Mind the gap: Alok Sharma wants more minorities in employment

Jobs first: Employment minister Alok Sharma hosts a meeting to focus on BAME employment rates
Jobs first: Employment minister Alok Sharma hosts a meeting to focus on BAME employment rates

EMPLOYMENT minister Alok Sharma has said he is committed to helping more people from a BAME background get jobs as he hosted a meeting to understand the challenges facing some ethnic minorities.

Alok Sharma noted that while the employment rate is high among black, Asian and minorities (BAME), he was “personally dedicated to pushing progress forward”.

Earlier this week, 20 representatives from organisations working to increase BAME employment attended a roundtable with Sharma to discussed how to help young people and women from minority backgrounds get jobs.

Sharma said: “It’s important we learn from some of the best examples and make the most of the talent out there, giving people from all backgrounds the chance to reach their potential.

“We are all working towards the same goal – opening up work opportunities for those who are underrepresented in the labour market.”

The BAME employment rate has risen by 6.4 percentage points since 2010.

Black, African and Caribbean, Pakistani and Bangladeshi, and Indian groups have seen rises in the rates of employment since 2010 with growths of 9.5ppts, 8.5ppts and 6.1ppts respectively.

“We’ve made good progress, with the BAME employment rate at an all-time high but I am absolutely determined to make faster progress in closing the current ethnic minority employment gap,” Sharma said.

When she became prime minister in July 2016, Theresa May announced a race audit, which serves to highlight the challenges some communities face as well as help develop policy to address the issues.

The Department for Work and Pensions said its focus was on supporting job seekers to overcome employment barriers, with additional training for staff so as to help employers understand the benefits of a diverse workforce.

Working with Business in the Community the DWP launched a pilot mentoring programme in Peckham, south London, earlier this week (18).

The sessions offer job seekers six hours of exclusive face-to-face interaction with an employer, and focus on practical help with application forms and CVs, as well as help with practicing interview skills and questions.