THE Equality & Diversity In Tech Apprenticeship Pledge

People from ethnic minorities make up about 15% of the working-age population in England but continue to be under-
represented in apprenticeships, being only 10% of all the people who start an apprenticeship. This proportion has
remained static since 2010/11, even though around 25% of applications made via the central Apprenticeship Vacancies
system were from BAME young people.

We are especially keen to target the engineering, digital media and technology industries, where black and ethnic minorities are seriously under-represented, as well as doing everything we can to enable talented BAME young people to benefit from the anticipated need for 750,000 skilled digital workers by 2017, with some 25,000 new digital jobs per year being created in London.

What is the Equality & Diversity Tech Apprenticeship Pledge?

We aim to encourage tech apprentice employers to recruit apprentices from diverse backgrounds and to reflect the makeup of their local population. We believe all talented young people from all backgrounds should be given an equal opportunity to access a tech apprenticeship, allowing them to develop their sense of self-worth through earning a fair living wage and becoming financially independent, as well as by contributing to the economy, their community and to society. Currently, this is both a challenge and an opportunity in the context of the digital skills crisis, as the UK needs another 745,000 workers with digital skills by 2017.

Why is this pledge so important?

Young Black Men (YBM) make up 19%, or almost 1 in 5, of all young men in London (source: www.bteg.co.uk). However, only 66% of the economically active YBM in London are in employment, compared to 86% of Young White Men (YWM).

The employment rate for economically active YBM in London has increased from the baseline of 64% (the baseline period is Jan to Dec 2014), but the gap in employment rates for YBM and YWM remains virtually unchanged, at around 20 percentage points. For Source: Click here. The unemployment rate for economically active YBM in London is 34%, compared to 14% for YWM.

BME women also face inequality. As a consequence, BME women are less likely than White Women (WW) to be in employment. 41.8% of BME women are economically inactive compared to 25% of WW. A relatively high proportion of BME men (roughly one in five) was also classified as inactive. BME women are slightly more likely to work in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) occupations than WW. 8.2% of all working BME women were employed in SET occupations,compared to all 5.1% of all working. For Source: Click here

Tech apprenticeships

Nearly 140,000 new, skilled recruits are needed to meet tech-sector demand each year, with 52% of all digital businesses reporting a tech-skills gap. Worse still, the number of women entering the tech sector remains particularly low, with women making up just 17% of tech professionals.

  • In 2014/15, 53% of apprenticeship starts were by women (264,800) and 47% by men (235,100). For Source: Click here
  • BAME young people are still under-represented in tech apprenticeships. For example, out of the 31.6% of apprenticeship applications BAME young people submitted for a tech apprenticeship, only 3.7% were successful in 2015 (source: Learning and Work Institute)
  • UK’s digital skills crisis A report by the Commons Science and Technology Committee has said that urgent action is needed to deal with the UK’s digital skills crisis or there is a risk of damage to the country’s productivity and competitiveness. Click here. It also urged the government to publish its digital strategy without delay. The report stated:
  • 22% of IT equipment in schools is ineffective.
  • Just 35% of computer science teachers had a relevant qualification.
  • Only 70% of the required number of computer science teachers have been recruited.
  • The UK needs another 745,000 workers with digital skills by 2017
  • 90% of jobs require digital skills to some degree.
  • Skills gap costs economy around £63bn a year in lost income Why are equality and diversity important in apprenticeships? Equality and diversity are becoming more important in all aspects of our lives and work.

We live in an increasingly diverse society and need to be able to respond appropriately and sensitively to the diversity around us in areas such as gender, race and ethnicity, disability, religion, sexual identity, class and age. The successful implementation of equality and diversity in all aspects of apprenticeships will help to ensure that individuals are valued, motivated and treated fairly.

The government has made a pledge to increase the number of BAME apprentices by 20% by 2020, which, if met, will go a long way to alleviating this situation.

The BAME Tech Apprenticeship Pledge Commitment will strive to increase the success rate for BAME young people applying for a tech apprenticeship. Therefore, by signing up to this pledge, you can make a major contribution to improving equality and diversity in tech apprenticeships.

The Pledge We commit to ensuring and promoting equality and diversity in our apprentice recruitment process and we have a clear, open policy on equality and diversity in the recruitment of apprenticesof all apprentices in our organisation, whatever their background; to encouraging applications from young people from diverse backgrounds; and to offering programmes that assist applicants from diverse backgrounds to be successful in our recruitment process.

1. Our ‘Equality and Diversity in the Recruitment of Apprentices Policy’ is available to all staff, job/apprenticeship applicants and is also published on our website. A director of our organisation has responsibility for ensuring adherence to our ‘Equality and Diversity in the Recruitment of Apprentices Policy’ and for monitoring and reporting on its effectiveness in terms of the recruitment and management of all our apprentices.

2. We actively monitor the success of our ‘Equality and Diversity in the Recruitment of Apprentices Policy’ and we publish the results within our organisation and on our website.

3. We recognise that young people from some backgrounds may have been educationally disadvantaged. We seek to redress this by providing training programmes for all young people who apply to us and show aptitude, so they can gain the skills they need to compete for apprenticeships within our organisation.

4. To ensure that all our apprentices from all backgrounds have the same opportunities for success, we monitor the progress of all our apprentices and provide mentoring and support to ensure the successful completion of their apprenticeship. 5. We offer genuine apprenticeships, where all our apprentices have the opportunity for full-time employment within our organisation on the successful completion of their apprenticeship, whatever their background.