Alisha Airey

My commitment to social justice, equality and supporting others started before my professional careers as I began as a peer mentor aged just 15, supporting young BME males a risk of exclusion.

This was my first experience of this type of work and sparked my interest in how I could support young people in innovative way to overcome challenges but also consider how education and curriculum can be adapted to be more engaging and accessible to young people with diverse needs and backgrounds. After becoming a young single mother my self at the age of 18 I experience a number of challenges personally and decided to volunteer to support those with unmet mental health needs with a local charity; using my own experiences of adversity to support other’s recovery. I then went on to work as a supervisor to student mentors at UWE. Within my current role as BAME officer for University of West of England I have had the opportunity to support and advocate for BAME students throughout their university experience whilst also challenging discrimination and inequality. I have used my role to build positive working relationships with community groups and professionals to widen the impact of my work and ensure students have a wide network of support. By delivering training and workshops to academics, staff and students I have been able to highlight the importance of cultural competence, accessible curriculums and unconscious bias, all key components in tackling structural inequality and addressing the attainment gap within between BAME students and their white counterparts in our university.