Move to boost racial diversity of Leeds apprenticeships

OPTIONS: There are various apprentice initiatives in Leeds.
OPTIONS: There are various apprentice initiatives in Leeds.
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A new scheme launched by Leeds City Council hopes to get more young people from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds into apprenticeships.

The new programme will operate in schools and further education settings across the city, as well as local communities, to raise awareness of the apprenticeships on offer in Leeds in a variety of sectors.

It is hoped 500 people from BME backgrounds will get involved with the scheme, which offers one-to-one support, help with registering and submitting applications and interview preparation.

The council says that BME groups are currently under-represented in the city’s apprenticeship schemes - a situation which is similar in other places across the country.

Participation rates in apprenticeships in Leeds stands at just over 10 per cent, in line with the national average.

It is hoped that this initiative and other work by the council and agencies to boost numbers will see that figure raised to 15 per cent by next year.

Coun Mohammed Rafique, member for employment, skills and opportunity said: “Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to open the door to a career in a variety of different sectors, and we especially want young people in Leeds to be aware of and have the chance to benefit from opportunities on offer.

“We are already undertaking a lot of work to engage with BME communities in Leeds around our apprenticeship offer. Through this new initiative, we will be working closely with BME groups in schools and further education to highlight the career paths on offer, and as part of our package providing tailored support to help them have all the information at their disposal to apply for and secure an apprenticeship.”