Memorandum from Black Training & Enterprise
1. ABOUT BTEG
Training and Enterprise Group (BTEG) is a national organisation,
established in 1991 by representatives from the black voluntary
sector. BTEG represents over 200 organisations and continues to
grow. The Group is unique in England for its focus on training,
employment, enterprise and regeneration.
1.2 BTEG's mission is to ensure fair access
and outcomes for black communities in employment, training and
enterprise; and to act as a catalyst for enabling black groups
and individuals to play an active role in the economic regeneration
of local communities through partnership with others.
1.3 BTEG is a member of the DfEE Advisory
Group to the New Deal Task Force, DfEE National Monitoring Committees
for ESF Objective 3 and 4, Social Exclusion Unit's Policy Action
Team (PAT) on Jobs, LGA Race and the Built Environment Working
Group and the Urban Forum.
2. SUMMARY OF
2.1 In BTEG's view, whilst employers should
realise their moral and social obligations for employing people
from deprived neighbourhoods and in particular black communities,
the "business case" for equality has so far had a limited
impact upon rates of unemployment in black communities. For example,
initiatives such as Race for Opportunity have done little to influence
recruitment practices of our top companies. It should be noted
that the "business case" varies across different groups
of employees and sectors of employment, which requires a sophisticated
understanding of what the "business case" actually is
for someone's own businessnot a case of one "case"
2.2 A high profile campaign targeted towards
"fair recruitment" would have lasting value, as many
employers tend to shy away from equal opportunities (EO) and "business
case" campaigns. Any campaign should be supported at the
front-line by skilled professionals that can advocate equalities
and offer practical advice to employers on how to implement such
policies into their working practices.
2.3 Campaigns on "fair recruitment"
can have the desired effect, though quite often the real test
arises on how to influence local employer networks. Hence, this
is a prime area for development and should be incorporated into
a future "fair recruitment" campaign, with assistance
from the Small Business Service and local Chambers of Commerce.
2.4 Discrimination is still widespread and
continues to undermine the confidence and determination of many
black people who still hope to get a job on their merit. A major
campaign can raise the awareness amongst employers and the public
about the need to adopt fair recruitment practices, particularly
if the campaign is to be supported with practical advice and robust
monitoring that can ensure meaningful change.
2.5 Lessons can be learnt from PATH (Positive
Action through Housing) initiatives but also from campaigns in
the USA involving employers of all sizes. Similarly, the "toolkit"
("Closing the Gap: A Self-Assessment Pack for New Deal Partnerships")
developed for implementing the DfEE's Ethnic Minority Strategy
for New Deal is a practical method of showing how to turn theory
into good practice.
2.6 The Policy Action Team (PAT) on Jobs
report, Jobs for All, recommends "a sustained campaign on
racial equality". The report and its recommendations probably
represent the most progressive strategy for reducing black unemployment
ever produced by a British Government, heralding a key shift in
government policy in tackling racial discrimination "head-on".
2.5 If the objective of labour market programmes
is to get unemployed black people into work and stay in work then
a legacy of mistrust in employment programmes has to be reversed,
which requires further work on the demand side, ie with employers
and those looking for work. However, vocational training must
be of high quality and linked to employer requirements. Training
providers should ensure the best (job) outcome for their trainees,
which will include challenging discrimination by employers.
2.6 Indeed, the notion of EO does not necessarily
entail equal outcomes for black communities. The Government should
ensure that there is sufficient practical assistance available
for organisations to deliver on equal access and outcomes.
3.1 The Government has to take a consistent
approach to its employment programmes and communicate this at
a number of levels including:
regional (eg Regional Development
local (eg Learning and Skills Councils,
Employment Services, and Lifelong Learning Partnerships).
This should include consistent data collection
to identify gaps in programmes and in analysing trends in the
national, regional and local labour market so as to ensure effective
action is undertaken to address performance disparities.
3.2 Traditional approaches to regeneration
and economic development haven't had real impact job creation
or sustainable employment for local communities, in particular
3.3 For example, flagship developments such
as the Albert Dock in Liverpool has provided little benefits for
its immediate residents in the "Liverpool 8" community
(Granby/Toxteth). Similarly, the economic growth created by firms
along the "M4 corridor" has had little impact on unemployment
levels for black communities living in Slough or Reading, with
rates still two to three times the region's average.
3.4 The impact of racial discrimination
and disadvantage in the labour market has been well documented
in a number of Government and independent research reports. This
is clearly evident in the disproportionate number of black people
in low-skilled/low-paid jobs, and their significantly greater
chance of living in a deprived area.
3.5 Whilst we emphasise the need to get
people into jobs, the Government should recognise that more effort
is required to get unemployed black people into all levels of
occupations, particularly jobs in growth industries. Strong evidence
suggesting under-representation of black people at senior management
level requires Positive Action initiatives. For example, Modern
Apprenticeship targets should be set in growth industries.
