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Does the education system equip ethnic minorities to succeed in the workforce?

Wed 7 December 2016 17:30 - 20:30

At SOAS, University of London

The Black Training and Enterprise Group (BTEG), a national charity based in London, is celebrating twenty five years of working across the public, private and voluntary sectors to champion national and local action to reduce racial inequalities for ethnic minority young people.

To mark this milestone, BTEG has organised a series of Inspire and Challenge lectures where speakers deliver new, future facing perspectives on business, criminal justice and education. Two successful lectures have taken place in Bristol and Manchester. The final lecture in this series takes place in London with a focus on education. The lecture is aimed at national and local policy makers, community groups, employers, educationalists, skills and employment practitioners, parents and young people.

The final lecture will focus on:

Ethnic minority young people spend longer in education but their employment rewards are lower compared to young white young people.

How should schools, colleges and universities equip ethnic minorities to succeed in the local and global workforce?

The guest speakers are:

Jeremy Crook OBE - CEO of BTEG

Dr Sham Qayyum - SOAS University of London,

Femi Bola MBE - Director of Employability, University of East London

Jeremy Crook OBE - Chief Executive of BTEG, says:

“It's clear that young BME people are not rewarded in the labour market despite their educational success. In London young black male graduates have unemployment rates three times higher than young white male graduates. Young BME people are also significantly under-represented in apprenticeships, particularly within sectors like engineering, construction and ICT where workforces do not reflect the ethnic diversity of our country.”

“This lecture will challenge the education system to take a radically different approach to how young people are prepared for success in the labour market. Young BME people need to be given the techniques to become entrepreneurial, resilient and able to overcome the barriers they will face in securing jobs with good prospects or self-employment. Employers also need to do more to reach young BME talent and recognise that diversity includes more than gender and disability. It is so important to hear the views of young people with recent experience of the education system and in securing employment, so BTEG is delighted that SOAS is hosting this lecture.”

Dr Sham Qayyum, SOAS University of London, says:

If we want to tell our children that merit is what leads to success then we need to explain to them why, in many cases, when they are outperforming their white peers in both secondary and higher education this is not translating into employment outcomes.”

“Telling them about the barriers they face, equipping them with the skills to address these is part of the solution, but a larger part involves employers and government taking radical and persistent  action that changes behaviour and attitudes that lead to a fair society where ethnic minorities are able to fulfil their aspirations. Civil society organisations, and we have in BTEG an exemplary example, must push to ensure that action to improve equality and equal opportunity is never simply paid lip service.”

Femi Bola MBE, Director of Employability, University of East London, says:

“With university fees set to increase, how can we as a community of parents, educators, professionals and employers assist our young people to realise the investment they are making in higher education and support them into successful careers or self employment?”


1.    For more information:

  • Jeremy Crook OBE, Black Training and Enterprise Group E:                  M: 07766114877
  • Tebussum Rashid, Black Training and Enterprise Group  

2.    The event is supported by SOAS University of London

3.    The venue for the lecture is SOAS, University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square London WC1H 0XG                                  

4.    More information about this event can be found here

5.    BTEG address: 200a Pentonville Road, London N1 9JP. Registered charity No: 1056043



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