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31 October 2023

Empowering Change For All


Written By:

Sharon James-Evans

Principal
Cardiff and Vale College

 

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Black History Month is a time of celebration, recognition and reflection.

Here at Cardiff and Vale College, we see ourselves as being at the heart of the communities we serve and they are some of the most vibrant and diverse communities in Wales. We are proud that one third of our student population at Cardiff and Vale College come from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities (the Global Majority community).

Our commitment to the anti-racist agenda is firmly engrained in our inclusive mission to change lives through learning and, as the largest college in Wales and one of the biggest in the UK, we are actively using our position to support the education sector in taking an all-encompassing approach to managing and promoting equality, diversity and inclusion. We believe that it is this approach that will help to breakdown the persistent barriers facing those who have a lived experience of racism and enable these communities to thrive so that we can deliver substantial economic growth for society.

We are proud that our all-encompassing culture of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) has been recognised as one of best across the UK through our Leaders in Diversity status. This is the highest and most prestigious award offered by the National Centre for Diversity and reflects the deep work undertaken to move our organisation to a more equal and prosperous future.  This sends a powerful message to staff, students, businesses and our communities of what the College stands for and our commitment to improve.

We chair the Colleges Wales Equality and Diversity Group and we were proud to be the first college in Wales to become an affiliated member of the Black Leadership Group. This includes signing up to the Group’s Ten Point Plan to eradicate racism in FE through ensuring the curriculum reflects the experience of people from ethnic minorities; embedding racial equality in staff training, addressing gaps in ethnic minority representation among students, staff and governors; tackling imbalances in diversity during the recruitment process; and ensuring all internal and external communications reflect fair treatment of black and minority ethnic staff, students and communities.

We’ve also been working on behalf of the Welsh Government to develop anti-racist curriculum materials for the FE sector as part of their commitment to ensuring Wales will be an anti-racist country by 2030. We are proud to have led this unique and innovative investment in the Welsh curriculum that provides an immersive learning experience developed and produced in collaboration with ethnic minority experts from schools, colleges, universities and third parties. It really is a flagship project that is helping our young people to grow, thrive and understand one another – a crucial step towards our anti-racist Wales ambition and is a showcase example of the benefit in investing in those who have a lived experience of racism.

Being open and honest about what more needs to be done to fight against racial prejudice and discrimination will help to raise socio-economic diversity in the world of education and work. That’s important not simply because fairness and equality of opportunity are at the heart of democracy, but also because harnessing the talents of those who have significant barriers in front of them can deliver substantial economic & societal benefits.

For me, Black History Month is a good time to remind ourselves that overlooking the talents of the Global Majority hurts us all. Let’s use this month to build momentum for the future and eradicate racism for good.


 



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