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Two undergraduates worked on a six-week secondment to produce a You Tube campaign

Joseph Vambe and Wanipa Ndhlovu, two undergraduates at Cambridge, were part-funded by the University Diversity Fund in a six-week secondment over the long vacation at the University’s Office of External Affairs and Communications. Joseph and Wanipa worked within the Office’s news team, putting together a campaign to encourage Year 10 and 11 Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) students to apply to Cambridge. As well as learning about how the University handles media enquiries and prepares for media interviews, they received camera training and were mentored by an experienced communications specialist.

Joseph and Wanipa looked into the barriers that prevent BME young people from accessing higher eduation. They used a range of sources to provide an insight into what this group thinks about, what their interests are, and what might be preventing them from applying to Cambridge. Initially, Joseph and Wanipa were working on producing an Instagram advert aimed at Year 10 and 11 students, but after research and detailed consideration they decided that a better strategy would be a series of videos about life at Cambridge, to run on You Tube. They recorded a video of themselves visiting a variety of shops on Mill Road, and eating at a Nigerian restaurant, showcasing different cultures in the city. The video will be published in spring 2020, at a time when Year 10 and 11 students don’t have exams and are most likely to see it.

“I think the insight we collected on barriers to accessing higher education will be really helpful going forwards in terms of developing student recruitment content aimed at BME students,” Wanipa says. “I've also started to collaborate with the communications team on my own film series addressing myths about Cambridge among African Caribbean audiences, which we hope will have an impact over the years to come.”

Joseph says that he intends to continue his commitment to the project, and hopes that the series of videos will have a measurable impact on applications from BAME students. “My time at Cambridge has been totally different to the perceptions I had when I first thought of applying; many BME students are discouraged from applying when they think of Cambridge because they have this image in their heads which is not true and many BME students as a result, do not end up applying. We hope this series will combat this negative stereotype and show BME applicants that there is a place for them here at Cambridge; I know I certainly would have benefitted”.

 

Published

28 January 2020

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Wanipa as president of the University’s African-Caribbean Society (ACS)