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RNAS Culdrose celebrate black history month

29 October 2018
The Royal Navy and Royal Marines (RNRM) Commonwealth Network has held a conference at RNAS Culdrose as part of Black History Month, with the theme ‘Memories of yesterday, shaping a brighter future tomorrow’.

The event aimed to recognise the immense contributions made by persons of Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) background to the Royal Navy over the years, and to improve their career opportunities.

With the Royal Navy now providing a wide number of careers for personnel of BAME backgrounds, it is important to raise awareness of the opportunities available, allowing people to fully unlock their potential.

This goes for both the civilian population looking to join the Armed Forces, and for those already serving who may not be aware of the various support groups already in place.

As a junior sailor, I am immensely proud of this opportunity to celebrate the lives of black servicemen and women who contribute to the UK’s security and prosperity.

Able Rate Adaiah Providence-Culzac

The RNRM Commonwealth Network is an ever-expanding group. It works in partnership with the Royal Navy’s Diversity and Inclusion policy holders, higher management, communities, support providers and charities in order to achieve a working environment where all individuals can feel comfortable, valued and empowered to fulfil their career potential.

Included within the conference was a keynote talk by the current chairperson of the network, Chief Petty Officer Janine Potts.

She emphasised the need for individuals already in service to spread the word about career opportunities, and also for them to highlight the challenges currently being experienced in order to make improvements.

The RNRM Commonwealth Network has become a key facilitator in highlighting issues up to the highest levels of management within the Armed Forces, and is committed to easing the process of BAME personnel joining and working within the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.

One of the driving members of the conference was Able Rate Adaiah Providence-Culzac, originally from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and having joined the Royal Navy as a Logistician.

Whilst he may only be junior in rank, his determination and opinions have been vital in moving the network forward.

Speaking at the conference, he commented that “The UK has a long and proud history of black sailors serving in the Armed Forces.

“Our legacy of service includes courageous efforts at many of the most defining moments in naval history including the Battle of Trafalgar.

“As a junior sailor, I am immensely proud of this opportunity to celebrate the lives of black servicemen and women who contribute to the UK’s security and prosperity.”

Another presentation was given by Sub Lieutenant Shabaka Kenyatta, the Royal Navy’s first Rastafarian Officer who joined initially as an Engineering Technician, challenged the system to progress, and has started the demanding training required to become a Marine Engineer Officer on Submarines. 

The audience was also treated to a talk from the longest serving woman in the Royal Naval Reserves, Chief Petty Officer Evadne Gordon, born in the UK to Jamaican parents, who has served for over 40 years and reflected on diversity improvements.

The event firmly emphasised that personnel with BAME backgrounds all bring a variety of welcome skills and experience to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.

With a continuing commitment to be a diverse and inclusive employer and to improve career opportunities for all, the future is looking increasingly bright.

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