3.6 In some areas, particularly in shire
counties and rural areas, there may be a perception of having
to go "that extra mile" to reach out to black communities
and that this may not be "value for money". Hence, mechanisms
should be in place to ensure all agencies are delivering to as
many potential beneficiaries as possible, regardless of "unit
3.7 Many employers do reap the benefits
from Government employment programmes, but many still do not,
particularly small and medium-sized enterprises. Hence, one has
to ask whether the "message" to employers on programmes
such as New Deal and Modern Apprenticeships is getting through
or whether employers see these programmes as not "producing
3.8 Ultimately though, the UK labour force
market is generally flexible, skilled and mobile. However, the
same cannot be said for the long-term unemployed, particularly
those living in areas of high deprivation and/or from black communities.
4. EMPLOYER INTERVENTION
4.1 Larger employers have been more pro-active
in outreach work to the labour market through recruitment fairs,
partnership work and local media coverage. However, more often
than not the resultant jobs are low-skilled and low-paid.
4.2 As mentioned before, do employers have
confidence in programmes such as New Deal or vocational training
such as Work-Based Learning for Adults (WBLA)? The New Deal has
managed to sign up over 10,000 employers to date, though there
is a high level of bureaucracy involved and difficulties for employers
in managing government funded programmes. In addition, the recent
overhaul in post-16 provision, with the private sector accounting
for 40 per cent board representation on the new Learning and Skills
Councils suggest that previous provision hasn't quite met their
5. ROLE OF
5.1 The Employment Service (ES) has had
to undergo a culture change since it took on New Deal and has
made some steps to be more of an influence in the local labour
market and working with local communities, rather than just "policing"
the benefits system.
5.2 However, the ES should train its existing
staff and bring in professional expertise to ensure it is more
pro-active in marketing their products to employers, particularly
ethnic minority businesses. The marketing team should understand
local labour market conditions and develop stronger relationships
between employers and the unemployed, which is not the case in
all Units of Delivery.
5.3 In addition, the ES should direct more
resources towards "Product Marketing" their services
to employers and local communities. This should involve more face-to-face
contact with clients and utilise senior black staff within the
ES, particularly in working with employers and breaking-down stereotypes
that they (employers) may hold.
5.4 The Ethnic Minority Strategy for New
Deal contains a number of useful tips for undertaking outreach
work with local (ethnic minority) employers and the unemployed.
6.1 There are two areas for consideration
if the Intermediaries Fund is to be successful. The first is to
break down big contracts into manageable chunks so those local
organisations have the capacity to bid and tailor delivery to
local circumstances. The second is to assess whether bidders have
a strong track record in delivering to all "socially excluded"
groups, including black communities.
6.2 Positive Action is an area that is under-utilised
and hence there should be a specific allocation within the mainstream
budget for this. This would not only raise the profile of Positive
Action but also see a wider range of organisations engaged in
mainstream activities and ensure all providers improve the impact
of their programme upon black communities.
6.3 Targets for equal opportunities require
a rationale and should be used to support the argument for Positive
Action. Using more reliable data can enhance target setting and
ensure service delivery has the desired impact upon those most
in need. However, any target setting should be based on a baseline
that will see meaningful results, eg not just the proportion of
black communities in the population but also the proportion of
6.4 There are a number of black-led projects
(LEAP, Project Fullemploy and South Liverpool Personnel) that
have evolved as intermediaries. The Fund should look to these
organisations as models of good practice (ie what makes them work?)
and build upon this through allocating resources towards the development
of specialist black-led provision, particularly in areas where
mainstream provision is failing to deliver to both local black
communities and local employers.
6.5 Sector-based intermediaries would have
their advantages too, but this should be piloted in two or three
sectors that historically have under-performed in terms of recruiting
long-term unemployed people.
7. ROLE OF
7.1 The private sector enjoys a good relationship
with employers and brings professional expertise/image to the
delivery of labour market initiatives.
7.2 However, two concerns remain. First,
that private sector agencies would be more concerned in making
a "quick profit" and furthering their own kudos than
meeting a socio-economic need. The second reason is that private
sector agencies may not be able to reconcile the skills-jobs mismatch
as they may not have a thorough understanding of the local labour
market and its communities.
7.3 One way to overcome this would be for
an equal partnership to be made, each sector working towards a
shared delivery objective and focusing on their respective niche.
In addition, secondments from local black organisations as senior
advisers and front-line workers would give the private sector
more credence and focus in its delivery.
8.1 Black organisations are just as much
of a role model as a personal mentor and raise the aspirations
of the communities they serve just by their very existence. The
government should actively engage black organisations in mainstream
programmes, promote their activities as intermediaries to a wider
audience and involve them in the strategic decision-making process.
8.2 The Government should also encourage
more senior professionals, as well as front-line workers, from
all sectors to be involved in mentoring activities.
8.3 Mentoring along is not enough to ensure
long-term unemployed people stay and progress in work. They need
to be empowered to take their career forward and hence all employers
should work towards Investors in People/Business Excellence Modelmonitoring
should be more regular to ensure those most at risk in the work
place are supported through pro-active personal and workforce
18 Black includes people of African, Caribbean, South
Asian and South East Asian origin. Back