Apprenticeship applicants from minority backgrounds are less likely to be picked than their white counterparts, the director of the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) has said.
Sue Husband was speaking ahead of the launch of the 5 Cities Project to support people from underrepresented groups to become an apprentice. A group of metro mayors will work with the government to increase the number of black and minority ethnic (BAME) apprentices by 20 per cent by 2020.
Husband added: “It cannot be right in this day and age that BAME individuals in England are, overall, less likely to be successful in their apprenticeship applications than their white counterparts. Yet sadly this is what the statistics do show. It is critical that we capture the talent of individuals from all backgrounds, and proactively work to remove any barriers that do exist.”
Equality in apprenticeships
The latest figures show there were 55,000 apprenticeship starts in the past academic year for people from a BAME background – an increase of nearly 3 per cent on the previous year. The number represented around 11 per cent of the total apprenticeship starts.
The project, launched by the Department for Education, will see the NAS work with the mayors of Birmingham, Bristol, Greater Manchester, Leicester and London, and employers and Local Enterprise Partnerships in the regions, as well as apprenticeship providers, schools and community groups.
Skills minister Anne Milton said she was thrilled by the strong support that the government had received for the project, adding: “It’s great to be working together on our drive to make sure that everyone, whatever their background, can get on to an apprenticeship at whatever level suits them.”
Each city has pledged to boost diversity and in Greater Manchester, mayor Andy Burnham aims to deliver at least a 16 per cent increase in BAME apprenticeships and said he wanted the city region to be known for its fairness, equality and inclusion.