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What is Be SMART?

Created in August 2019, Be SMART is a targeted initiative that creates access for our Black, Asian and Minority (BAME) undergraduates to mentoring, internships and professional development opportunities and resources.

Why is it important?

Data consistently show that BAME graduates experience greater inequalities in relation to securing graduate level roles and employment  - a recent HESA UK data shows BAME graduates were 8% more likely to be unemployed compared to white graduates.

Other data showed BAME graduates were less likely to have industry-specific work experience and confidence in their technical skills; and tended to make 70-90% more applications than white graduates and were significantly less paid.

Here at St Mary’s our data show we are no different to other universities in regard to the disproportionate challenges our BAME students face. And with 29% of our students identifying as BAME we feel strongly about taking transformative action.

And that’s why Be SMART aims to mitigate some of the structural, cultural and socio-economic factors that influence these inequalities, and provide access to life changing career enhancing opportunities and networks, so our BAME graduates can secure and thrive in rewarding careers. 

How you can support Be SMART

We ask employers, businesses and professionals to support us in the following ways as:

  • Volunteer (mentor) partners: from a variety of industries who would commit to mentoring students over a period of three months (ideally two sessions a month). Training and support will be provided to both prospective mentors and mentees to ensure the mentoring offer is a success. 
  • Internship partners: to provide a minimum of 30 hours inhouse or remote flexible internships (paid or voluntary)that give students specific industry experience and develop their professionalism and networks.
  • Sponsor partners: provide sponsorship in the form of financial contribution which will go towards:
    • funding voluntary internship opportunities (so students undertaking work are paid)
    • covering operational costs of running the programme i.e. training resources and paying external workshop facilitators.
  • Resource partners: supply resources useful to the operation and outcome of Be SMART. These include but are not limited to:
    • providing and facilitating skills workshops
    • venues for workshops and training   

Benefits of being a Be SMART partner

  • Actively supporting an initiative that feeds into your organisation’s CSR strategy and agenda in relation to diversity and inclusion, anti-racism and allyship.
  • Opportunity to engage with and identify diverse BAME talent beyond your existing recruitment practices.
  • Raise your organisation profile within higher education sector and recognised as a champion in tackling structural inequalities.
  • Supporting BAME students to access and acquire life and career enhancing opportunities, resources and skills.
  • Access to data and case study arising from research into outcomes and insights from running BAME focused intervention.

Get involved

The next Be SMART programme will run from January to April 2021. We have started recruiting partners who are looking to work with us.

Register your interest

Contact us

If you have any questions please contact one of the following members of the Employability Services team:

Obi Oputa
Careers Consultant

The Careers Service  

Partner organisations


Croydon Refugees & New Communities Forum logo
Descartes Solicitors logo
Gartner logo
Heritage logo
Incite logo
Sporting Chances logo
Tattoo Numbing Co logo
Triple7events logo


What our Be SMART students say...

The internship was great, it was even better than I expected. I got to do a lot of different tasks and Blair is just amazing! She trusted me and listened to the suggestions I had.Third year Business Management BA (Hons) student
The experience was extremely beneficial. I think I have finally found something that I really enjoy and feel passionate about. I liked everything about the programme.Second year Tourism Management BA (Hons) student

What our Be SMART partners say...

I would highly recommend the Be SMART program. It has been a great opportunity for the interns to gain practical skills and learn about working in a corporate environment. There is enough freedom and flexibility in the program for employers to gain a valuable resource that can add value to their team/department whilst simultaneously providing the interns with an invaluable opportunity. My interns were great to work with, enthusiastic about the opportunity and able to balance the workload very well. They delivered meaningful projects but were also able to network in our organization which gave them a varied insight into our company and a variety of roles.
Senior Director, Gartner
The Be SMART programme is a truly remarkable opportunity for both the student and company. I believe in the support that the BeSmart programme grants students.
Founder and Director, Dreaming Big Together.

Priscilla - First year Communications and Marketing Student

When applying for an internship through the Be Smart programme in January 2020, I decided that it would be best to go in with no expectations, but I never anticipated to do a remote internship, whilst on lockdown amidst a global pandemic. Read Priscilla's story...