Meet the former Oxford student who is paving the way for future black academics

  • Video report by ITV News Reporter Sangita Lal

During Black History Month, ITV News has been highlighting the inspiring efforts of Black Britons who are making a difference within society.


Naomi Kellman was so shocked by the lack of diversity at Oxford University when she started her studies that she decided she wanted to pave the way for future black academics.

She created a successful programme called Target Oxbridge which helps African and Caribbean students gain places at the two world-renowned institutions.

Speaking to ITV News, Ms Kellman said: "I really knew that I wanted the academic rigour and all the brilliant opportunities that it offers but I didn't know if I'd be ok maybe being the only person like me."

"Because I'd never met anyone from a black background and from a state school background who had been to Oxford," she added.

Ms Kellman said: "It's something that everyone knows is, something you've got to work hard for and something that not everyone gets to do.

"But when you can't see anyone like you who is doing it, it makes it hard to believe that you can achieve that goal.

"When I arrived you have colleges in Oxford, so you have that community, and I was the only person of black heritage in my year group, in my college who had the same background as me - and that was really difficult for the first week." 

When asked how hard it was for her to make other people understand what that felt like, she said: "It was a culture shock, everyone was really nice but no one really had the same references or jokes that I did, the food was quite different and I just didn't feel as if I fit in, in the same way." 

Speaking to ITV News about employment and what needs to happen next, Ms Kellman said: "There's talent everywhere and there are brilliant people everywhere and if organisations are not recruiting broadly they're missing out on talent and they're missing out on brilliance."