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  • Writer's pictureDigital Twin Skills Academy CIC

Emotional win for DTSA Founder at inaugural MoU Awards!

Updated: Apr 1

"Young People need us now more than ever; the work never stops!"

_ Dr Bola Abisogun OBE

Founded in 2012/2013, not too long after the London riots in 2011; I was humbled to have been approached by the leadership team and invited to consider the role of Chairman for what has become the most successful and longest running, pan-London initiative for young people. Funded by two significant institutions, active in the area of eradicating 'poverty & inequality', the City Bridge Foundation and Trust for London have been true industry allies in the desire to support the work of the MoU Advisory Group, and address many of our social ills.

The specific and totally disproportionate plight of Young Black Men 'YBM' was brought to light in a well researched and documented 'business case' to support this group of young people. As an Advisory Group, armed with such compelling evidence, we set about in March 2014, to create a 'roadmap and documented interventions' to improve the life-chances of YBM in the skills and employment challenge. We focussed on three (3) key sectors, Construction, Finance and Technology. The entire effort was led by Action for Race Equality [previously BTEG] with unfailing leadership by Jeremy Crook OBE, Chief Executive, supported by an amazing and continuously growing team.

The following is a series of digital artefacts that captured last week's milestone event, which was and remains a bold and fitting attempt to create a documented legacy of our collective efforts over the last decade.

Capturing the energy in the room at the last 'hybrid' meeting of the Moving On Up Advisory Group, held at the offices of Trust for London, in the heart of the City.

Huge thank you to such an amazing team of partners, with huge 'pan-London' representation from the Department for Works & Pensions [DWP].

Humbled to receive a heartfelt gesture from one of the funders; a truly iconic event with much of the 'original leadership team' having retired from Service to Londoners. My final thoughts and reflections were captured in a blog piece by Action for Race Equality last year March; and can be seen here.

And the event is about to kick off .....

So glad to see these two 'young men', Bharat Mehta CBE, previous Chief Executive, Trust for London and 'Sir' Jeff Hayes OBE, previous Chairman, Trust for London. Both of these two amazing individuals may not have been publicly acknowledged on the night, but I'm taking this opportunity to 'very publicly announce' that my role would not have been possible without their support, guidance and wider mentorship over the years. Thank You Gentlemen!!

As the evening moved into a seamless series of perspectives ......... led by the Jeremy Crook OBE

....... and personal experiences from member Employer Champions Group, Mark and Carlos from the City of London based 'insurance giant' _ wtw

............ with more perspective on the 'why' and the need to continue to fund such work from Sam, on behalf of the City Bridge Foundation

The evening was a of celebration of Young Black Men 'YBM' and in part presented by YBM themselves. The award for 'Real Role Model' went to an Haringey based change-agent, and Direct for Rise Projects, Mr Awale Elmi

Credit: Awale Elmi

Awale was truly stunned and rightly deserved to win the category amidst so many highly commended ................

And the evening flew, with it all being over in a matter of two (2) amazing hours .......

No event of this genre would be complete with out the presence of a true, public facing, sector wide, industry disruptor and general 'all round' good guy in the shape of Tony Hyland MBE, National Manager, DWP [and fan of the UK Construction industry] ........

A packed event meant that we all had a good time and both 'fond memories' and new contacts were made with the YBM and others present to experience this milestone ......

Credit: Dr Bola Abisogun OBE 

Can't believe I was given an award for 'a decade of 'pro-bono' Service' ............. a truly touching point of recognition by the the amazing team of deliver partners and 'mission critical' funding organisations.

...... and, when you believe passionately about a cause that resonates with your own lived experience, payment in kind far outweighs any 'immediate' cash incentive ...........

Then there was the small issue of how we would recognise those 'quiet but hugely influential' allies including the Rt Hon Sir Stephen Timms MP

As I said, we had an amazing Employer Champions Group - which was chaired by Arthur Ntale, Investment Partner, Veritas [another 'visible' YBM and Rising Star in the Investment space].

Well done to Thames Water for being a HR hero to YBM!!

It was good to celebrate on stage with wtw leadership [Carlos and Mark], champion trailblazer and new ARE Deputy CEO, Indra Nauth, alongside Jeremy Crook OBE,

Credit: Dr Bola Abisogun OBE 

During my tenure as Chair, I drew support and much industry insight from another 'young lady' who regrettably could not attend the event on the day. The honourable and indomitable spirit, known as Sioned Churchill was and remains a worthy recipient of the unannounced category for 'Special Recognition'. Her pre-recorded acceptance speech was moving and true to form she asked for "more to be done". Thank your for your selfless service my friend.

The last 12years at the helm of the Moving On Up Advisory Group, have been enlightening, impactful and overarchingly insightful. Embodied as a true 'team effort' it is one that I am humbled to have participated within and can publicly affirm that it has helped to shape my next chapter of Service to industry, pulling on the 'legacy' Employer Champion Group in the first instance.

The Digital Twin skills Academy CIC is an attempt to conflate the three (3) sectors, namely Construction, Finance and Technology, that the Moving On Up Initiative tried to target. In fact, like MoU, the Digital Twin solution is an evidence based 'strategic' business tool that will help businesses become more agile, transparent, inherently efficient and purposefully inclusive, not to mention more profitable.

Credit: Dr Bola Abisogun OBE

So, onwards and upwards _ thank you to all at Action for Race Equality, the work continues!

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