Leeds apprenticeship take-ups by minorities still low

The take-up of apprenticeships amongst ethnic minorities is still low and more needs to be done to raise awareness of opportunities that apprenticeships can provide, according to a Leeds city councillor.

Thursday, 2nd February 2017, 10:41 am
Updated Thursday, 2nd February 2017, 10:46 am
READ ALL ABOUT IT: The Live Lab brought together around 300 people to see how Leeds can create more inclusive growth. PIC: Simon Dewhurst

Coun Mohammed Rafique, executive member for employment, enterprise and opportunity, said: “The take-up of apprenticeships from ethnic minorities is not at the level where we would like to see it.”

Coun Rafique added that this was down to a lack of awareness of the opportunities that apprenticeships provide.

He said: “There’s still a myth that apprenticeships are related to the construction industry – electricians, plumbers and all those kinds of things. Well that’s not the case.

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“Apprenticeships can happen at any level, from somebody working as a trainee accountant to even a legal executive. It’s one of the ways forward.”

Coun Rafique made the comments during Grant Thornton’s Live Lab event, which brought together around 300 people from various sectors to see how Leeds can create more inclusive growth.

The Live Lab was run using an ‘appreciative inquiry’, engaging stakeholders in self determined change.

One of the suggestions out of the day-long inquiry was that Leeds should create a business charter with a shared ambition for a vision of a compassionate city.

Last year, Grant Thornton’s Vibrant Economy Index found that Leeds scores below the national average in inclusion and equality, with unemployment inequality based on ethnicity at the second highest level in the City Region.

Leeds also has the highest level of young people not in education, employment or training (NEETS).

Stuart Clarke, director of Media Yorkshire, called on the digital industry to reach out to more minority groups in the city.

“There’s a lot of talent out there,” Mr Clarke added.

The appreciative enquiry looks at issues from a positive perspective. The Live Lab was split into three stages. The discovery stage looked at what was great about the city and what else needed to be done. The dream phase looked at what the city could look like. While the design phase came up with concrete actions. The enquiry also came up with suggestions such as launching a bid to host the Olympics, the construction of a time capsule and free breakfasts provided from food waste for every primary school child.