Exclusive: Successor to Network for Black and Asian Professionals launching tomorrow at Festival of Skills

Exclusive: Successor to Network for Black and Asian Professionals launching tomorrow at Festival of Skills

A successor group to the defunct Network for Black and Asian Professionals (NBAP) will be launched tomorrow at the FE Week Festival of Skills.

The new organisation will be called The BAME Principals Group.

It will comprise serving principals and chief executives of FE institutions and chaired by Jat Sharma, who is an Association of Colleges board member and principal of Walsall College.

Leading roles will also be played by Andy Forbes and Anthony Bravo, principals of the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London and Basingstoke College of Technology.

They intend to fill the gap left by NBAP— which Rajinder Mann, who has helped facilitate the new organisation’s launch, ran until it was forced to fold late last year.

It will be launched tomorrow, on what will be the opening day of the Festival of Skills at Capel Manor College, North London.

Ms Mann (pictured above) told FE Week ahead of this: “I am pleased to see that the legacy of the NBAP will be carried forward.”

She added: “The importance of the race equality agenda has become highly relevant in the light of Brexit and we need a positive focus bringing together all the communities we serve in FE.”

Wolverhampton-based NBAP was set up in 1998 to address under-representation of black staff in FE, particularly in teaching, management and senior positions.

But FE Week exclusively revealed in November that it was closing “due to lack of funding”, as a result of “the current political environment and the austerity cuts in the public sector”.

In a letter to members at the time, Ms Mann wrote: “It is with deep sadness and regret that I am writing to inform you that the NBAP board has reluctantly resolved to close.”

“Despite numerous attempts to mitigate closure by cutting our staff and costs to the bone we can no longer sustain the organisation.”

The closure of the network came just six months after Ms Mann urged college leaders to make the promotion of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) principals a “priority”, as their numbers had fallen nearly 30 per cent in three years.

The Festival of Skills will be a two day CPD event for professionals working in the FE and skills sector.

It will bring together the best of FE’s forward thinking advocates, policy makers and educators, providing a space for sharing new ideas and debating the key topics impacting on the sector.