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Safaraz (Saf) Ali

Social entrepreneur and is the co-founder & Head of Pathway Group.
As the CEO of Pathway Group, Safaraz is committed to continual development and growth for himself, 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 Ali - Think Apprenticeships
Safaraz has been instrumental in Pathway delivering a very wide range of programmes over a period of 20 years now starting off 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 just to name a few.
Safaraz Ali - Group photo at Peer Meetup
The BAME Apprenticeship Awards (previously known as Asian Apprenticeship Awards) is probably Safaraz’s greatest legacy and the work he has done 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 as 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.
The aim of the awards was therefore 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 be taken to increasing the numbers of 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
As part of this continued commitment, Safaraz is a Founder and Chair of the BAME Apprenticeship Alliance: an organisation aiming to promote ethnic diversity within apprenticeships by sharing good practice and encouraging organisations to talk about the issues and possible solutions. Since its inception in 2017, it has attracted patronage from organisations such as Coca Cola, Seven Trent, The Royal Air Force and World Skills UK.
Safaraz was honoured that the Alliance was recognised in the UK State of Engineering Report as being, “An organisation, which works in partnership with the engineering community to promote the vital role of engineers and engineering and to inspire the next generation”.
The BAME Apprenticeship Alliance has contributed to many surveys and works including the research report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission ‘Positive action and apprenticeships: exploring positive action as a tool to address underrepresentation’.
In 2012, Safaraz had a vision to bring about change within business networking.
To achieve that goal, he created Pathway2Grow: a networking organisation with the tag line “Network, Learn and Grow”.
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.
In recognition of his position within the business and social entrepreneurial community, Safaraz has been asked to judge a number of awards. For the last four years Safaraz is 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.
Safaraz Ali
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 which is titled: Attract, Retain and Grow your team to you’re your business. Many business owners  and leaders alike have found his ‘bites’ genuine and refreshing.
Overall, Safaraz is a strong advocate of social entrepreneurship in order to make a difference in people’s lives. Social and profit for purpose business are the main drivers behind everything he does in order to create entrepreneurial mindsets, have a positive impact and change lives.

Safaraz Ali, CEO of Pathway Group

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