Moving on Up (MoU) is an employment initiative helping young black men to find jobs and careers in London’s competitive labour market, in particular focusing on the better paid Construction, Finance and Digital sectors. The MoU ambition is to increase the employment rate for economically active young black men in London from 64% in 2014 to 84% by 2020. Within the MoU programme, ‘young’ means age 16 to 24 and ‘black’ includes people from black British, black African, black Caribbean, other black and mixed black ethnic groups.
MoU is a challenging programme because it targets one ethnic group that has poorer employment outcomes irrespective of the level of qualifications. The MoU funders - Trust for London and City Bridge Trust - are committed to MoU’s testing and learning approach to find out what interventions help to overcome ethnic disparities in employment. The funders are providing £500k in 2019/20 to support local projects that will work directly with young black men and employers. The MoU programme is also working in close partnership with the Greater London Authority Workforce Integration Network, which shares the ambition of improving employment outcomes for target populations and is also currently focused on young black men.
Following an initial phase focused on employability support for young black men, MoU has shifted the emphasis onto employers and local co-ordination. In 2018, MoU made significant progress in engaging employers and local stakeholders in working towards the MoU ambition.
The concerns of young black men themselves continue to be central to shaping and driving the MoU programme. In 2018, BTEG launched its report on the experiences of young black men working in, or wanting to work in London’s financial sector. Based on a survey and interviews with young black men, employers and careers organisations, the report, Young Black Men in London’s Financial Sector: Aspirations and Experiences, highlights the key factors affecting young black male experiences in the financial sector, including racial discrimination, lack of social capital and difficulties gaining sector-specific knowledge.
To progress MoU’s employer engagement work, Employer Champions groups in the Construction and Finance sectors have been established with leading organisations involved such as Morgan Sindall and JP Morgan. The Construction Employer Champions group is chaired by Bola Abisogun FRICS, Chief Executive of Urbanis and the Finance Employer Champions group is chaired by Arthur Ntale, Assistant Investment Manager at Veritas Investment. These groups meet quarterly to discuss inclusive recruitment, progression and how they can attract more young black men to their workforces. An Employer Champions group for the Digital sector is still to be set up and we would welcome interest from any tech companies interested in collaborating with MoU on this.
On the local co-ordination front MoU has been working with Brent and Newham Councils and a range of local partner organisations that play a role in supporting young people into quality employment, including the Jobcentres, employers and employment brokerage providers. Brent and Newham Councils are leading a new collective impact approach in these boroughs, to work out what prevents talented young black men from entering quality jobs or apprenticeships and pin pointing what actions can be taken by local partners to connect employers to these young men. The views of young black men in these boroughs on the possible interventions matters greatly and the local partners will have these conversations over the coming weeks.
If you are an employer or an organisation helping young black men into work based in Brent or Newham and would like to be involved, please contact Paul Hadfield for Brent Council Paul.Hadfield@brent.gov.uk or Derek Barrett for Newham Council firstname.lastname@example.org.
For all other inquires relating to the Moving on Up project, please contact Jeremy Crook OBE, Chief Executive of BTEG, at email@example.com.