In our drive to closing the diversity gap, we are further evolving and pushing forward with an enhanced offer to unlocking talent and having a diverse and skilled workforce.

Update on the BAME Apprenticeship Awards & Introducing the new BAME Apprentice Network

Going forward, you will see us drive efforts and channel our activity through the BAME Apprentice Network, this is to further our attempt to move from just Intent to Intervention and Implementation,

We believe we have made huge strides in this space, yet there is so much still to do! Its become clear that its less now about policy and advocacy as the government and organisations on the whole are generally ambitious and committed. We believe its more now than ever about raising aspirations further of indivduals and driving this change and wherever possible having apprentices at the heart of it.

The BAME Apprentice Network aims to contribute in changing the landscape of DEI within apprenticeships; to encourage and support employers and learning providers with practical steps in becoming more Diverse and Inclusive. Every person, regardless of their ethnicity or background, should be able to fulfil their potential at work. There is an economic and business case as well as the moral case to do so. Diverse organisations that attract and develop individuals from the widest pool of talent consistently perform better.

The BAME Apprentice Network will include a number of activities in its own right but will also encompass:

BAME Apprentice Network

My personal journey began with starting the Asian Apprenticeship Awards in 2016 after the then Business Secretary Sajid Javed MP set a target that BAME apprenticeship uptake must increase to 20% by 2020. At the time, I wasn't completely clear on how I was going to do this but I did see a clear need and an opportunity, and more importantly I felt we could contribute in some way. We did this first by targetting and focusing on the British Asian community. The awards we created were a way to raise awareness, celeberate success and inspire others - what became really clear was that the best way to promote and sell apprenticeships as a credible alternative routeway is by the Apprentices themseslves.

The Asian Apprenticeship Awards led on to us incubating and forming a think tank in the form of BAME Apprenticeship Alliance in 2017 and then rebranding the Asian Apprenticeship Awards to the BAME Apprenticeship Awards in 2020. Despite the difference we had made, I felt we’d barely scratched the surface and that there is a lot more we can do.

Big or little steps, if you have a vision and a justifiable cause, then starting and doing something is the key and then after that there is a fight for relavance and impact. To remain relevant and seize the opportunities present we need to adapt, evolve and change. It is this reason why I am now no longer officially involved with the BAME Apprenticehip Alliance, preferring to to continue our work in this area on a practical front. There is always time for talking and we are happy to do so where appropriate, however I believe we need to do more of the doing now and drive ahead on as many fronts as we can.

We will continue to engage and do our research and in this respect our 100 BAME Apprentices Report provides some insights. We wish to do more by creating an environment for all things practical when it comes to the Diversity in Apprenticeships agenda.

Get involved with BAME Apprentice Network by:

  • Becoming a DEI Pledge Signatory
  • Accessing DEI training material
  • Accessing DEI webinars & workshops
  • Job postings & CV Search for Apprentice positions
  • Contributing thought leadership content on our site
  • Promoting events jointly
  • Solus emails to our community
  • Webinar partnership and speaking opportunities
  • Social Media promotion

Where are we with the BAME Apprenticeship Awards?

The work done via the BAME Apprenticeship Awards in moving forward our cause can not be under appreciated, we will continue to invest in this – it really is the jewel in the crown and we will ensure its nurtured and developed accordingly. The awards give a vital platform to talented apprentices from BAME backgrounds and showcase them and the people that employ and train them.

In terms of other updates:

  • Nominations closed last week and this year we have receievd over 300 nominations for 2021, our best year ever! We will be revealing the shortlist on the 27th May on all our social media platforms.
  • Subject to government announcements we are planning an in person event which will take place on Thursday 30th September at the Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham. However we will have a contingency to run an online event if restrictions mean we cannot meet in person or will look to run a hybrid event if we have to reduce our numbers.

We will continue to engage and do our research and in this respect our 100 BAME Apprentices Report provides some insights. We wish to do more by creating an environment for all things practical when it comes to the Diversity in Apprenticeships agenda.

The Festival of Apprenticeships

  • We are developing an online careers fair that connects future apprentices with employers as well empowering job seekers and learners with the tools to succeed in CV writing and interviews.
  • Our ambition is to run an online as 2 day event which will showcase apprenticeship opportunities from wide range of employers from across the country.
  • Prospective apprentices will be given the opportunity to interact directly with employers and learn about the opportunities they have available.
  • In addition to the jobs fair, visitors will have the opportunity to hear from a wide array of apprentices who have completed their apprenticeship to get a real insight to what on the job training is really like.
  • Hosting of specialist workshops, consisting of employability skills, CV writing and interviewing.

100 BAME Apprentices Report

  • This research has been conducted to find out how we can further improve apprenticeship offerings to individuals from BAME backgrounds; through the future development of the BAME Apprentice Network and any employer support organisation.
  • 100 BAME apprentices were sampled and a questionnaire used to gather first-hand data of their experiences and views.

 BAME Apprenticeship Pledge – because it all starts with Intent.

  • A pledge to increase ethnic diversity, equity and inclusion across the Apprenticeship sector.
  • We aim to level the playing field for people of all backgrounds to have equal opportunities within employment through the positive promotion of apprenticeship opportunities.
  • We plan to transform how employers reach out, recruit, and progress their diverse workforce. Creating sustainability within diversity building culturally intelligent employers who have a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce.

Next step

  • I have outlined ways to get involved with the BAME Apprentice Network above, we are all about doing somthing practical, to make meaningful difference and we will continue to do so. We do this often in partnership and working together in a collaborative approach and it would be great to understand what more we can do with the challenges ahead.
  • In addition to that, for organisations that want to take a more proactive role in making a change we have created a membership to the BAME Apprentice Network, for more information, visit the website:
    • https://bameapprenticenetwork.com/dei-pledge/

Organisations already involved:

A final point, the cornerstone of our belief is…

“The best person to promote and sell apprenticeship programmes are apprentices themselves, this is where we will add additional focus, we will strive practically at all levels and this is where we need your support.”

There are plenty of ways to get involved, and as we say everything starts with a conversation. Contact me or my colleague Kasim and lets do what we need do!