Minister Drives Forward Minority Ethnic Employment

The Minister of State for Employment, Alok Sharma has brought together charities, Local Authorities and community groups to hear about their work to support minority groups into employment and to build on progress to date

While the Black, Asian and minority ethnic employment rate is at a record high, Mr Sharma has said it’s vital we keep up momentum and that he is personally dedicated to “pushing progress forward”.

The BAME employment rate has risen by 6.4 percentage points since 2010, which demonstrates the progress the Government has made in building an economy that gives opportunity to everyone, regardless of their background.

Three of the biggest minority groups – Black, African and Caribbean, Pakistani and Bangladeshi, and Indian – have seen significant rises in the rates of employment since 2010 with growths of 9.5ppts, 8.5ppts and 6.1ppts respectively.

Twenty key representatives from organisations leading work to boost BAME employment attended the roundtable with the Minister where they discussed their programmes, including how they work to tailor support for young people and women from a range of BME groups, including those from Kurdish, Middle Eastern and Somali backgrounds.

Speaking following the meeting the Minister for State Employment Alok Sharma said:

“We are all working towards the same goal – opening up work opportunities for those who are underrepresented in the labour market. And there is incredibly valuable work going on across the UK.

“It’s important we learn from some of the best examples and make the most of the talent out there, giving people from all backgrounds the chance to reach their potential.

“We’ve made good progress, with the BAME employment rate at an all-time high but I am absolutely determined to make faster progress in closing the current ethnic minority employment gap.”

The meeting follows the Department for Work and Pensions strategy to boost Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic employment in 20 challenge areas across the country, identified in light of the Prime Minister’s Race Disparity Audit.

As part of this, the department is focussing on supporting jobseekers to overcome employment barriers in each of the 20 challenge areas, with additional training for staff so they can help employers understand the benefits of a diverse workforce.

The Department is also working in partnership with Business in the Community to pilot mentoring across the challenge areas, the first launched in Peckham earlier this week (Monday 18 June).

The sessions offer jobseekers six hours of exclusive face-to-face interaction with an employer, focussing on practical help with application forms and CVs, practice interview skills and questions, and gives jobseekers authentic insight into the business.

The mentoring circle in Peckham brought jobseekers face to face with representatives from Google, the National Gird, Capgemini and SEO (Sponsors for Educational Opportunity) London.

Helen Goodman

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