Black Inclusion Week - Kevin Davis
Black Inclusion Week is a celebration of Black people in the UK and an opportunity to remember the importance of building a fair and just society through the inclusion of everyone.
As part of the week, we are featuring a number of contributions from local people, who share about their proudest achievement, how they have promoted inclusion, the impact of their work, the advice they would give to others and their commitment to 'being the change'.
In this article, we feature Kevin Davis, B.A. (Hons), M.B.A.
I am an award-winning Social Entrepreneur, social mobility champion, CEO, and experienced NED, in the education, employment, empowerment sectors and I trust some would describe me as a tenacious citizen-leader, with an intrinsic talent for conceptualising and communicating common vision, across the private, public and third sectors.
Born, educated, working, and living in Walsall, This historic town, is the base of my local, national, and international work.
What is your proudest achievement?
Beyond my family, who have been my support in my life journey, serving for the past 24 years as the Chief Executive of the Vine Trust Group, and through it building the Goldmine Centre, and emerging St Matthews’ Education Quarter, which house the second school I created, Walsall Studio School, followed then by the Ladder AP School. The latter being named after the regional apprenticeship newspaper campaigns which I chair, creating thousands of jobs and significant public, private and civil society partnerships. I’m particularly proud of co-creating the Mercian (Multi-Academy) Trust, which now encompasses, not just those schools, but four others, with three more on the way, providing the opportunity to further my longstanding social mobility vision.
What are some of the ways you have promoted inclusion in your community?
Bringing it up to date, beyond my education, employment, empowerment and ecclesiastical spaces, I have, since being appointed the dedicated Black Country LEP lead for social mobility and inclusive growth, I have worked with public and private sector colleagues to commence a multiplicity of activity that will enable ‘all’ Black Country citizens to effectively work, live, play, learn and worship. This 2030 “Economy of Together” strategy, seeks to maximise equality of opportunity and inclusion. Achieving these ambitions locally is more important than ever, given the impact particularly of the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionality on particular communities.
How would you describe the impact your work has had in your community?
My first school, which I created some years ago, as an independent alternative provision school, created because I saw that many young people, from particular communities, were not getting the best out of mainstream schools, partnering with those schools, to creating a ‘Second Chance’ for those students. Thoroughly challenging, but also thoroughly rewarding for me, my then staff, and the young people, who made material personal and professional progress. This was the foundation for my new schools, and what became the 'economy of together'.
What is your advice for those who want to empower and connect with their communities?
Tenacity, and a little bit of serendipity, some would say faith have been my energisers. That and a recognition, that beyond times of necessary outspoken challenge, we need to create narratives, that can bring people on the journey for ‘justice’.
What is your commitment to ‘being the change’?
My experience is that the messenger, can also be as important as the message, so I, therefore, have spent considerable energy over 24 years fostering partnerships with media, business, and education groups. This emphasis has gained focused comment, support and presence in the classroom, the ‘High Street’, ‘Fleet Street’, Downing Street, Westminster and Buckingham Palace, and I will continue to do so, so that, by the end of the decade, we can truly see an ‘economy of together’.