What is the Equalities Mentoring Programme?
By Joss Kang & Lou Mycroft
The programme embodies our determination to enact equality and diversity in a very practical way. Our ambition is to recruit and support educators operating in AP-type roles from Black, Asian and other communities experiencing inequality and/or declaring a disability. We have a limited number of places.
Our motivation arose from our own experiences of working with APs over the past three years. APs do not reflect the workforce demographic and certainly do not reflect the student population. The most recent FE Workforce Data, commissioned by ETF  shows the proportion of BAME staff hasn’t changed substantially over time and is slightly lower than the England and Wales population as a whole (the data is not straightforward as we don’t yet know the outcomes of the 2021 Census). Compellingly, there has actually been a slight year-on-year rise in the number of white British managers and senior managers. As management is the next step for many APs, this work is more valuable than ever. FE specific research is hard to come by, but we know from the work of Professor Kalwant Bhopal  and others that Black and Asian mentors can have a profoundly effective impact on teachers of colour. We also know that co-producing learning experiences with someone who has lived experience of mental or physical ill-health can be hugely beneficial.
Increasingly, we are getting things right for students, especially students with disabilities, but not so much for our staff.
It seems reasonable to conclude that Black, Asian and other people from minority communities are increasingly gathering at the least powerful end of FE. We also know that the mental health impact of COVID-19 is revealing itself, amongst students and staff.
The team at touchconsulting deliver a national programme on behalf of the Education and Training Foundation. We have a responsibility to contribute to greater equality and diversity in FE. So what are we going to do?
Building on the success of last year’s programme, we will be offering:
- 1:1 mentoring support from Mole herself or a carefully matched mentor from the BAMEed Network
- Priority access to purposeful workshops on the themes of respectful language and other aspects of professional development.
We have a limited number of fully subsidised places if you are from a ‘minority’ community and/or you declare a disability and you book onto one of the programme pathways. You can apply alongside your application to one of the #APConnect Year 4 programme pathways. We hope that this initiative will make a significant contribution to the diversification of the workforce at levels of influence.
 White Privilege: The Myth of a Post Racial Society (and the body of academic research which supports it).