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AFBELive! Conference Returns Unveiling “Future of Engineering: Human-Centric Solutions”

The Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers (AFBE-UK) is excited to announce the eagerly awaited second edition of its flagship event, AFBELive! Conference. Building on the success of the inaugural conference in 2022, this year’s gathering is scheduled for the 23rd of April 2024 at the distinguished Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London. Themed “Future of Engineering: Human-Centric Solutions,” AFBELive! will explore innovative approaches, technologies, and collaborations prioritising human well-being. As the UK’s premier gathering for Black and Minority Ethnic engineers, the conference will spotlight advancements, celebrate achievements, and champion inclusivity within the dynamic landscape of the engineering industry.

AFBE-UK is dedicated to advancing education and engineering careers among individuals from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) backgrounds across the United Kingdom. The organisation promotes diversity through programmes and activities led by exceptional professionals in the Engineering industry, designed to instigate meaningful change, sustainable growth, and a lasting positive impact in the UK. Since its inception in 2007, AFBE-UK’s outreach initiatives have supported over 20,000 beneficiaries across the UK. Offering networking, mentoring, educational resources, and opportunities, the Association also facilitates access to job opportunities nationwide.

The UK boasts a rich engineering legacy; however, ethnic minority representation in the sector remains disproportionately low. Projections suggest that the percentage of UK citizens from ethnic minority backgrounds could reach 20%-30% by 2050. Shockingly, an EngineeringUK report reveals that only 9% of the country’s engineers come from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities, despite an average of 30% of engineering university graduates being from BME backgrounds. Bridging this gap and fostering greater diversity in the engineering workforce is crucial for a more inclusive and innovative future.

AFBELive, the UK’s foremost conference dedicated to promoting diversity in engineering, is poised to bring together engineers and technologists for an engaging day of discussions, panel sessions, and the Next Big Idea Competition—an innovative programme styled after “Dragon’s Den” that encourages innovation among students and professionals. This event provides an excellent networking opportunity for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals and high-achieving students of all backgrounds, along with individuals and organisations supporting STEM careers.

Dr. Nike Folayan MBE (CEng, FIET), the Co-founder of AFBE-UK, shared her thoughts on the upcoming conference. She expressed, “We are gathering to amplify the voices of Black and Minority Ethnic engineers, celebrate their accomplishments, and foster a future where diversity is not just recognised but celebrated as an indispensable catalyst for innovation and progress. Our conference will delve into critical topics such as AI in Engineering, Sustainability, Equity in the Built Environment, Company Culture and Inclusion, and Labour Income Inequality, envisioning a holistic approach towards human-centric solutions that transcend traditional engineering boundaries.”

This year’s event features an exciting range of sponsors from various industries, ranging from Tech to the Built environment and Aerospace. Cisco Meraki, a proud diamond sponsor of AFBELive 2024, expressed their commitment to an inclusive future, stating, “Cisco Meraki champions an inclusive future for all. We’re proud to sponsor The Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers 2024 conference, reaffirming our commitment to diversity and representation in engineering. Together, we’re ensuring every voice is valued.”