Safaraz (Saf) Ali

Social entrepreneur and is the co-founder & Head of Pathway Group.

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As the CEO of Pathway Group, Safaraz is committed to continual development along with growth for himself and his team which is reflected in all aspects of his ethos to business. Safaraz sees a key part of his role is to nurture and empower a high performing team that is committed to making a meaningful difference in all that they do.

Safaraz has been instrumental in Pathway delivering an extensive range of programmes over a period of 20 years, starting as an ESOL provider as well as delivering Train to Gain, Adult Community Learning, Youth Contract, Troubled families, Innovation Fund Innovation Fund, various ESF activity such as Skills Support for Workforce, Skills Support for Unemployed, Skills Support for Redundancy, Skills Support for Work Programme and also English and Maths Qualifications to name a few.

Safaraz Ali - Think Apprenticeships

BAME Apprenticeship Awards

The BAME Apprenticeship Awards (previously known as Asian Apprenticeship Awards) is Safaraz’s greatest legacy. His work towards the cause has laid the foundations for future generations.

Safaraz founded the awards in May 2016, with the first event held in November 2016. Safaraz realised that British Asians made up only 4.1% of apprentice starts and were severely under-represented. There was a stigma attached to apprenticeships, which were misunderstood by the community meaning that university was seen as the best and only option.

Safaraz knew that change was needed.

Therefore, the awards aimed to recognise and celebrate the talent and diversity amongst apprentices from the British Asian community and showcase their achievements.

Safaraz’s aspiration was that more British Asians would consider apprenticeships and more employers would provide work opportunities to benefit from their skills.

Outside of the awards, Safaraz continues to campaign for a collaborative approach to increase BAME apprentices nationwide, aspiring to translate this to the wider UK workforce where BAME representation would be worth £24 billion per year to the economy.

Shirley, Michelle & Saf - AMG 2019

BAME Apprentice Network

As part of this continued commitment Safaraz is a Founder and Chair of the BAME Apprentice Network Building a Diverse Community of Apprentices.

The BAME Apprentice Network has been created for Apprentices by Apprentices the BAME Community, Black, Asian, Minority, Ethnic (BAME) Apprentices, which aims to change the landscape of apprenticeships, empowering apprentices to develop personally and professionally, as well as championing change within the sector.

The BAME Apprentice Network acts as an aid for apprentices and supports employers on their journey to making a meaningful difference to their Diversity, Equality and Inclusion policy. BAME Apprentice Network is overseen by two significant committees, an executive committee and an apprentice committee that meet regularly to discuss issues and deliver our objectives.

In 2012, Safaraz had the vision to bring about change within business networking.

He created Pathway2Grow: a networking organisation with the tagline “Network, Learn and Grow” to achieve that goal.

Safaraz’s vision was to serve business communities nationally by running free events in partnership with business owners to grow their business by raising their personal and business profiles.

That vision is now a reality, with events being held in more than ten locations across the UK, over 100 events taking place every year, with over 10,000 business connections made so far.

Pathway2Grow Logo
Safaraz Ali - July 2021

In recognition of his position within the business and social entrepreneurial community Safaraz has been asked to judge several awards. Since 2017, Safaraz has been a judge for the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.

Safaraz has also judged the Birmingham Awards, UK Government’s National Apprenticeship Awards, Signature Awards and Nachural Entrepreneurship Awards.

Safaraz is happy to undertake these roles in a voluntary capacity as he sees the difference these events make in encouraging entrepreneurship and leadership development and feels he is a role model for small businesses encouraging wealth creation and growth.

Looking to grow your business? Need help building a winning team? Or just looking for some inspiration to keep your business going forward?

Amongst his other responsibilities, Safaraz found time to become a published author writing “Canny Bites”, which are Quick, informative & impactful bites of business wisdom. His third book is out now, titled: Attract, Retain and Grow your team to your business. Many business owners  and leaders alike have found his ‘bites’ genuine and refreshing:

Canny Conversations Podcast


Canny Conversations by Safaraz Ali shares his insights and experiences on entrepreneurialism, having a growth mindset and getting the best out of people.

Over 10 episodes in series  one Safaraz speaks with journalist Adrian Kibbler. These conversations are intended to challenge and cannily captivate. Let us know if they do or otherwise!

Canny Conversations Podcast Series 1 – Safaraz Ali

bamboo tree thinking
it all starts with you
The New Normal
pause to reflect
Fine Tuning Talent
getting Hiring Right
Talent Spotting
Are leaders Born
People Power
Reputation and Brand

Canny Conversations Podcast Series 2 – Safaraz Ali


FE Podcast

The FE Podcast

I have spent years as a social entrepreneur in the FE sector. Further Education is my life, it’s my career and also my passion & I want to do more to promote the good that the sector does and help all that work in it to do their best as well and this is why I am Podcasting.

My time and experience working as CEO at Pathway Group has taught me that we all need to stay relevant & that means being to open, sharing and learning. To this end I will be interviewing some of the most interesting and influential business leaders in the FE Sector on a range of topics, conversational of course!

Feel free to check back for more Further Education Sector Insights.

Safaraz Ali, Featured in the Business Influencer Magazine

Overall, Safaraz is a strong advocate of social entrepreneurship to make a difference in people’s lives. Social and profit for purpose business are the main drivers behind everything he does to create entrepreneurial mindsets, positively impact and change lives.

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