MSPs to examine opportunities for ethnic minorities

A Scottish Parliament committee will investigate a failure to improve employment rates of ethnic minorities.

The failure to improve unemployment and poverty rates among ethnic minorities will be investigated by a Holyrood committee.

MSPs are launching an inquiry into what can be done in Scotland to improve employment, training and career progression opportunities for minority ethnic communities.

The Scottish Parliament’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee will look at the public sector and the steps organisations are taking to increase the number of people they employ from minority ethnic communities.

Ahead of the investigation, the committee is appealing for views, evidence and witnesses on what more can be done by employers, schools, colleges and universities to ensure people from minority backgrounds have the same access to employment and training as the majority of the population.

Committee convener Ruth Maguire MSP said: “Research shows that people from minority ethnic communities continue to face poorer outcomes than the majority of the population, with higher levels of in-work poverty and lower employment rates, even though many have performed well at school or completed university or college.

“Employment is key to addressing issues of housing, education and health inequalities, poverty and encouraging participation in public life.

“This inquiry will focus on public authorities, who have a legal obligation to remove any real or perceived barriers to employment faced by people due to their race, and investigate what measures they are taking to increase employment, training and progression opportunities for minority ethnic communities.”

The committee wants to hear evidence from individuals, community groups and any minority ethnic employment and training projects, as well as public sector and private sector employers.

The closing date for responses is Friday April 17.

Paul Carberry, from Action for Children, said the charity had last year launched a project exploring employment barriers to black and minority ethnic (Bame) people.

He said: “This was as a result of young people we support at our heritage and inclusion project, based in Edinburgh, telling us that businesses didn’t reflect a true representation of their communities, and that barriers still existed when it came to them making decisions about their career choices.

“This inquiry could mark the start of a journey and the beginning of a discussion on how we can all play our part in ensuring Scotland has a more diverse workforce.”

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