About The AFBE

AFBE-UK provides support and promotes higher achievements in Education and Engineering particularly among students and professionals from ethnic minority backgrounds.

The proportion of United Kingdom (UK) citizens from ethnic minority communities is projected to reach between 20 and 30 percent by 2050.

The UK has a long standing history of engineering achievement. However the UK engineering sector is currently experiencing a shortage of skilled professionals. Only 9% of UK engineers from Black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds although an average of 29.9% of engineering university graduates are from BME backgrounds.

AFBE-UK works to increase the number of ethnic minority people who pursue a career and have successful careers within the engineering industry.

We promote diversity in engineering and technology through our programmes and activities which are led by exceptional professionals and leaders in the Engineering industry and are designed to bring about meaningful change, sustainable growth and development and a lasting positive impact to the UK.

We also welcome professionals that have engineering backgrounds but work in other sectors such as information technology, banking, finance, etc.

Who we are

AFBE-UK aims to challenge and inspire people of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) origin to make enhanced contributions in their respective fields, and to add value to their communities using engineering as a platform.

We are a registered not-for profit organisation that encourages people of black and minority ethnicity to study engineering, support those who aspire to be successful engineers, promote engineering in the schools and promote diversity in the work force. We also advise organisations on how to promote diversity in industry and create healthy, inclusive and sustainable environments where minorities can do their best work and thrive. Our objective is to increase the engineering talent available in the UK and to drive the economic growth.

AFBE-UK is not exclusive to people from a particular ethnic origin, however it focuses on people that have and share the experience and interest in inspiring people of BME origin in our communities.

AFBE-UK has two active chapters in London and Aberdeen that work to achieve a common goal.

Our Leadership

Each AFBE-UK chapter is run by an executive board led by a chairperson and board members who take up relevant roles required within the chapter. The executive board is chaired by the chairperson.

The executive board is made up of engineering professionals of varying engineering disciplines and levels of experience within the industry. The executive board who are all volunteers are responsible for running the day-to-day affairs.

The executive board reports to an advisory board. The advisory board members are high profile professionals and industry leaders appointed to the advisory board by the executive board. The advisory board support the Association's strategic objectives.

Every year there are vacant positions within the executive board. Members who have an interest in joining the board can express an interest in becoming a board member by emailing us at [email protected]

Find out more about our advisory and executive board members.

How we work

The executive board meets every quarter to plan and discuss policies and innovative ideas for our programmes. These meetings focus primarily on our engagement programmes which cover education, mentorship, networking and our consultancy services. The advisory board meets with selected members of the executive board and membership twice a year.

What we do

We focus on building up a network of UK-based engineers who promote interest in the engineering profession especially among young people of underrepresented community groups by holding programmes/seminars/networking events that are of interest to such engineers. We promote engineering to young people through school and university outreach activities.

We also advice companies on their diversity and inclusion strategies and on how to meet their sustainability targets. Check out our programmes and events for more details.

AFBE-UK was established in 2007 as a community initiative following the UK Business and Enterprise Committee and the Royal Academy of Engineering published reports about shortage of engineering skills in the workforce and in particular the under-representation of people of ethnic and minority.

AFBE-UK was founded by Dr Ollie Folayan and Dr Nike Folayan who are both engineers. In 2011, AFBE-UK Scotland was established by Dr Ollie Folayan.

Historically known as the Association for Black Engineers, AFBE-UK was founded at a time when there were community and social concerns around the need for visible role models for young people of ethnic minority origin. Since 2011 AFBE-UK has adopted and been known as the Association for BME Engineers UK and represents all UK ethnic minority engineers.

Since AFBE-UK began we have held programmes/seminars/networking events that are of interest to BME engineers.

AFBE-UK has received a warm welcome from key players within the engineering industry, government bodies, various overseas high commission offices and the wider community.

AFBE-UK's mission is to showcase the technical talent available within the BME community and support the growth of the wider community by:

  • Promoting public awareness of engineering and the opportunities for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups in engineering.
  • Influencing governmental policies in relation to BME Engineers and ethnic minority community groups in the UK.
  • Providing a forum for BME engineers to meet informally and discuss issues and challenges they face at work through networking events.
  • Inspiring members to make enhanced contributions to their respective fields, and to our communities.
  • Encouraging participation by individuals with engineering backgrounds working in other sectors.
  • Encouraging young BME people to study engineering through internships, work placements and awards.
  • Participating in addressing the imbalance in the percentage of ethnic minority engineering students graduating from UK universities and those working in the engineering industry.
  • Developing a technically perceptive, entrepreneurial and socially responsible membership that creates technology solutions to critical business and social concerns.
  • Offering leadership training, professional development, mentoring opportunities, career placement services through our programmes.
  • Promoting the education and practice of engineering by BME females.
  • Encouraging young BME people and their parents to develop a sense of belonging in STEM.
Our Vision is to function as a representative body on issues and developments that affect the careers of BME Engineers and BME communities in the UK and abroad.

Download a PDF version of our Charter:

The AFBE-UK Charter