Kwabena Darfour, Senior Transportation Engineer

29 October, 2020

Author:

What is your role and how long have you worked for Pick Everard?

I’m a Senior Transportation Engineer/Planner, based in Leicester and I joined the business in February 2020, so I have been with Pick Everard for 8 months. My role involves transport statements, and planning.  I have worked on education projects, a Police constabulary, and three projects in schools in Essex.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

I think awareness of Black History Month is a positive thing.  I am familiar with it and I have seen it marked in other workplaces I have been in.  I have seen other organisations scheduling talks or holding presentations to generate awareness of the importance of Black History Month. It develops diversity because I think we are all aware that there is discrimination present in society and we can all play a role in helping overcome this by celebrating difference.  For me, Black History month provides recognition and encourages people from black backgrounds in knowing that their contributions do matter and are valid.

What does it mean to you to see Pick Everard celebrating BHM this year?

This is my first time at Pick Everard during Black History month. I’m happy it has been acknowledged and I’m happy to make an important input to it.  For me, the key message is really about inclusivity.  No matter what our background is, we all have an important part to play.  Being inclusive of everyone allows people to develop a sense of belonging, greater involvement and reach their individual potential.

What types of initiatives do you feel are pivotal to be in place in order to facilitate equality and diversity and overcome career challenges for black professionals?

I think it’s important for businesses to drive inclusion at all levels and encourage participation from all diverse groups.  Certainly, our industry would benefit from having more black employees.  Initiatives that encourage the attraction of more diverse colleagues are important and well thought through approaches to recruitment can help this.  Visibility of other diverse colleagues and role models is important in any career development or recruitment process.

I’d like to see businesses tackle stereotypes more.  Black professionals are sometimes unsure about speaking up and sharing their views and ideas through fear of not being perceived in the right way, fear of being perceived as problematic.  This can lead to further feelings negative feelings such as scepticism and isolation.  Having the freedom to feel included and have a voice is important. Employee engagement activities that encourage people from different backgrounds to be involved and have the freedom to express themselves in a way that is unique to them are a good idea.

I have worked for small and large companies and when you are the only one that looks like you, it can affect the way you feel about work.  Even if your colleagues join you to try out African or Caribbean restaurants it makes a real difference.  Being open and taking an interest are really positive things to do.

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