The group of 46 graduates have all successfully completed the programme designed to provide opportunities to develop talented individuals from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.
Graduates were joined at the event by 13 employers who were recognised as Diversity Champions for their key support of Stepping Up and those who partook in the programme.
Speaking at the event, Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “Across the public, private and voluntary sectors it’s important to ensure that organisations are looking inward and recognising the talent they have on the shop floor. Stepping Up is designed to harness that talent and push it forward to fulfil its potential. The programme also provides employers with a vehicle to diversify their leadership and contribute further to developing a successful, inclusive and sustainable local economy.
“Congratulations to those who have graduated from the programme. Most of you are already contributing to the city’s changing leadership landscape and I wish you the very best on your future career journeys. I also wish to thank those employers who have been honoured with the Diversity Champion award. Your contribution to the programme and the commitment you have shown to continuing our work to promote diversity, equality and inclusion is ensuring we’re taking positive steps towards building a city where everyone can share in its benefits.”
Professor Christine Bamford, Director of the Stepping Up Programme, said: “For the past twelve months it’s been my great privilege to support this talented and inspirational group through our first year of the programme. Their dedication and the generous support of the employers taking part has ensured the success of Stepping Up is clearly evidenced. Over 50% of those taking part have secured promotions, a number have successfully applied to be magistrates and a further six are now pursuing MBAs. I am very grateful to all who took part and supported the programme. I look forward to seeing our graduates flourish on their career journeys and to working with our employer group again on the expanded Stepping Up programme beginning imminently.”
The positive action programme was set up in 2018 to improve the representation of BAME employees in senior leadership roles within the city and wider region. It is supported by organisations such as the Ministry of Defence and the law firm Osborne Clarke.
The benefits of the programme include the chance to work towards an ILM level five certificate in management and leadership, pairing with a mentor from another organisation to provide expert mentoring and support, 30 guaranteed development days to cover the course content and opportunities to experience another sector through undertaking a stretch assignment.
Stepping Up graduate Gait Collins said: “Being in the Stepping Up programme has been life changing. Not only has it affected my mindset, confidence and skills, I now have a lifelong support network. I truly believe that together, we will shape the leadership landscape into one that values diversity and better represents the people served.”
The launch of the expanded second Stepping Up programme takes place today, Monday 28 January 2019.