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A recent Society event showcasing the careers available as a geographer attracted over 1,500 students from 60 schools across the UK.

As part of the Society’s Geography for all project, the event contributed to our work to support a diverse discipline by educating young people who are under-represented in geography about the wealth of careers in the subject.

The online event, attended by students in Key Stages 3, 4 and 5, connected students with professional geographers from Black and Asian backgrounds working across various industries to help answer the question: what do geographers actually do? Students had the opportunity to hear from each of the speakers about their roles and the pathways that have led them to their current positions, and to then submit their questions to be answered live.

Rachel Truman, Lead Professional in Geography at Lordswood Boys School in Birmingham, said of the event:

“The experience offered by the Royal Geographical Society through this event has thoroughly convinced my students of the potential for geography to take them into fascinating, worthwhile careers in the future. The direct representation of members of their own communities finding success in the field has broken cultural barriers, spread inspiration, and created space for our families to have conversations regarding the value of a geographical education that continues post-16. I would highly recommend this event to any other school with a vibrant BAME cohort such as ours."

The Society’s Geography for all project aims to increase the diversity of students studying geography at A Level through to university.

Geography attracts a disproportionately low number of young people from disadvantaged and ethnic minority backgrounds to study the subject, with a Society-commissioned report finding “fairly sizeable disparities in A Level geography entry rates when considered by ethnicity”. A possible contributory factor in this disparity was highlighted by another Society-commissioned study, which found that up to 86% of young people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds chose their A Levels based on their ideas about future careers. Reflecting these findings, the Geography for all project has been working to address inequalities in knowledge and awareness among young people about careers in geography to help ensure a diverse and vibrant discipline. 

A recording of the event is now available to watch on our website. We have also produced three worksheets which students can use to help them reflect on the information presented in the video.

Find out more about the project