YBEP was a talent management programme that ensured participants succeeded as students at University of East London (UEL), and embarked on a pathway that enabled them to meet their full potential so that they left UEL ready to make a significant impact in professional endeavours.
It was delivered over the course of six months culminating in attendance at a graduation event in June 2017.
The core aim of this programme was to address and get a better understanding of issues around the retention and progression of black and ethnic minority male students at University of East London, a university with a proportionally high number of students from diverse ethnic backgrounds. The YBEP programme provided support and facilitated the development of skills necessary to engage within the university culture, with mentoring being central to the project. While there are a number of potential benefits to the mentoring process at all stages of life, mentoring has the potential to make a pivotal difference in someone's life. Precisely in the early stages of an academic journey, a student for whom the academic culture may feel a foreign territory, in which case this intervention may be the decisive factor if the student is to choose to remain.
YBEP had three core components: personal mentoring, a series of practical workshops/talks as networking opportunities, and a summer internship.
Personal mentoring was central to the programme. Students met on a regular basis with their mentor to discuss any issues they may have or worked on small tasks to aid the development of their skill to meaningfully and effectively engage within the academic culture. The mentor took on a role of an 'interpreter' of the academic culture in the process while at the same time helping the mentee to be socialized into the academic culture, accommodating the development of the patterns of behaviour fundamental to success in higher education, gradually enabling the mentee to meaningfully engage and thrive at university.
Workshops provided practical advice on how to navigate a life of a student and succeed. This was structured to help students take their personal, academic, career or business development forward with confidence.
Networking events were structured around talks and take place in venues around London, to provide network opportunities for both students, academics and professionals. The talks were motivational and uncovered the stories behind the influencers who discussed what it takes to create change and achieve game-changing success.
Summer internships were available to students who undergo the whole programme. Much of the support throughout the programme was provided by UEL Employability, to get access to a summer internship with internal UEL employer and/or external employers. Before this took place, students attended employability skills training workshops to get help with preparing CVs and interview techniques.
During the programme, student achievement was monitored using measures such as questionnaires and behavioural measures such as 'attendance', 'online learning portal activity' and 'module marks'. Data was collected from all participants in the project to gain a deeper understanding of the issues affecting retention and progression of BMEs at UEL.