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Black History Month

An interview with: Patrick Clarke, Director of Network Operations and D&I taskforce member

From Press releases - 24 October 2019 12:00 AM

Clarke, Patrick.jpg

For Black History Month we’re featuring an exclusive interview with Patrick Clarke. Patrick shares his opinions on the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, his career journey and his personal experiences of fostering diversity by helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds develop their careers.

How does a diverse and inclusive workforce benefit UK Power Networks?
It is an enabler to delivering high performance. By encouraging diversity in our workplace, we are able to utilise a broader range of skills sets and introduce new ways of thinking. By being inclusive, we give people the chance to bring 100% of themselves to work, supporting our vision to be an employer of choice.

What’s been your career journey so far?
I was born in Jamaica and moved to the UK at 9 years old. The first ten years in a new country were difficult and I felt that my school let me down, but there was one teacher who helped me to believe in myself and work harder. After finishing my GCSEs, I applied for an apprenticeship, which I successfully completed, and 42 years down the line, I am now the Director of Network Operations for UK Power Networks.

How has mentoring helped you in your career and what’s your motivation behind mentoring young people?
I will never forget the positive impact mentoring had on me, so in turn I try to encourage young people to reach their full potential. I am a trustee at Urban Synergy, a charity supporting teens and I mentor there on a regular basis. I also mentor young people working at UK Power Networks. To all of these young people with their careers ahead of them, I say: ‘The sky is not the limit, beyond the sky is space which goes on forever.’ An example that stays with me is the story of a young boy who went to the same school as me, who is now working at law firm Lilian Baylis, London. He too had a difficult start, but he never gave up, he kept believing and I’m pleased to say is now a successful barrister. What has helped me to reach these young people is telling my story. I tell them about my beginnings and how I climbed the ladder. I want them to believe that it is possible for them to grab that ladder and climb. For me, it’s about creating trailblazers, supporting and developing ambitious and keen young people. Perhaps they weren’t that lucky early in life or they didn’t have access to the all the advantages society can offer, so seeing them being able to introduce new skills and ways of thinking to the workplace is extremely rewarding!

How can this community benefit our employees?
It is important that our workforce reflects the diversity in the communities we serve. We can only truly support our customers when employees understand what inclusion is all about and the EMPower Community has a big role to play in this. They can open our eyes about the many issues that can affect inclusion and diversity and help UK Power Networks to implement measures to benefit our employees and our customers.