Whenever the word ‘diversity’ is mentioned, there is usually one of two reactions. Some respond positively, recognising a willingness to create opportunities for those who may have previously been part of marginalised groups within society. Others may be negative, arguing it represents political correctness and box-ticking rather than genuine improvements.
Much of this might be tied in with some of the ‘culture war’ debates presently taking place, but from the perspective of most apprenticeship providers, the top priority is to find and nurture talented individuals who can do a great job, while young people will mainly want to get on and fulfil their potential without facing artificial barriers.
One pair of organisations that are taking on this issue are the Multicultural Apprenticeships Alliance (MAA) and the Ladder Foundation. They have formed a partnership with the aim being to promote diversity, inclusion and equity in apprenticeships in the West Midlands, the Express and Star reports.
Ladder Foundation chair Kevin Davis said: “I’ve always been inspired by the work of Multicultural Apprenticeship Alliance. I love their ongoing mission to bring about positive and lasting changes in the apprenticeships and employability landscape.”
The MAA, originally known as the BAME Apprenticeship Alliance when it was formed in 2017, has a stated aim to “engage with 10,000 people from underrepresented communities by 2024 through interactive engagement to educate and increase access to early career opportunities”.
The fact that many communities are underrepresented in apprenticeships means that there is a lot of talent out there not being realised. In seeking to bridge the gap, the MAA and this new partnership may help improve matters across the West Midlands region.
It is not just bodies like the MAA and the Ladder Foundation that are keen to boost diversity in apprenticeships. The government launched its own initiative with the same end in 2018.
It involved The National Apprenticeship Service working with firms in five cities in England to create more ethnic diversity in this area.