Following the 2020 launch of F1’s ‘We Race As One’ initiative to help combat racism and inequality in the sport, Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix (MGP) are the first team to commit themselves to increasing diversity in its team and the sport.
They have today announced a new partnership with the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers UK (AFBE-UK) which will form part of their Accelerate 25 programme. Accelerate 25 is Mercedes’ five-year programme to become a more diverse and inclusive team, and they aim to have at least 25% of all new starters come from under-represented groups by 2025.
Figures from the Royal Academy of Engineering show that whilst 27% of engineering graduates are from black and minority ethnic backgrounds only 8% of UK engineers are from the same group.
The partnership with AFBE-UK will work to increase the talent pool for black and minority ethnic engineers within both Mercedes and the wider engineering industry. By focusing on five key strategic areas; Advisory, Recruitment, Education, Work Experience and Events it will help drive change, increase accessibility and also enable Mercedes’ team members to support and encourage young, emerging engineers.
Paul Mills, Chief People Officer at Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Limited said: “We are delighted to have joined the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers UK. 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 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.”
Speaking for the AFBE-UK, Corporate Partnerships Lead Mar Makoni said: “We are very excited to welcome Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix as a member of the AFBE-UK family. 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.”
About the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers UK
The AFBE-UK is a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2007 by engineers Dr Ollie Folayan and Dr Nike Folayan following the UK Business and Enterprise Committee and the Royal Academy of Engineering published reports about shortage of engineering skills in the workforce and in particular the under-representation of people of ethnic and minority.
They have since developed a UK network of over 10,000 individuals in various engineering disciplines from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. They promote diversity in engineering and technology through programmes and activities and hope to drive meaningful change, sustainable growth and have a lasting positive impact on the UK’s engineering capabilities.