Celebrating local Black voices in business

In our work with young people, we know how important it is to see relatable role models in jobs and in business and how Black people want to see more role models from their community. Seeing people from a similar background to you succeeding and working in different types of jobs helps shape a young person’s opportunities.

Amongst the challenges facing young Black people in Britain is underrepresentation. Lack of diversity within business and institutions disproportionately impacts the opportunities and experience of Black people in the UK, including young people just considering a career.

According to data collated on the 23rd July 2021 by Operation Black Vote (OBV), there were 73 Black, Asian, and minority ethnic individuals in the UK’s top positions from the political, public, cultural and media sectors – representing just 6.3%* of the 1,100 positions. Diversity UK reports that 14% of the UK’s population is from a Black, Asian, and ethnic minority background (2018).

*Statistics as reported by and sourced from the Guardian, July 2021.

It’s not just the top roles where underrepresentation is a significant problem. Speaking with young Black people from Kirklees and the surrounding areas, we found that many do not see and aren’t aware of Black role models in business more generally. We want to address this by reaching out to Black people from our region and sharing what they do for their job.

Over the coming months, we aim to share some the stories of Black people from our area, focusing on their careers, businesses, education, and experiences. We are beginning this in celebration of Black History Month and will continue to use our platform to do so.

We have been lucky to speak with a range of wonderful professionals and entrepreneurs. They have shared their journeys from school and where they grew up, to further education and training, and succeeding in their chosen careers or business ventures.

We want to thank those who have shared their time and stories with us, and we are looking forward to sharing them with you. To give you an idea of some of the careers we will shine a light on, here are some of the people who have volunteered to speak to us.

Jillian Augustine is a British-Grenadian data scientist who grew up in Huddersfield. Jillian studied at the University of Leeds and McGill University, Canada. She lives in Vienna, Austria, and works as a Senior Data Scientist in the AI Centre of Excellence at Crayon.

Imani Muhammad runs her own baking business, Coco's Corner, full time from home. Imani is from Huddersfield and previously worked at a local primary school for five years. Lockdown allowed Imani to get her baking business off the ground.

Darnell McIntosh is a professional rugby league player who plays as a winger and fullback for Hull FC in the Super League. Darnell is from Huddersfield and completed the Giants' scholarship before being called up to the England Knights squad in 2019.

Amelia Johnson is an apprentice Quantity Surveyor from Huddersfield, studying at Leeds College of Building. Amelia is working with BAM Nuttall on the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme Phase 2 to reduce the risk of floods occurring in Leeds.

Our goal is to share the stories of Black people in business, professional services, construction, medicine, sport, fashion and more. By exploring how these people found what they love doing, we hope to inspire some more future career paths.

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