Recent research on skills/employment issues

Moving On Up: Improving employment opportunities for young black men

On 18 July 2017 London the Trust for London and the Black Training and Enterprise Group (BTEG) brought together approx 80 people across wide ranging sectors - funders, black and minority -led voluntary organisations, employers and  also young people from black and minority communities - to discuss the evaluation of the Moving On Up Initiative (conducted by The Social Innovation Partnership (TSIP).

A summary and the full report is here:  Here are some headlines:

The problem 

Employers struggle to fill almost 1 in 4 job vacancies due to skills shortages. At the same time, there are high unemployment rates amongst some talented groups of young people. 

Young black men have consistently experienced more unemployment than young men of other ethnicities. In London in 2013, the employment rate for young black men was just 56%, compared to 81% for young white men.

The MoU Initiative aimed both to directly increase the employment rate amongst young black men in London through supporting targeted interventions; and to generate learning that could influence employers, mainstream employment support providers and funders/commissioners.

There were a number of positive outcomes from the Initiative:

271 young black men are known to be in paid work following their participation in MoU. This equates to a job entry rate of 40-60%.

MoU had the biggest impact on participants’ attitude, confidence and understanding of work. Whilst some improvement was seen in career direction and more practical job application skills, survey and interview data indicates that MoU’s impact was driven more by psychological outcomes – with young black men being more motivated, confident, and aware of what employers are looking for. 

The thing that MoU participants valued most about the projects was that the staff cared. 

MoU participants also appreciated when the projects were targeted and tailored to young black men. Many interviewees said they felt empowered by people caring about young black men as a group.

But barriers remain e.g.:

Young black men have to deal with barriers which are additional to those facing other young people trying to find jobs. Three-quarters of the project participants interviewed for this evaluation believe that as young black men they need to work harder than other young people to get a job.

MoU participants had high aspirations to begin with. Lower aspiration is often identified as a key barrier to young people gaining employment, but MoU survey data showed thatthese young men had very high aspirations to begin with.

Social capital is still a key area of disadvantage. In stark contrast to aspiration, participants scored lowest on baseline survey questions relating to social capital. These questions focused on using personal relationships to find work. This was also the only outcome not to improve at follow-up. Clearly this is an area that may need more intense, targeted support.

Read the report to find out more.

View Jo Reilly's profile Jo Reilly Jul 24 2017 - 3:28pm
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