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. Sharma noted that while the employment rate was high among black, Asian and minorities (BAME), he was “personally dedicated to pushing progress forward”. Earlier last week, 20 representatives from organisations working to increase BAME employment met Sharma to discuss 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. We are all working towards the same goal – opening up work opportunities for those who are under-represented 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 9.5, 8.5 and 6.1 percentage points 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. After becoming prime minister in July 2016, Theresa May announced a race audit, which highlighted challenges some communities faced as well as helped develop policy to address the issues. Working with Business in the Community, the Department of Work and Pensions launched a pilot mentoring programme in Peckham, south London, last Monday (18). The sessions offer job seekers six hours of face-to-face interaction with an employer, practical help with application forms and CVs, as well as help with interview skills.