THE BLACK EXCELLENCE NETWORK
The Black Excellence Network challenges the racial disparities within UK higher education and competitive courses seen between black students and other ethnicities. We also support the professional and personal development of current black university students nationwide. Racial inequalities and a lack of information present a barrier to black students aiming to enter the elite UK universities, therefore at Black Excellence Network we are further empowering black students to gain entry into these spaces. This will provide them with the driving force they need for better overall prospects post-education. Founded by Oyinda Adeniyi, George Obolo, Pobor Eruesegbefe and Amgad Salih in April 2020, we have now accumulated over 400 members within our network. COVID-19, coupled with the ongoing battle for racial equality, which was highlighted by the events of 2020, ignited the ethos behind Black Excellence Network. In addition to this, the experiences of the leadership and ambassadorial team during our journeys to competitive courses and institutions spotlighted the value of mentorship and having a community of students from similar backgrounds. We are building a future in which black students across the UK have access to the help they need in their journey to higher education and their experiences throughout university.
Research published by the Department of Education in January 2020 has shown that black students are less likely to achieve 3 A grades or better (5.5%) compared to other ethnic minority groups; white students (11%) and Asian students (11%). Coupled with this, Race for Equality (NUS) highlighted that black students would be more negatively affected by insufficient information and guidance from their schools and colleges in applying to university. This is in addition to black students, disproportionately, being deprived of the right advice on qualifications, which typically leads to students not getting the required qualifications for their course of choice. The Black Excellence Network is actively tackling these imbalances through our five organisational pillars which are Mentorship, Consultancy, Events, Networking and Opportunities which help students from Sixth Form/College to university level. Our mentorship programme currently has over 100 matches between Y12-Y13 students and undergraduate students. The Consultancy service currently has over 10 different consultants and this offers members of our network the chance to speak to top students and professionals within their desired industry, thus helping to add value to our members and provide them with express insight into their area of interest. Our events are dedicated to enriching students through providing subject-specific advice, university guidance and wellbeing support. Our online platform at blackexcellencenetwork.net facilitates our exclusive ‘Opportunities Listing’ which includes the latest openings in a range of fields such as Banking, Law, Finance and more!
We are continually expanding our number of members which will further cultivate a community of inspirational black students. With the launch of a new mentorship cohort in Summer 2021, we will be increasing our involvement with Sixth Forms and Colleges, giving young people the opportunity to get involved with our organisation and widen their network. We are seeking partnerships and involvement from social enterprises and elite university institutions who are passionate about having a fruitful impact on black students in order to help them make informed and constructive choices about their next steps regarding higher education or careers. Working in collaboration with Black Excellence Network, these organisations would be able to widen participation amongst black Sixth Form/College students in their institutions, as well as have access to enrichment activities for their current university students. The Leadership Team would be pleased to get into contact and explore potential relationships further!
Written By: Oyinda Adeniyi