The University has made a significant investment in student wellbeing services in recent years and part of this investment has been to address the lack of diversity in some of the constituent parts of student services. We know that young black men in particular are less likely to engage with student services and having staff that are more reflective of our richly diverse student population is just one way we can address such issues.
The Advice and Counselling Service will always try to respond to requests for counsellors from specific ethnic backgrounds, or from minority sexual orientation and gender identities.
Where this isn't possible, they have forged links with external and specialist agencies so that we can refer students seamlessly to appropriate support.
Advice and Counselling have a committed EDI lead within the team, with the remit of sourcing appropriate Continuing Professional Development and reflective practice for the team, and engaging with the Students' Union representatives and other academic and support staff to make sure our service is as inclusive as possible.
They have also ringfenced new positions within training placements specifically for counsellors from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic backgrounds, as well as new permanent roles within the team.
The counselling blog page for students includes articles written by counsellors within the team, some of which are specifically aimed at students from diverse backgrounds.
The Advice and Counselling Service, in tandem with the University Mentoring Organisation (UMO), are also delivering ‘Diversity Speaks’; this is a 10 week programme which is open to students who identify from a Black and Asian Minority Ethnic background. It provides students with the opportunity to meet in a group with a coach who also identifies from a Black and Asian Minority Ethnic background.
The programme aims are:
- To provide students with a significant boost in confidence and wellbeing to help them reach their course and personal goals.
- Gain insight into identified issues impacting them personally and their studies.
- Develop strategies to overcome specific obstacles that may be blocking their success.
- To feel inspired and encouraged to achieve their best.