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News Desk: Industry News

New report calls on Government to close the race employment gap by engaging community partners

07 November 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Heather Ette
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New report calls on Government to close the race employment gap by engaging community partners

The Employment Related Service Association (ERSA), in partnership with PeoplePlus, have published a report, Race, Ethnicity and Employment: Addressing Disparities and Supporting Communities, highlighting the employment gap between different ethnic groups in the UK. The report finds that Government could do more to close this gap by providing more tailored, quality employment support through specialist partners embedded in local communities.

The report comes one year on from the publication of Prime Minister’s Race Disparity Audit findings, which uncovered a race employment gap of nearly 12% between white and non-white groups, as well as lower rates of pay and career progression. The report digs below the data to uncover the practical barriers facing people from ethnic minority backgrounds, providing a series of expert-led recommendations to help more people into work.

The report welcomes the Government’s recent announcements to support ethnic minority employees through an employer charter and calls for this to be matched by efforts to provide more specialist employment support for jobseekers outside of the Job Centre. Local providers, including charity groups and community organisations, have trusting relationships with individuals and understand their specific barriers to work. With years of local experience, they have developed bespoke community programmes that offer effective community-based employment support.

Examples of tailored initiatives include the QED Foundation, which provides careers advice for hundreds of Muslim students at risk of failing to fulfil their potential and engages their parents about career options in 34 madrassahs serving disadvantaged communities in West Yorkshire, the East Midlands and the North West. The report also highlights the Twist Partnership’s influential project in partnership with the NHS to cut diabetes and heart disease in Asian and African communities, helping a number of participants to find paid work in the health sector.

With many of these community organisations relying heavily on the European Social Fund to deliver their pre-employment programmes, enterprise coaching and a range of other support services, the report’s recommendations become increasingly pressing as the UK moves towards Brexit.

Commenting on the report, ERSA’s Chief Executive, Kirsty McHugh said:

‘The Prime Minister’s Race Disparity Audit has been an important step towards understanding the disparities in outcomes between different ethnic groups in the UK. One year on from its findings, the Government needs to engage with community partners to provide more quality employment support for jobseekers.

Whilst ERSA welcomes recent announcements on the Race At Work Charter and consultation on ethnic pay reporting, our report highlights the need to work from communities up. Jobseekers can face specific barriers which vary significantly between ethnic groups, so support must be tailored to local need and individual circumstances. We urge the Government to match its employer Charter with more provision by community partners, to ensure everyone gets the right support.’

Commenting, Simon Rouse, Director of PeoplePlus, said:

‘We are heartened by the direction being set from the top of government about the need to take concerted steps to tackle the race disparity still found in levels of employment, pay and career progression. We hope therefore, that this new report - which brings together best-practice thinking from leading employability providers - will act as a catalyst for the further focused effort which is required to address the barriers to meaningful employment faced by too many jobseekers from ethnic minority backgrounds.’

The full report can be found here.