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FE has a big part to play;FE Focus

Two different schemes are helping young people from ethnic minorities into training and employment.Asian youth and a new Government forum are working for change. Martin Whittaker reports

Further education colleges have a big role in helping ethnic minorities into training and jobs, said a member of the Government's new race advisory body.

Wally Brown, principal of Liverpool Community College, said both the FE sector and ethnic- minority voluntary groups offered examples of good practice.

Mr Brown sits on REEF - the Department for Education and Employment's Race Employment and Education Forum, which met for the first time last month.

The panel set as its first priorities the need to ensure small businesses operate as equal opportunities employers, and to seek solutions to problems faced by black people and Asians in moving from education to training and jobs.

Mr Brown said: "Most colleges operating in areas where there are significant numbers of ethnic- minority people are actually involved in some of these issues we are looking at.

"They will be involved in positive action programmes and bringing people not only into education, but also hopefully to give them a platform into the job situation.

"And there are examples of good practice where people have been able to work with employers. We have experience here in Liverpool of working with the Government in terms of getting people into civil servants jobs."

He is confident that the Government is committed to helping ethnic minorities into training and jobs.

"On the ground, black and Asian groups have set up their own mechanisms to deal with this situation. What's essential is a Government lead from the top. And I think the Government is giving that lead.

But he added: "I think we have to be realistic. You can't change attitudes overnight. There's no quick fixes on this."

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