York St John University launch BME toolkit
York St John University has launched a Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) toolkit that aims to help engage BME communities in Higher Education programmes.
The toolkit has been created for Higher Education and informal education providers who want to enhance education opportunities for BME learners. In producing the guide, York St John University has been working closely with black minority ethnic communities and their influencers to raise the aspirations and confidence of young and mature learners, encouraging them to consider applying to higher education.
Paramjeet Kaur-Singh is the BME project leader at the University and the author of the new guide. She said: “We have learned a huge amount from working in partnership with the Sangat Community Centre in Keighley, West Yorkshire. Our research has included activities and focus groups with men and women of different ages, with different levels of educational achievement, who held professional and non-professional jobs and held different types of ‘role status’ within their community, from housewife to imam.
“The development of all our highly productive community partnerships has been the focus of our work starting with the partnership with the Sangat Centre, a local voluntary organisation that has been assisting us to reach out to the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities living and working in Keighley, extending to York’s Turkish Women’s Language Buddy Project and the South Asian communities Dance project, and further into Hull where we have been reaching out to the Congolese and Iraqi refugee communities.
“This research has enabled us to create a guide that we hope will encourage Higher Education learning in community settings, provide interesting practice and case studies, and help others to understand cultural and institutional barriers affecting BME learners and the importance of informal learning for BME communities.”
The guide is entitled Engaging BME Communities in Higher Education Programmes and is available for free download at www.yorksj.ac.uk/bmeguide.
Picture shows: Vice Chancellor Professor David Fleming with members of the Sangat Community Centre and York St John University staff