The Ethnic Minority Network celebrated the graduation of the second cohort of Leaders Empowered to Achieve their Potential (LEAP) for Bands 3-6 and Finding Your Mojo for Bands 7-8a. The course was specifically aimed at ethnic minority staff and aimed to equip them with the skills and knowledge to help them not only navigate the various forms of race inequality but to thrive under these challenging conditions.
The course was created following the findings from the Workforce Race Equality Standard Report (WRES) for NELFT, which showed that BME staff are at a significant disadvantage in the workplace - a consistent finding across Trusts. These leadership programmes are a key objective of the Ethnic Minority Network Strategy at NELFT, an extensive document that works towards race equality for all staff.
The leadership courses for ethnic minority staff at NELFT have already proved effective, with 50% of staff from the first cohort gaining a promotion within six months of completing the programme. Six staff from the second cohort had been promoted by their graduation ceremony.
LEAP and Mojo this year were expanded to accommodate more staff compared to the first cohort in 2021. A total of 105 staff enrolled and most were able to graduate. In order to pass this course, participants were required to attend five full day days of training from internal and external experts and to complete a personal project with the assistance of a mentor to improve systems and practices at NELFT.
The event was held at Farmhouse Venue, Rush Green. The day started at 9.30am and finished at 2.30pm, and it was flawlessly hosted by Wellington Makala. Project presentations were delivered to the highest standard by one person from each banding group. Iva Matthews presented from bands 3-4, Ramiz Mungroo from bands 5-6 and Gurmit Dhillon from bands 7-8a. Other speakers included acting CEO Jacqui Van Rossum, former Chair Joe Fielder and interim Chair Sultan Taylor.
The event was further supported by Joseph Lindo, integrated care director of Acute Rehabilitation Directorate; Selina Douglas, executive director of partnerships and Yemisi Gibbons, non-executive director.
Cathrine Lund, chair of the network said:
"We are extremely proud of the achievements of all the participants, they have demonstrated the key skills needed for real leadership. All the projects undertaken as part of the programme were aimed at improving local systems and quality and patient safety. This should not only benefit the Trust, but also our patients and local communities.”
The event had a truly celebratory feel with members of the Steel Pan Trust playing in the garden, a South Asian lunch buffet served outside and flowers and gifts for those who contributed to the programme’s success. Participants showed their sense of achievement and support for one another with their vibrant cheering, singing and dancing.
Participants will be followed throughout their leadership journey following completion of the programme, and will have opportunities to be involved in coaching, interview panel participation and other opportunities.
Attendee feedback on the event was highly positive. Kerry Bariffe, clinical effectiveness lead, said:
"It really was a lovely day we will never forget, once again congratulations everyone and thank you to such amazing leaders who were able to provide us this opportunity.".
Dr Gurmit Dhillon from Redbridge talking therapies said:
"It was a great graduation ceremony filled with love, compassion for each others achievement and wellbeing. It was great to see all leaders of our Trust who took valuable time out to award our certificates. Special thanks to Harjit, Catherine, Stephen, Wellington and all of the organisers who spent so much time and effort to organise this course for the second year. I’m grateful for this opportunity and would like to end by saying ‘thank you’, once again. I hope that there will be opportunities created for us to move forward in new roles/projects."
We would like to thank everyone who supported the programme, with special mention to Harjit Bansal, Reema Huzair and the rest of the EDI team.