To celebrate Black History Month we are amplifying the voices of our black students, alumni, volunteers, and colleagues who are working hard to make higher education more accessible.

Hear from our student Naima who was recently invited to speak at the event Black Women in Public Life by the Civil Service. Naima’s tutor facilitated the talk, which featured many inspirational black women, including Baroness Osamor and the first ever black Governor of Bermuda. 

“Don’t allow barriers to get in your way!”

Following the talk, Naima was excited to tell us about her experience and said she’s now thinking about a career in the Civil Service. “There were lots of different women involved in government and politics speaking at the event.They spoke about how you shouldn’t let any barriers affect you and how to deal with people not listening and taking you seriously. They also discussed that we can make changes in the Civil Service and government, but more work needs to be done.”

Naima said that the talk by Rena Lalgie, Governor of Bermuda, was very impactful. “Rena is the first black woman to take on the role of Governor of Bermuda – before her it was all white men. It affirmed to me that people that look like you can get into high positions and that you shouldn’t be afraid to apply for things just because the people before you didn’t look like you.” 

Naima continued: “Rena spoke about her role in the Civil Service and her journey. She highlighted how people questioned why she applied, but she said ‘why not?’ I like that message! It shows it’s all about you and how you think of yourself. You demand what you deserve and our hard work pays off. Don’t allow barriers to get in your way!”

“My tutor has been amazing for my career.”

Naima is tutored in Politics for her A levels. “My tutor has been amazing for my career. Because of my tutor and my Civil Service work experience through The Access Project, I learnt what the Civil Service is and got really interested in it as a career path. I also got to ask my tutor about diplomacy schemes and other career paths too. As well as my University Access Officer, my tutor also helped me with my personal statement, as another person to bounce ideas off.”

Naima wants to study International Relations at university, and is interested in a career in Diplomacy, or working for an international NGO or the Civil Service. “I like looking at how historical backgrounds of different countries have led to the government system that they’re in now. I’m especially interested in postcolonialism. I’m interested in the idea of security and what is a threat to a country’s security, as well as foreign policy and the new Cold War and how it will affect certain regions.”