Hundreds of Lambeth Students ‘Inspired’ and ‘Empowered’ by Successful Black Professionals
After a highly successful event in 2018 and back by popular demand, the Lambeth Schools Partnership (LSP) ran another week of Aim High inspirational talks at Lambeth Town Hall which were attended by around 400 Black Caribbean heritage students from Lambeth secondary schools.
Aim High, which is a strand of the LSP’s Raising the Game* project, aims to raise aspirations through exposing students to inspirational and highly successful Black individuals from a range of professional and academic backgrounds.
The 15 sessions over the course of the week saw students from years 8, 9 and 10 hear from 28 speakers who shared their own path to success in their chosen profession. These motivational speakers included tech experts from the Black Googlers Network, neuroscientists, doctors, lawyers, educators, economists, historians and the Black British Business Person of the Year 2019 (also the first-ever Black person to chair the British Science Association).
Students were able to find out about these individuals’ personal, academic and professional journeys and asked many profound and challenging questions. Feedback from students and teaching staff from each session was extremely positive, with an average overall rating for the week of events being an impressive 8.29 out of 10.
Attendees praised the events as ‘inspiring’, ‘interesting’, ‘empowering’ and ‘relatable’. One year 9 student reflected that ‘just because you go through struggles and rejections, this doesn't mean you can't be successful. You have to ‘fail forward’ and turn hardship into success.’ Another student, at the end of their session, informed the speakers that they had motivated him ‘to also be an inspirational Black person with many achievements.’
All volunteer speakers expressed how much they enjoyed presenting at Aim High and ‘connecting with the next generation’ (Richard Cummins, Senior Tech Specialist for Google). One speaker, Tola Akinyemi, Brand Manager for Deliveroo, praised the Aim High initiative saying: ‘I never had anything like this growing up and I wish I did’. Cyprian Njamma, Oxford graduate and Director of a global investment management firm, commented: ‘I really enjoyed the day. These types of events are definitely beneficial for the students’ futures and keeping them on the path to excellence.’
Juliet Williams, Lead for Lambeth Careers Cluster, hosted the week of events with great enthusiasm which was commended by students who said that ‘she really made [them] think about [their] achievements and futures as Black individuals’. Juliet also led the segment on 100 Great Black Britons; a new feature for this year’s Aim High events. This segment was informed and supported by Patrick Vernon OBE and Dr Angelina Osborne’s 2004 publication 100 Great Black Britons which has been commissioned for republication in 2020. Students reflected on the achievements and contributions of Black Britons from past and present generations and made suggestions for who they would nominate for the new edition.
A video of highlights from Aim High secondary 2019 will soon be released – watch this space!
For more information and to get involved with Aim High and/or Raising The Game please contact: Francesca Wickens
*Raising the Game: Achievement of Black Caribbean Pupils in Lambeth is a two-year project which focuses on closing the attainment gap between Black Caribbean students and their peers, as well as reducing disproportionate exclusion levels for this group. Raising the Game encompasses a range of initiatives including diversifying our curriculum to better reflect the borough’s (and indeed London’s) community, headteacher coaching, unconscious bias training for heads and chairs of governors, early years parental engagement activities as well as other Aim High events in future.