Bristol BAME leadership scheme changed Sikh man’s life

bristol bame leadership scheme changed sikh mans life - Bristol BAME leadership scheme changed Sikh man's lifeImage copyright Bristol Design
Image caption Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees (left) launched the scheme in 2018

A man who took part in a leadership development scheme for women, black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) and disabled people in Bristol said it had “changed his perspective on life”.

The local authority’s Stepping Up programme has been such a success since its launch in January 2018, it has been extended until 2021.

Participant Dharmbir Singh Bhakerd said it helped him “break down barriers”.

He has since set up a scheme supporting BAME staff in the NHS where he works.

Stepping Up is designed to help under-represented groups progress to senior roles.

Mr Bhakerd, a chartered accountant, joined a magistracy course after he felt the profession was underrepresented by BAME people.

‘Eye-opener’

He said: “The course changed my perspective on a lot of things in my life as a BAME person, and working in an environment where there weren’t many BAME people.

“It was an eye-opener.”

The 41-year-old from Easton said a highlight was meeting Bristol mayor Marvin Rees who launched the programme.

He said Mr Rees was an “inspiration” being the UK’s first directly-elected black mayor.

Since finishing the course Mr Bhakerd has set up a network across the NHS in the South West to support BAME colleagues.

He said: “Me taking on this role has made career progression more accessible for other people that look like me.

More successes

“It can only lead to a fairer system for people of colour.”

Another success from the programme is Barry Scrace who is disabled. He left education early with no qualifications and is now starting an MBA degree.

And Rosie Ochola travelled back to her birth village in Kenya to teach orphaned girls how to make and sell jewellery. Funds raised enabled the girls to purchase a water tank.

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