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Time for employers and government to end the equality of opportunity deficit for ethnic minorities in apprenticeships

All the main political parties are agreed that apprenticeships are one of the main routes for increasing the skills and qualification levels of the UK workforce.

Ethnic minority people make up about 15 per cent of the working age population in England but continue to be under-represented in apprenticeships representing only 10% of all the people who start an apprenticeship. This proportion has remained static since 2010/11 even though around 25% of applications made via the central Apprenticeship Vacancies system were from ethnic minority people.

The Black Training and Enterprise Group (BTEG), a national charity that works to increase the participation of ethnic minorities in apprenticeships, is urging employers and Government to redouble their efforts in tackling the equality of opportunity deficit prevalent in apprenticeships.

Today, BTEG publishes a conference report, Increasing Ethnic Minority Participation in Apprenticeships , containing recommendations for the Government to implement. These include:

The need for strong and clear Government leadership on equalities in apprenticeships, including through development of an Action Plan to improve equalities in this field.

A lead from the Government in improving careers advice for young people to include information about apprenticeship opportunities and support for young people to apply for them.

The Government must collect and publish better information about apprenticeship outcomes so that continuing debate about apprenticeships is informed by accurate information about progression and outcomes for apprentices.

There is a need for more targeted equalities work with employers in sectors where ethnic minority apprentices are under-represented, aimed at overcoming the barriers to recruitment which they currently experience.

More work with public bodies is needed to ensure better use of public procurement as a lever for ensuring equal opportunities in apprenticeships.    

Jeremy Crook OBE, Director of BTEG, says: ‘Employers and the Government must get to the bottom of this issue and find out why so many ethnic minority applicants are failing to secure apprenticeships via the Apprenticeship Vacancy on-line process. We fear that young ethnic minority people that have unsuccessfully applied for apprenticeships will decide instead to take the academic route and encourage other individuals from similar backgrounds to do the same. This problem will only be tackled if the National Apprenticeship Service, employers and training providers start examine their processes and ensure that there is not bias against ethnic minority applicants.’

End.

 

Notes

  1. The Black Training and Enterprise Group (BTEG) is a London based national charity working to achieve race equality and improve outcomes for ethnic minority people in education, employment and enterprise. For more information about BTEG visit www.bteg.co.uk.
  2. Jeremy Crook is the Chair of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Apprenticeship Advisory Group.
  3. For more information about this press release contact Jeremy Crook: Mob: 07766114877
  4. BTEG address: 200a Pentonville Road, London N1 9JP. Registered charity No: 1056043 BTEG is supported by Trust for London, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, Ministry of Justice, The Barrow Cadbury Trust, The Monument Trust, Department for Communities and Local Government and Big Lottery Fund.

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