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NEW LEADERS: Birmingham participants embark on programme to find next generation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic leaders

NEW LEADERS: Birmingham participants embark on programme to find next generation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic leaders


Participants are this week embarking on the second year of Pathway to Success Leadership and Development programme, a ground-breaking initiative designed to equip Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals with the tools and knowledge required to stand for political office alongside other leading figures from across the UK.

Participants have been selected based on their proven leadership skills and will undertake a week of intensive masterclasses in politics, governance, community, business, commercial and civic environments to build their know-how in running for political office and further develop their senior leadership skills.

Following a successful pilot in 2019, more than 1,000 applications were received for 30 places, more than three times as many as in the pilot year. As a result, the programme has been expanded to double the number of potential future Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic leaders this year to 60 across two cohorts.

Now in its second year, the programme aims to send out the message that diverse leadership is essential in politics, business and civil society, while creating a thriving parliamentary democracy.

Run by The House of Commons and Operation Black Vote (OBV) in collaboration with the University of Oxford’s Magdalen College and Blavatnik School of Government, and Lloyds Banking Group, the programme will offer participants an insight into running for political office and senior leadership positions, as well as an enhanced understanding of the political landscape and the skills needed for a career in frontline politics.

Partners have developed a comprehensive programme to build an in-depth understanding of major political, civic and business ideas through discussion, group activities and input sessions throughout the week. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, sessions this year are being delivered online.

Participants from the Birmingham in this cohort include:

  • Councillor Sharon Thompson, Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods, Birmingham Council

John Benger, Clerk of the House of Commons, said:

 “At the House of Commons, we believe that leadership is improved by diversity. That is why we are proud to launch the second year of the “Pathway to Success” leadership and development programme.

 “Addressing underrepresentation in senior roles within the House of Commons is one of the priority actions of our Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2019-2022 and I look forward to welcoming the next generation Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic leaders to Parliament”

The 2019 cohort has already seen some impressive success stories, including:

OBV alumnus Frank Starling, and global VP of WERKIN, a London based tech company who was appointed a London Enterprise Advisor to the Mayor of London, said:

“Pathway to Success is a career changing opportunity geared at levelling the playing field and accelerating Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic leaders forward. Being a participant of the programme has helped me to access knowledge, networks and tools that have aided me to reach the next level.”

 OBV alumnus Sonika Nirwal who stepped up, applied and was appointed to a senior leadership position in her organisation, said:

“I took part in the Pathway programme as I felt like a part of me had given up on my future and that my career had stalled.  For me the Pathway programme was like a reawakening.  I met people who every day were changing the world around them. Coming on the programme has completely changed my outlook and I now believe in myself again.

 “Three months after attending the week in Oxford I found myself thinking about applying for an internal promotion within my organisation. Through the programme I received support in preparing for the assessment process. In the end I was successful and am now looking at my career in a totally different manner. I have made some friends for life on this programme, whilst accessing some of the finest minds in the country.

 “I would highly recommend the programme.”

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