Ethnic trade route

1st April 2005 at 01:00
A college is taking employers to Pakistan to encourage them to take on more ethnic minority apprentices.

City College Birmingham launched the project after concern at low numbers of minority ethnic learners taking up apprenticeships in certain trades.

The college has links with Jamaica and Pakistan - the countries of heritage of Birmingham's largest communities.

In a recent inspection, Ofsted described City College's performance in equal opportunities, diversity and inclusion as "outstanding". The college has growing numbers of ethnic minority 16 to 18-year-olds on full-time foundation level motor vehicle courses, but few are taking the work-based learning route. Eighty three per cent of motor vehicle apprentices attending through private training providers are white, as are 96 per cent of apprentice electricians.

"The profile of apprenticeships was shocking," said vice-principal Sue Knottenbelt. "Those industries are predominantly white in a city that's not predominantly white. We are now working with employers to open up opportunities for our students to access apprenticeships."

City College began its international links, including sending staff overseas, in the late 1980s in response to demand for courses from visiting relatives of its ethnic minority learners, bringing a big growth in overseas students. The college has built partnerships in the United States, Europe, Gambia and South Africa and is fostering links with India.

"Our activity is having a huge impact on our ability to respond to our communities," says Ms Knottenbelt. "We have found a powerful tool for our organisation and staff development."

If you have an innovative link, email us on:

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today