to celebrate the culmination of this year’s programme with so many mentors and mentees on Monday 10 July, and I have been truly inspired by the progress mentees have made, and by the professional journeys that have been shaped by this programme.
The importance of a programme for global majority professionals in London was very clearly outlined by Mac Alonge, CEO of The Equal Group and keynote speaker at our celebration event. London is a ‘super diverse’ city – with White / White British Londoners only accounting for 37% of the population in the capital compared to 82% across the UK. London Higher is proud of this diversity – but we recognise that across the capital, Black workers with degrees earn 23.1% less on average than White workers, and a significantly lower percentage of minority ethnic workers progress to management and other senior roles, compared to their White counterparts.
This is why London Higher and our members are committed to working towards building inclusive institutions that represent the global and wonderfully diverse city in which we are situated. Improving career progression and diversifying the talent pipeline at all levels of the higher education (HE) sector, and indeed beyond is a fundamental aim of the GMMP.
With this in mind, we introduced an added leadership development element to this edition of the programme. Credit goes to Dr Randhir Auluck, Dr Paul Elmer, and Keith Hunter, whose masterful facilitation of our ‘Learning Leaders’ workshops provided mentees with a safe and reflective space to think critically about their own leadership qualities, empowered them to find their voice and undoubtedly served as a catalyst for talented global majority staff to take the next step in their careers.
I was privileged to participate in Learning Leaders as part of Cohort 1, and I would like to shine a light on some of my fellow participants, who say:
“My personal and professional development have undoubtedly benefited greatly from the Learning Leaders workshop. I am eager to put the lessons I have learned into practice and to continue my development as a compassionate and efficient leader. Together, let’s continue to push boundaries and have a positive impact!” – Nada Jarche
“Learning Leaders was truly exceptional, providing me with an incredibly insightful journey of self-discovery. Engaging in invigorating discussions, I had the opportunity to explore the depths of my leadership capabilities. The diverse range of ideas and experiences shared by fellow participants greatly enriched our collective learning experience.” – Uma Ema
Over the last two editions, the Programme has gained traction within London HE, but also in other sectors across the capital. Notably, the Deputy Mayor for Communities and Social Justice, Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard, provided the keynote for our 2022 closing event, and earlier this year I wrote a blog on the GMMP for the GLA’s London Anchor Institutions’ Network – who count mentoring young Londoners as a key aim of their recovery and regeneration work.
We have also heard of remarkable stories from former participants, such as Dr Randhir Auluck and her mentee Alwin Puthenpurakal presented at an international conference on workforce development in July 2022, during which Randhir introduced Alwin to colleagues at the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa). Alwin was encouraged to draft a proposal for his PhD, and duly received an offer for a fully funded PhD scholarship at Stellenbosch. It is incredible to see what has blossomed through this programme – and I am constantly reminded of how significant interventions like the GMMP can be. With institutional buy-in, driven participants, and dedicated facilitators, London HE can and should be a model for success for other sectors across the capital.
I am already excited for what 2024’s edition will bring, and I cannot wait to see another cohort of global majority staff flourishing.
This blog has been written by Darren de Souza, Senior Policy and Projects Officer, and lead of the Global Majority Mentoring Programme at London Higher.
If you would like to informally discuss the Global Majority Mentoring Programme, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.