“Black and Great” - a handbook for young Black people entering the workplace - launches at event attended by 200 students of colour from 7 London schools


A new book focusing on the challenges Black people face entering the workplace was launched yesterday by Wimbledon BookFest at Ursuline High School in Wimbledon, London.

Black and Great: The Essential Workplace Toolkit – published today by Coronet Books - is written by influencer and author Rene Germain, who gave a presentation to 200 Black students and students of colour from seven London schools.

The launch of Black and Great is part of Wimbledon BookFest’s year-round programme of work with schools in its home borough of Merton, and across south London. The arts charity, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, works with 100 schools every year across a range of projects, including its annual Young Writers’ Competition.

Black and Great provides a guide for Black students ready to make their mark in the working world, giving honest and practical advice on carving their career, whilst embracing their Blackness. More than 20 Black British leaders in their fields have shared their career stories for the book, including singer Beverley Knight, DJ Trevor Nelson, film director Sir Steve McQueen, actor/rapper Ashley Walters and other less well-known figures in the worlds of business, science and academia.

In the book, Germain also reflects on her own career journey in financial services and digital technology. Using an intersectional approach, she offers a range of advice on a range of topics relevant to Black people entering the workplace: overcoming imposter syndrome, crafting a personal brand, salary negotiation, networking, navigating career pivots, and protecting your mental health.

Hosted by the Ursuline High Afro-Caribbean Society, the special launch event was attended by 200 Black students and students of colour from seven local schools and sixth forms including Year 10 –12 groups from Rutlish School, Ricard’s Lodge High School, Coombe Girls, St Mark’s Academy, Raynes Park High School and Wimbledon College, as well as Ursuline High students. Everyone who attended received a free signed copy of the book – sponsored by Wimbledon BookFest and Ursuline High School.

Black and Great author Rene Germain said: “It was a true honour to take part in Wimbledon Bookfest and be hosted by the Ursuline High Afro-Caribbean Society and engage with all the brilliant students. When I was writing Black and Great, I always wanted students to have access to it as typically career books are targeted at professionals and growing up I never had access to those types of books. They weren’t made for people like me and didn’t feature people that looked like me. I can’t wait for the students to read it, I hope they feel seen and inspired!”

Fiona Razvi, Wimbledon BookFest’s Director said: “Our event with Rene Germain was a perfect example of how festivals can be a vehicle to reach new readers and showcase diverse voices. Embedded in the community they are ideally placed to collaborate with partners. We were so honoured that Rene, who came to school locally, came back to launch her book with us and inspire a new generation, discussing important issues that are incredibly significant to the students.”

Julia Waters, Headteacher at Ursuline High School said: “Rene was inspirational. Every student deserves to hear her and read her book."

Find out more about Wimbledon BookFest's 2022 Schools Programme HERE


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