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Brent Council to hold 2nd event to promote opportunities for young people

The positive and vibrant working relationship between Mr Pascoe Sawyers; Head of Strategy & Partnerships at the London Borough of Brent and DCS founder & Chair, Bola Abisogun OBE has been maturing for a number of years and on the back of their first successful event in 2019, a second event has now been confirmed for 2020 by the Deputy Leader of the Council.

Chaired by Bola, the Moving On Up ‘MoU’ initiative is a multi-million pound project, co-funded by City Bridge Trust and Trust for London. As part of the MoU Advisory Groups early findings in 2013, it was evidenced [again] that the unemployment rate for young black men in the UK, the vast majority of whom live in London, is more than double the rate for young white men. This disparity has persisted for years. In a bid to tackle this, the aforementioned funding partners and the Black Training and Enterprise Group (BTEG) have been working together on the Moving on Up initiative, a unique opportunity with key metrics and measurable outcomes, to improve employment outcomes for young black men in London. Brent Council is of one of two Collective Impact Partnerships ‘CIPs’, the second being the London Borough of Newham. The two CIPs have identified their priority actions and the partners that will assist them over the next two years. MoU want to encourage Employer Champions to reach out to the leads in these boroughs if they have job/apprenticeship opportunities. MoU are also keen to connect as many employers as possible to the CIPs initiatives.

In Phase One of the programme, from 2015 to 2017, Moving on Up worked with a network of employment support providers to help more than 250 young black men into jobs. It aimed to do this by funding work that would improve the support offered to them and increase their pathways into employment. It also undertook policy influencing work to promote greater action to address the issue.

The lessons from Moving on Up Phase One are detailed in the full Evaluation Report or, alternatively, you can read the summary.

L-R, Jeremy Crook OBE from BTEG, Debbie Weekes-Barnard from the Mayors Office and Bola Abisogun OBE

A new 2nd phase of the Moving On Up programme began in October 2017 and will run until late 2020. Phase Two will continue to focus on employment outcomes for young black men in and across London but with a greater emphasis on developing replicable models which could work in other geographic areas and for other ethnic groups facing barriers to labour market access and career progression. For Phase Two, the MoU delivery partners are joined by the Greater London Authority ‘GLA’, with unwavering support from the Mayor of London principally via their Workforce Integration Network aka WIN initiative. As part of their commitment, the GLA commissioned BTEG to undertake and produce the Workforce Integration Networks' "Inclusive Employer Toolkit". Now its final stages, ‘the Toolkit’ will be launched by the GLA in the near future with a focus on the needs of the Employer and the increasing importance of collecting key data.

The historic challenges that continue to co-exist, translate into a rather regressive commitment regarding the conversation around the employment of young black men ‘YBM’, particularly with Employers in the built environment, where progress has been painfully slow. Part of the MoU aspiration is to deconstruct the myths and challenge the entrenched stereotypes that continue to be associated with YBM. In this post-BREXIT environment, seeking to address the core concerns and showcasing the vast talent base within this non-traditional cohort, it is hoped that Employers in general and construction / surveying in particular, will extend their organic interest and influence, whilst simultaneously opening up their resource requirements, offering genuine career opportunities to a wealth of – in many cases – home-grown talent.

DCS Chair, Bola Abisogun OBE will be delivering the keynote on the day, whilst attempting to support Brent Council, championed by Cllr Margaret McLennan as the executive sponsor, as stated in her personal note here. In seeking to engage with younger members of our society, we would ask that you circulate and share this opportunity widely. Hopefully, with a special appearance planned by radio broadcaster and social media activist Rants 'n' Bants, the content will resonate with young people, who will attach some hope [and interest] given the well documented skills shortage forecast over the next decade; as declared here by CITB.

Amidst the technical resource required by Employers across London, many of whom are seeking to participate in the delivery of major infrastructure projects including HS2, Thames Tideway and several others, it is hoped that the employment outcomes for YBM will - over time - improve and become an integral part of an informed and fully representative solution, designed to ensure that London remains an exciting and inclusive environment, to thrive and be the best version of yourself.

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