Black role models in Birmingham's professional services have been urged to speak out and encourage more young people into the industry.
The organisers of the sixth annual Careers in the Professional Services World, which takes place today, are calling on professionals from across the service sectors to deliver workshops and provide careers advice for Year 10 pupils from an African-Caribbean background.
Birmingham entrepreneur Karl George, the managing director of Anderson KBS consultancy, will be speaking at the event.
He said the day gave professionals a unique opportunity to help young black students realise their potential.
"This type of event brings together African Caribbean children at a crucial stage in their learning and development - at an age where they are impressionable and need guidance in areas they may not have considered."
Organised by Birmingham & Solihull Connexions Services, Aim Higher and Birmingham Partnership for Change, the day-long event hopes to address underrepresentation of young black people in certain fields and encourage them to explore professions they may not have considered.
The day will involve 40-minute classroom- based workshops and the chance to talk to professionals about their work.
Veron Graham, a freelance journalist and PR representative, said he was used to shocked faces when he talked about his job.
"When I tell black kids about my work, they think I'm either from London or the US," the 33-year-old said. "They can't believe that a person from their neighbourhood could do my job."
Mr Graham, who grew up in Handsworth, decided at the age of eight that he wanted to be a journalist.
"I had to read a match report in front of the whole school at assembly. I received a standing ovation and, form that point on, I've wanted to get into journalism."
Faced with little support, Mr Graham landed his first job through persistence.
He managed to get a job on a small Birmingham-based healthcare magazine and went on to work for numerous organisations including BBC Midlands Today.
He now recognises how important it is to share his experiences with young people.
"Some time ago I met a nine-year-old boy who wanted to get into the media. He's now 17 and is studying to become a journalist. It's great to feel that I had a small part to play in that."
Having achieved his own dreams, Mr Graham now wants to encourage other aspiring young black people to achieve theirs.
"Nowadays there are so many more opportunities - I want to help young black people to access them."
The event, which is free to schools, is at The Centennial Centre, Edgbaston.
For more information contact Caz Jones, on 0121 248 8070, Sue Cromwell, Connexions on 0121 248 8253, or Heloise Shervington, from Birmingham Partnership for Change on 0121 200 3983.