In this blog, some of the co-founders and student committee members of the National Diverse Student Network (‘NDSN’) explain why a network focused on social mobility should be an important part of the student experience.
It was a pleasure to present to academics at the Connecting Legal Education forum in May when we explained our launch plans for an exciting new network focused on developing professionalism in students to prepare them for the world of work.
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What is the Network?
The National Diverse Students Network (NDSN) was founded by barrister Sailesh Mehta, solicitor Michael Herford and academics Dr. Rita D’Alton-Harrison and Nicola Antoniou. The NDSN is a student-led organisation that is focused on bringing ethnically diverse students together on a singular digital platform to help them to connect with professionals. Membership is free and is open to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. The digital platform is a website to help students to identify their true professional potential and succeed in a diverse world by providing unified access to e-mentoring through a wealth of e-resources, and an opportunity to collaborate with a virtual community of fellow student members and professionals.
Why is a National Network Needed?
The MacGregor-Smith Review ‘Race in the Workplace’ (2017) found that discrimination exists in the workplace and one of the change processes needed is transparency about how career paths operate. Laurison and Friedman (2019) argue that familiarity with correct professional ‘behaviourial codes’ gives an unfair advantage in terms of social mobility to those able to access power networks. NDSN is a national network, aimed at connecting student members across different universities, including academics and student unions with professionals. The NDSN is crucial because it is an organisation that is made by students, for students. Our current student committee is made up of students from various institutions, namely, Queen Mary, University of London, Sheffield Hallam, Royal Holloway, University of London, Cardiff University, and Leicester University. They are working collaboratively to develop this student-led network. This network will provide an opportunity for student members to share best practice, ideas, knowledge, and experience of graduate opportunities through participation in online student symposiums, roundtables and contributing to articles and blogs. Students can also nominate fellow teams of students for outstanding work and commitment to issues of equality, diversity, and social justice issues, where winners will be provided with annual NDSN awards and certificates.
Tell Me More
We are looking for students, over the summer, who would like to write blogs and articles to be published on the NDSN website. We just ask that these are checked over by academic members of staff. The themes are:
- diversity and inclusiveness
- careers / volunteering
- employability skills
- legal profession / news
- commercial awareness
- legal analysis
- business analysis
If you are interested in knowing more about the NDSN and what we plan on doing, then please do send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and become part of our network.
Authors: Gabriel Washington (Chair) and Stephanie Okai (Recruitment Officer), Student Committee members of NDSN writing with Dr Rita D’Alton-Harrison and Ms Nicola Antoniou (co-founders of NDSN).