Addressing disparities and supporting communities | People Plus

Addressing disparities and supporting communities

Race, Ethnicity and Employment: Addressing disparities and supporting communities

Today (31 October), PeoplePlus in partnership with the Employment Related Service Association (ERSA), published Race, Ethnicity and Employment: Addressing Disparities and Supporting Communities, a report 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.

PeoplePlus’ own mission is to make a direct difference to the lives of 1 million people by 2022, by transforming lives and helping individuals to find and keep jobs. One of our own many case studies details how we have helped transform the life of a refugee.
Mustapha was a refugee and living in supported housing when he first approached PeoplePlus for employment support. English was not his first language and he did not have a network of support at the time.

A PeoplePlus adviser, Helen, worked with Mustapha to establish his barriers then put together a plan of action that would allow her to help build his confidence, taking into account the requirement for suitable employment that would give him the stability that he needed, whilst moving him further towards the job market.

Throughout this process he decided that he wanted to apply for a Security Industry Authority (SIA) badge. Suitable training was sourced and paid for via a local SIA provider in Liverpool, including cost of travel. Helen provided study support using casework materials to ensure Mustapha would pass his exams.

As he was a refugee, Mustapha didn’t have access to the standard routes that would allow him access to the necessary paperwork. Helen supported him with identifying and accessing the relevant paperwork that would allow him to gain the SIA, liaising with DBS, the SIA body, a range of solicitors, as well as a required personal report. The first route would normally be attending the embassy, however because of Mustapha’s background this was not possible so an alternative option was established through carefully working with the responsible bodies.

With this support he successfully started a temporary employment position which has since become permanent. With support from Helen, Mustapha has moved from supported accommodation and into social housing. This whole process took months and has made a real positive impact.

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

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