College book to inspire and celebrate BAME success stories
- Credit: One Sixth Form College
A Suffolk college is putting together a book to showcase the success stories of ethnic minority students, to create diverse role models and inspire future generations.
Suffolk footballer and tutor at One Sixth Form Ian Brown, and colleague Ashton Harewood, are Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) champions at the Ipswich college and wanted to make a difference to current and future students.
Working with Ipswich photographer Neil Mason, they decided a book of success stories would help deconstruct some of the misconceptions about achievement.
"The importance of this is to recognise not just former students, but also use that to help inspire others," Mr Harewood said.
"There are not many ethnic role models and so we want to showcase these students, prove there are opportunities and options out there for them.
According to Mr Harewood, around 20% of nearly 2,000 students at the college are BAME and work has already been done to ensure students of colour are represented in the prospectus and in photos around the site.
Mr Brown said he doesn't want the college to be a barrier to any student achieving and said: "When you see success it inspires you to look up to that and be like that.
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"It is important that the local community feels seen and heard — we want to affect change and drive it, because the young ones coming through are the priority."
Mr Mason said all the positive work they've been doing to make the college a more inclusive place has come from the young people themselves and spawned new group the Ethnic Youth Empowerment Society (EYES).
"The idea for this book did come from the young people," he said.
"We've been talking about the importance of their voice, as they don't always see it as something they should have because they're used to being talked at rather than people talking with them.
"As far as we know this is the first of its kind to be so focused and we want the students to take these ideas on with them to university or wherever they go next."
Any past students who'd like to share their success story, or anyone wishing to get involved in the project, can get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com