BBC1 highlights poor prospects for young black men
CYT charity hopes to offer aspiring apprentice a placement
An aspiring construction apprentice who appeared in a Panorama documentary this week about the poor employment prospects faced by young black men could be given a helping hand by industry charity The Construction Youth Trust (CYT).
The documentary Jobs for the boys?, broadcast on BBC1 on Monday May 13, and presented by ex-England defender Sol Campbell, examined the situation facing black men aged 16-24 in the UK, who are now twice as likely to be out of work than their white male counterparts.
As part of the programme Campbell spent six months with four unemployed young black men, including 21-year-old Londoner Abdee Hakim Mohammed, the son of a refugee, who despite having passed a taster course in building services engineering and writing more than 400 job applications, remained unemployed and on Job Seekers Allowance.
The CYT has been in contact with the programme’s makers to ask if Hakim Mohammed might be suitable to sign up to its Budding Brunels programme, which aims to recruit youngsters from diverse ethnic backgrounds into higher level technician apprenticeships.
Christine Townley, executive director at the CYT, told CM: “Through the scheme we’re working with the likes of Arup, Mott MacDonald and Transport for London to recruit apprentices and help them progress to becoming civil engineers or M&E building services specialists, which could be a great opportunity for this young man if he’s suitable.”
The unemployment rate for young black men is almost 49%, more than double the figure for young white men, according to the Office of National Statistics.
Meanwhile, African Caribbean graduates are three times more likely to be unemployed than white graduates, showing that even those with qualifications find it harder to move into jobs.
“More needs to be done to get young black men in front of the industry,” added Townley. “Most construction firms are willing to take on young black workers, but they don’t necessarily know how to access them through their traditional recruitment processes, and young black men are also unaware that those processes exist or they don’t see construction as a profession that is suitable for them. Ultimately it’s about opening eyes to see talent where we haven’t seen it before.”