The UK’s Only Association For Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers Celebrates 15th Anniversary with National Conference


The Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers (AFBE-UK) celebrates its 15th year anniversary with a national conference called AFBELive! on the 22nd of April 2022, in London to recognise the impact AFBE-UK has made on the engineering landscape and amplify its message on improving the UK’s engineering industry.

AFBE-UK promotes higher achievements in education and engineering careers among people from black and minority ethnicity (BME) backgrounds across the United Kingdom. The organisation promotes diversity through programmes and activities which are led by exceptional professionals in the Engineering industry, and are designed to bring about meaningful change, sustainable growth and a lasting positive impact to the UK. Since its launch in 2007, AFBE-UK’s outreach programmes have supported over 20,000 beneficiaries across the UK. The Association not only offers networking, mentoring, educational resources and opportunities but it also provides access to jobs across the country.

The UK has a long-standing history of engineering achievement and yet ethnic minority engineers are still underrepresented across the sector. The proportion of UK citizens from ethnic minority communities is projected to reach between 20%-30% by 2050 but only 9% of UK engineers are from BME backgrounds, although an average of 30% of engineering university graduates are from BME backgrounds.

This has been very concerning, particularly after the pandemic which demonstrates the need for engineering expertise in scaling up solutions to deal with challenges. The AFBELive! Conference is a first-of-its-kind networking event which will bring together engineers and technologists for a fantastic day of discussions, panel discussions and the Next Big Idea Competition – a “Dragon’s Den” styled programme to promote innovation by students and professionals.

This event presents an amazing networking opportunity for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals and high achieving students of all ethnicities, as well as individuals and organisations promoting STEM careers.

The Chair of AFBE-UK Dr Nike Folayan MBE (CEng, FIET) had this to say about the event;

“The AFBELive! Conference is a demonstration and celebration of AFBE-UK’s tireless work over many years. The organisation which started out with as a grassroots initiative to change the perception of what an engineer looks like has gone on to witness so many successes, be a part of so many young people’s journeys into engineering and supported the career growth of countless professionals. This event will provide attendees with tools on how to improve inclusion within engineering. There is an opportunity to hear from a vast range of leading engineers and technologists include Dr Nira Chamberlain OBE, Yewande Akinola MBE, Count- down’s Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, British businesswoman and former chairman and CEO of IBM Asia Pacific – Harriet Green and UKRI CEO – Dame Ottoline Leyser. The event will also provide opportunities for talent to find out about companies championing inclusion within engineering and job opportunities We also have a star-studded line up of key individuals within the ethnic minority communities.

The one-day conference will include talks, panel discussions and opportunities for recruitment hosted by Gadget Show’s Ortis Deley. The day conference will end with a conference dinner which will commence with networking reception where guests will be welcomed with drinks and multicultural entertainment.

The evening ceremony will include a fireside chat with John Amaechi British-American psychologist, consultant and former professional basketball player and keynote address by political & women’s rights activist Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu with entertainment provided by double MOBO Award winner Yolanda Brown

The conference will be a marker for the continued efforts and strides that are being made by AFBE-UK to make an impact for diversity and inclusion within the engineering and technology industry.