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Hello, our names are Jasneet Kaur Taak and Simran Sangla and we are two Sikh female Imperial College London students who have created an educational platform, Accelerate, for BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) students.

Originally from India, our parents and grandparents made the brave journey to start a new life with better prospects in the UK. Staying true to their routes and upbringing, they instilled the values of Naam Japna, Kirat Karni, Seva and Vand Kay Shako into us from a young age. Despite being raised away from our motherland, understanding and implementing these values always connected us back to Sikhi and gave us a sense of grounding. Being appreciative of the humble ethos of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s teachings, which encompasses selflessly serving others, is one of the reasons we started Accelerate. Whilst growing up, there always have been role models in both our families for us to look up to. However, after seeing the lack of BAME diversity within the work force and STEM- (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) based education system, we realised more needs to be done to push BAME candidates to get those top positioned jobs and university offers.

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Accelerate is a free student-led STEM initiative focusing on educating BAME students. The scheme encompasses useful tips and advice, updating students on career opportunities and mentoring the leaders of tomorrow. It targets A-Level students applying for university, as well as university students and graduates, looking to improve employability and land an internship or full-time job.

Accelerate’s main offerings are a 1-1 mentorship scheme and a resource bank comprising materials including cover letters and CVs from their mentors. The team of mentors are either university students or recent graduates from top UK universities, including UCL, King’s, Cambridge and Imperial. From studying degrees including Medicine, Physics, Economics and Engineering, the graduates have secured experiences in companies such as Accenture, BP, Deloitte, Goldman Sachs and Northrop Grumman.

Accelerate has partnered with the likes of the Cambridge Consulting Network and has been endorsed by university departments including UCL Chemical Engineering department and the Physics department at Imperial. The scheme has also been featured in articles and podcasts as we continue to widen our reach in the hopes to encourage as many students to pursue STEM related paths.

In terms of future progression, we are looking to expand our reach into other fields to carry out Seva for as many people as possible. We are also in the midst of collaborating with other companies and expanding our presence in underrepresented academic institutions. We hope this initiative presents a good opportunity for the Sikh community to receive career guidance in order to break through those glass ceilings and to excel. 

For those who feel they do not have the capability or the resources to pursue their dreams, whether it be within STEM or not, we say to always try your hardest and never give up. As shown a numerous amount of times in Sikh history, you will always prevail when your intentions are pure, and you are determined! 

We would like to thank our family and friends for supporting and believing in us. It is through their constant cheering on and motivation that we were able to create Accelerate to help others.

Please follow our social media below and stay tuned for future releases!

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/acceletatementoring 
Instagram: https://instagram.com/acceleratementoring
Email: [email protected] 
Website: https://www.acceleratementoring.org

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