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Mercedes partners with the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers UK

NEWS STORY
29/04/2021

Mercedes has announced that it has formed a partnership with the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers UK, to inspire people of Black and minority ethnic origin to study engineering.

Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix has announced a new partnership with the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers UK (AFBE-UK).

Established in 2007 by Dr Nike Folayan MBE and Dr Ollie Folayan, AFBE-UK works to inspire people of Black and minority ethnic origin to study engineering, to support those who aspire to be engineers, to promote engineering in schools and to increase diversity within the UK's engineering workforce.

Whilst an average of 27% of engineering university graduates are from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds, only 8% of UK engineers are from the same group. AFBE-UK's mission is to increase the number of Black and minority ethnic engineers who pursue and go on to have successful careers within the engineering industry.

AFBE-UK has developed a network of over 10,000 individuals from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds across the UK in various engineering disciplines. By promoting diversity in engineering and technology through programmes and activities which are led by exceptional professionals and leaders in the Engineering industry, the organisation hopes to drive meaningful change, sustainable growth and development and have a lasting positive impact on the UK's engineering capabilities.

Working together to increase the talent pool for Black and minority ethnic groups within MGP and the wider engineering industry, AFBE-UK and MGP will focus on five strategic areas: Advisory, Recruitment, Education, Work Experience and Events. Focusing on our commitment to become a more diverse and inclusive team, this new partnership will also enable our team members to professionally support young engineers and encourage their aspirations for a career in engineering.

Through formal work experience programmes and events to reach out to Black and minority ethnic communities, combined with access to the AFBE-UK recruitment portal and a thorough audit of any potential barriers to recruitment from Black and minority ethnic groups, the partnership will help the team to achieve its commitment for at least 25% of all new employees at our team to come from under-represented groups in each year up to and including 2025.

"We are very excited to welcome Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix as a member of the AFBE-UK family," said Mara Makoni, Corporate Partnerships Lead, Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers UK. "Through this partnership we are committed to supporting the team in the implementation of their Accelerate 25 strategy to deliver the outcomes of improving diversity and ensuring the most talented engineers from all backgrounds can access careers within motorsport engineering. We are pleased to see that MGP is committed to creating teams that are more reflective of the world we live in; teams that are more diverse and foster inclusion and belonging for people from often marginalised communities. To see such an elite brand dedicate real time and resources to this goal is a massive leap forward for engineering. Young boys and girls from all origins can now dare to dream about being part of building the brand and sport they have grown up admiring."

"We are delighted to have joined the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers UK," added Paul Mills, Chief People Officer at Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd. "As part of our Accelerate 25 programme and commitment to improving diversity within our team and our sport, we have begun to identify organisations who can provide valuable knowledge and support as we raise our efforts on this journey. AFBE-UK's wealth of experience in working with organisations and engineering professionals to encourage and support engineers from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds into engineering is a perfect fit as we look to widen our appeal and increase the diversity of the talent within our team. We very much look forward to working with AFBE-UK and learning from their valuable expertise as we make progress toward our ambition of improving the diversity of our team. We are also delighted to be working with Dr Nike Folayan in her role as both Chair of the AFBE-UK and as a member of the Board of Commissioners for the Hamilton Commission, the research project set up by our driver Lewis Hamilton to identify the key barriers to recruitment and progression of Black people in UK motorsport, and provide actionable recommendations to overcome them."

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1. Posted by kenji, 30/04/2021 14:06

"@ Spindoctor...so if a white person applies for a position within the AFBE training orbit he will be rejected based purely on skin colour/ethnicity? A clear and succinct yes or no will suffice. "

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2. Posted by Spindoctor, 30/04/2021 12:52

"@flyinglap
I quite agree this is not the place for a debate about equality, but it was you who raised the subject through your criticism of Mercedes GP.
I don't have access to the detail of the arrangements between Mercedes GP & AFBE-UK, but I rather doubt it "mandates" a 25% quota. I see no reason to believe that eventually achieving that ratio (in keeping with Graduate numbers) would have a deleterious effect on Mercedes GP's performance. "

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3. Posted by flyinglap, 30/04/2021 11:35

"@ Spindoctor
There is no notion of 'equity & fairness' in mandating that 25% of new engineers 'should' come from "black and minority ethnic" communities. No one is actually preventing them from employment in motorsport (or any other sector of the economy). If they were eager and competent enough, they might as well occupy 85% of available posts. If there is an apparent discrepancy (assuming that what is claimed is indeed correct) between the average 27% of engineering university graduates from black and minority ethnic backgrounds and the 8% of UK engineers from the same group, that rather has to do with the way universities promote and subsidize 'diversity' and hand out all sorts of diplomas. In any case, this is a subject I would rather not see debated in a motorsport website, and in fact not in any way, shape or form having anything to do with motorsport. Just let the best compete freely, that should be enough."

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4. Posted by Spindoctor, 30/04/2021 10:28

"@flyinglap & kenji
Mercedes isn't going to discriminate against "white" people, but is trying to compensate for the discrimination against BAME people over the last 400 years. It's all about notions of equity & fairness.
The defining characteristic of MB GP & Toto Wolff is a pursuit of excellence & this partnership, like its involvement with Mulberry Schools, is aimed at encouraging & developing excellence amongst groups whose options have historically been limited by prejudice & discrimination.
You need only to look at how changing the gender-balance of Corporate Management has worked to see this type of scheme in action. It has been conclusively shown that such initiatives successfully improve not only the lives of those who participate, but the performance of the Companies too.

As to "replacing" 25% of their current engineers - that's not what was said.
This long-term strategy will work. It's an aim that 25% of NEW employees should come from BAME communities, other aspects of Mercedes community involvements will support that goal."

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5. Posted by flyinglap, 30/04/2021 8:12

"This is Mercedes abiding by the terms of the 2021 contract with Sir Lewis, all inspired by Hollywood it seems. I suggest that Mercedes replace outright at least 25% of their current engineers with "black and minority ethnic engineers" and be done with it. That would certainly improve the 'show' and improve racing. And by the way, why not extend the same measure to top management as well. Toto Wolff seems too white, too privileged and too straight as well, so it would be best that he retired from his post and be replaced by a suitably 'diverse' person of unidentifiable gender while we are at it, for maximum effect. I also like very much the sound of 'Hamilton Commission', and I wish it great success, similar to the success enjoyed by the Warren Commission, the 9/11 Commission, or the EU Commission, for our benefit."

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6. Posted by kenji, 30/04/2021 2:33

"From a purely non partisan viewpoint isn't the setting up of any organisation based on preference being given to coloured people, at the exclusion of all other colours, discriminatory? My question is, could you implement an identical operation for the exclusivity of 'white' people? At first glance it would appear so if the former stands legal scrutiny."

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