Earlier this year, research from the Learning and Work Institute found that people from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds account for just 10.5% of apprenticeship starts – despite making up 15.6% of the working-age population.

Here at The Growth Company, we believe opportunities are for all. That’s why we want to do our bit to drive up the number of BAME apprenticeships across our city-region and showcase just how valuable these communities are to our workforce. After all, we think apprentices should reflect the diverse nature of Greater Manchester.

So why are BAME individuals less likely to do an apprenticeship? It could be because they aren’t as engaged with apprenticeships in school or college. Degrees are still looked upon as the favourable option by BAME communities in terms of career opportunities, with many choosing to go down the traditional university route.

However, doing an apprenticeship doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice a degree – and maybe this is a message we need to get across to BAME communities. Apprenticeships are a great way for people from BAME backgrounds to gain real work experience, a salary and still have the chance to study for a degree if they choose to. The more we can do promote apprenticeships as a viable alternative to university, the more chance we have of getting more ethnic minorities on board.

Given that so many sectors are facing skills shortages, it’s more important than ever to offer quality apprenticeships to everyone, including those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. From digital to construction, there are numerous industries which need skilled individuals to be able to meet the demands of the future.

Increasing BAME apprenticeship uptake is a two-way conversation that needs to be had. Whilst it’s important to engage school and college leavers and sell the benefits of apprenticeships to them, we need to get more and more employers utilising their levy funds to train the talent of tomorrow and create world-class vocational skills, regardless of someone’s ethnicity.

Over to you

Let’s work together to create a diverse, skilled and empowered workforce for Greater Manchester and beyond. If you would like to find out more about how you can get involved or if you would like to work with us, please call 0161 233 2656 or email recruitment@theskillsco.ac.uk.