Saturday, 29 November 2014

Black unemployment at record low

Employment for people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds has reached a record high with unemployment falling across all ethnic groups, according to new official statistics.
Esther McVey
The figures published by the Office for National Statistics show that there are 166,000 more people from BME backgrounds in work compared to this time last year, bringing the total number to a record high of more than 3 million. The employment rate has also hit a new record high of 62.5%, a 2.3 percentage point rise over the last year.
Thanks to a range of government schemes designed to help people into jobs, more than 50,000 opportunities have already been taken up by people from BME backgrounds. These include schemes that offer work experience, employer-led placements, or help starting up a new business – however Ministers and advisers recognise that a gap still remains compared with the rest of the population, which is why Jobcentres will continue to deliver tailored support specific to local communities.
Unemployment has fallen across all ethnic groups, including people from a Black, African and Caribbean background as well as those from a Chinese, Pakistani and Mixed backgrounds.
“I warmly welcome these latest figures showing record employment rates for people of black and minority ethnic heritage. And along with reductions in the number of young people not in training, education or employment, this shows our long-term economic plan is delivering for people of all backgrounds and ages,” Prime Minister David Cameron stated.
“Over 160,000 more black and minority ethnic people are in work today compared to this time last year, with more than 50,000 opportunities being taken up on government-backed employment and training schemes designed to help people into jobs.  Alongside this our enterprise scheme has helped budding entrepreneurs from black and minority ethnic backgrounds set up over 6,000 new businesses – this is not just great news for those individuals and their families, but it’s great for businesses and the economy too.
“That is why this government is committed to go further still and make sure barriers are lifted and opportunities are opened to people of all backgrounds. This is how we will truly ensure we have a brighter and more secure economic future.”
Minister for Employment Esther McVey added: “We’ve seen record numbers of people share in the improving jobs market as the economy continues to grow – and this includes people from all backgrounds and all regions across the country.
“More and more people are having their lives transformed by moving into work and having the security of a regular wage. From government schemes that give people the skills and experience they need, through to help setting up in business, we’re working hard to ensure that everyone is a step closer to the job that could change their life.
“We know there is more to do to ensure people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds have the same opportunities as everyone else, which is why we will continue to follow our long-term economic plan to help businesses to create the jobs that people need.
“We also know how important role models are – especially for young jobseekers or budding entrepreneurs, and we’d encourage more successful business leaders to step forward and work with us to pass on their knowledge and experience to the next generation.”
The figures show that:
  • The employment rate for people from a Black, African and Caribbean background has risen by more than 3 percentage points on the year – it now stands at 63.4%, the highest employment rate seen for this group since 2010.
  • People from a Chinese background have seen an increase in employment rate  of nearly 6 percentage points on the year.
  • The employment rate for people from a Bangladeshi background now stands at a record high of 57.1%
  • The unemployment rate for people from a Bangladeshi background has fallen by a 7 percentage points over the year.
Sector-based work academies offer people a package of pre-employment training, work experience placements and a guaranteed job interview in specific industries, such as hospitality. Almost 21,000 placements on work academies have been picked up so far by people from BME backgrounds.
People on Jobseeker’s Allowance can also find work experience through Jobcentre Plus, giving them up to eight weeks to learn new skills in a new industry. Over 32,000 work experience placements were started by people from BME backgrounds.
The New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme, which is supported by Levi Roots, founder of Reggae Reggae sauce, offers jobseekers with a business plan financial support and mentoring to set up on their own. 15, 720 opportunities have been picked up by people from BME backgrounds where they have worked with mentors to make the first step in starting up their own business and through NEA, the Government has helped people from BME backgrounds to start up 6,540 new businesses.
Melody Hossaini, the former Apprentice star, is now the face of the  #firstjobs campaign, a campaign designed to inspire by hearing about surprising celebrity first jobs and the benefits that it can bring. Surprising responses have included footballer Ian Wright working as a builder, chef Lorraine Pascale working in an iron monger with Melody herself starting working life in a supermarket.
The diversity of the UK means Jobcentres take an approach that focuses on individual job seekers, rather than defining people’s needs by their ethnicity. However, each of the 700 jobcentres has the freedom and flexibility to tailor schemes based on local need, which could include where people from an ethic group share a common barrier to finding work.