Since the need to address global racial inequality was further highlighted by the murder of George Floyd in May 2020 – an act that triggered mass public protests around the world and led to sporting events adding regular platforms to allow participants to make their own anti-racism statements – Mercedes has created a diversity and inclusion programme called ‘Accelerate 25’.
Mercedes intends the programme to mean at least 25% of all its new employees come from “under-represented groups in each year up to and including 2025”, per a team statement.
The squad is also establishing formal work experience programmes and events for black and minority ethnic communities, while conducting an audit of any potential barriers to recruitment from these groups.
AFBE-UK was established in 2007 and is aimed at increasing the number of black and minority ethnic people working in engineering by promoting the subject in schools, as well as offering ongoing support for aspiring engineers.
The organisation hopes to “drive meaningful change, sustainable growth and development and have a lasting positive impact on the UK’s engineering capabilities,” per a Mercedes statement, and it has a recruitment portal that Mercedes will use as part of its Accelerate 25 initiative.
“We are delighted to have joined the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers UK,” said Paul Mills, Mercedes’ chief people officer.
“As part of our Accelerate 25 programme and commitment to improving diversity within our team and our sport, we have begun to identify organisations who can provide valuable knowledge and support as we raise our efforts on this journey.
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1st position, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 3rd position, and the Mercedes team celebrate after the race
Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images
“AFBE-UK’s wealth of experience in working with organisations and engineering professionals to encourage and support engineers from black and minority ethnic backgrounds into engineering is a perfect fit as we look to widen our appeal and increase the diversity of the talent within our team.
“We very much look forward to working with AFBE-UK and learning from their valuable expertise as we make progress toward our ambition of improving the diversity of our team.
“We are also delighted to be working with Dr Nike Folayan [AFBE-UK co-founder] in her role as both chair of the AFBE-UK and as a member of the board of commissioners for the Hamilton Commission, the research project set up by our driver Lewis Hamilton to identify the key barriers to recruitment and progression of black people in UK motorsport, and provide actionable recommendations to overcome them.”
Mara Makoni, AFBE-UK’s corporate partnerships lead, said: “We are very excited to welcome Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix as a member of the AFBE-UK family.
“Through this partnership we are committed to supporting the team in the implementation of their Accelerate 25 strategy to deliver the outcomes of improving diversity and ensuring the most talented engineers from all backgrounds can access careers within motorsport engineering.
“We are pleased to see that MGP is committed to creating teams that are more reflective of the world we live in; teams that are more diverse and foster inclusion and belonging for people from often marginalised communities.
“To see such an elite brand dedicate real time and resources to this goal is a massive leap forward for engineering.
“Young boys and girls from all origins can now dare to dream about being part of building the brand and sport they have grown up admiring.”