Mentoring scheme to tackle racial disparity launched

26th Jul 2018
Mentoring scheme to tackle racial disparity launched

Minister for the Cabinet Office, David Lidington has launched the Rochdale Mentoring Scheme on July 3. (Photo: FCO/Creative Commons)

Hamed Chapman

A Mentoring Scheme has been launched in Britain to tackle race disparity suffered by ethnic minorities in employment.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, David Lidington, said that as Prime Minister, Theresa May, had made clear the Government wanted to challenge businesses to “explain or change” disparities in their workforces.

Visiting an innovative scheme in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, Lidington said that the scheme is taking “active steps to address the imbalance in the local labour market, with the help of some of the nation’s largest employers.”

He added, “We want to see more companies like Fujitsu and Mitie, and organisations such as the Royal Air Force, taking on this challenge and helping to change lives in a positive way.”

In Rochdale, only 54 per cent of ethnic minorities of working age are employed compared with 66 per cent of their white counterparts. Nearby Manchester is one of twenty BME employment “challenge areas” across the country, identified by the Government as part of the Race Disparity Audit. These are the areas with the largest Black and minority ethnic employment gaps and highest Black and minority ethnic populations.

Race Equality Director, Business in the Community, Sandra Kerr OBE, said that “unemployed Mentoring Circles are a great way to encourage employers to engage with young people in their local communities and raise awareness of their industry and application and interview processes.”

“With twice as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic young people not in employment, education or training compared to their white counterparts, schemes like this are vital for helping to boost employment and ensure that UK employers reflect the customers, clients and communities they serve. We’ve already had great success with previous Mentoring Circles, including in Brixton where 70 out of 90 young people taking part found work within six months, and are delighted to be partnering with the Department for Work and Pensions again to pilot these circles around the UK.”

Co-Chair of the Cultural Diversity Network Fujitsu, Reena Chawla said:“I’m really proud that we are involved  with the ‘mentoring circle’ .  Talking to some of the people involved in our first  mentoring session and finding out how valuable they found it has been truly inspiring.  I think it’s such an important scheme that more companies should get involved as giving people the confidence and the tool set to ultimately find employment is so rewarding.”

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