Jorden Berkeley, the 22-year-old woman who was advised to include her middle name Elizabeth on job applications to appear less ethnic, has used her own initiative to not only help herself but also those who may find themselves in the same situation.
Along with her two friends BeAnna Davis and Claudine Adeyemi, they set up the Facebook group, Young Black Gradautes UK as a platform for graduates who struggled to find employment to discuss and shares their experiences. And from this came the Young Black Graduates Networking events.
Young Black Graduates – New Year, Now Network was an event held at Claudine’s employment, Mischon de Reya law firm in Holborn, aiming to get young black business-minded people thinking about networking and expanding their contacts in the hopes of increasing their chances of employment.
In their first event of 2013 and fifth event overall, the girls got together a number of entrepreneurial guest speakers to encourage and motivate as well as provide helpful networking tips.
Deputy chairman of Mischon de Reya kicked off the night, talking about his experiences as a young Jewish man trying to find work after graduation, and reasons why he wanted to help with the organisation and holding of the YBG networking event in his place of employment.
Other speakers included lawyer and poet David Neita, who gave tips on how to network, recited poetry and also revealed that he’d be running for mayor of London in 2016. This was followed by entrepreneur Junior Ogunyemi, author of the book How To Be A Student Entrepreneur, giving more networking tips and sharing how he became his own boss.
That was then followed by David Sullivan and Stephan Eyeson, from Bright Ideas Trust, who also shared some inspirational stories and advice on getting into business.
Talking to Jorden, Claudine and BeAnna they told me how they started the YBG UK Facebook page only a year ago and were surprised at the response and number of young black people who were struggling to find employment. This is when they decided to host events to get business-minded people to come together and interact, network and hopefully work together. Stating that every event has been a success, the girls noted that many people have found work through the YBG networking events; with many people gaining jobs and even Tribal Gem fashion designers finding a photographer for themselves.
The night was a success with numbers being swapped and advice being given – the YBG networking event proved to be good not only for those directly interested in business but expanding contacts for any area of work; it was a further step forward in helping young black graduates to find work in a difficult environment.