Black Talent Summit aims to boost workplace diversity

Inaugural Black Talent Summit event encourages employers to employ people from a range of ethnic backgrounds to improve representation.

Edinburgh has played host to the first-ever Scottish black talent summit.

It aims to tap into skills shortages in industries like data science and healthcare.

Those behind today’s event say bringing diverse perspectives, cultures and experiences into the workforce will lead to a brighter future for all.

Queenette Nkiri, from Nigeria, went to the event in the hope of finding new opportunities.

She travelled to the UK on a student visa a couple of years ago and has been working in social care.

“I want a job and a career that is more fulfilling and more rewarding for me,” she told STV News.

“I can grow in my skills, harness the skills that I have, and other transferable skills that I have as well.

Student Justin Ehime, also from Nigeria, has similar ambitions.

He said: “The UK has done so much for me, the opportunities it’s given me, what I’m studying at university, it’s so wide, so beneficial, so I love to give back.”

Today’s black talent summit focused on data science and healthcare – but there are hopes to expand it next year.

Organiser Fash Fasoro, who works for social enterprise DataKirk, said: “Its purpose is to showcase talent, to let the Scottish economy be aware that black talent is not difficult to find, not hard to reach, and also to connect with businesses who are struggling to find the right talent to diversify their team.”

Odunayo Ogunsanwo also works for DataKirk, which arranges training in data and tech skills.

He said: “We try to negotiate conversations between employers and organisations and the government of Scotland to see how we do not have career flight from within the country outside.”

The event was attended by equalities minister Christina McKelvie MSP.

She said: “The main concern I hear from minority ethic communities is, ‘I don’t see myself there’. To be in this room today to see such diversity, how do we make sure that [this] is not the exception but the norm?”

Ms McKelvie said the Scottish Government was working on a number of projects, including a Fair Work toolkit, to improve representation in the workplace.

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