These initiatives build upon findings from The Hamilton Commission report, which was published in July last year see report here and found that behaviour management practises within UK schools were disproportionately targeting Black students and having an impact on their educational journey.
Founder of Mission 44, Sir Lewis Hamilton, said: “Understanding and addressing issues that lead to young people being excluded from school is really important to me. Having experienced unfair exclusions during my time at school, I understand how upsetting and stressful it can be. When we launched Mission 44 last year, implementing initiatives such as these was a personal priority and I am grateful to have the support of Sky to help Mission 44 take action. Through this partnership, I hope we can deliver meaningful change by arming schools with the proper strategies to support and empower young Black students, instead of giving up on them.”
Announcing the partnership, Sky’s Group CEO, Dana Strong, said: “We are passionate about tackling racial injustice and welcome the opportunity to partner with Sir Lewis Hamilton and Mission 44 to champion and empower young people. We hope our partnership will support Mission 44’s work to improve the experience of Black pupils and support them to succeed at school and beyond.”
Mission 44 CEO, Jason Arthur said: “Preventing school exclusions is an issue of social justice. Excluded students often must contend with a range of complex social and economic challenges, such as poverty, racism and mental ill-health, that cause them to face both disadvantage and discrimination in our education system. I’m delighted that Mission 44 will be working with Sky to transform the lives of some of the most vulnerable learners in our education system.”
Sky’s £30 million commitment to make a difference in communities impacted by racism; and use the power of its voice and platform to highlight racial injustice has already created a fund specifically to support Black business founders in the UK. Sky has also funded a three-year partnership with Kick It Out to drive inclusion in football and make it easier for football fans to report discrimination.
Sky also has a broad range of programmes in place to support young people. Through long-established programmes including Sky Academy Studios, The Edit and Sky Scholars, Sky has offered thousands of young the opportunity to learn, create, and excel in what they are passionate about. More recently, in 2021, Sky also launched the ‘Content Academy’, providing paid placements to trainees from groups that are underrepresented in the media industry. In its first year, Content Academy offered 36 placements across Sky Sports, Sky News, Sky Studios and UK Content by working with partners such as Mama Youth and Creative Access.
In January 2021, Sky set ambitious targets to increase ethnic diversity and representation across its UK workforce. By 2025, Sky is aiming for 20% of its employees in the UK & Ireland to be from Black, Asian, or ethnically diverse backgrounds, with at least a quarter of these being Black. This target also applies to Sky’s leadership team.