Safaraz (Saf) Ali

Social entrepreneur and is the CEO & Co-Founder of Pathway Group.

CEO & Co-Founder 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 Group 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

The Multicultural Apprenticeship Awards recognises Multicultural British Apprentices, their employers and learning providers

The Multicultural Apprenticeship Awards, previously known as the (BAME Apprenticeship Awards and Asian Apprenticeship Awards) is Safaraz’s most significant 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. In addition, 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. Sarfaraz’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 Multicultural Apprentices nationwide, aspiring to translate this to the wider UK workforce where BAME representation would be worth £24 billion per year to the economy.

Network, Learn and Grow


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.

Multicultural Apprenticeship Alliance promoting social mobility, diversity, inclusion and equity in apprenticeships

Safaraz Ali, founder of the Multicultural Apprenticeship Alliance, has committed to transforming the apprenticeships and employability landscape. This alliance, known initially as the ‘BAME Apprenticeship Alliance’ when it was founded in 2017, has emerged as a prominent force in promoting social mobility, diversity, inclusion, and equity.

Under Safaraz Ali’s leadership, the Multicultural Apprenticeship Alliance operates based on three fundamental pillars:

  • – Educate
  • – Engage
  • – Advocacy & Policy

These pillars drive the alliance’s mission to ensure that apprenticeship opportunities are accessible to individuals from all backgrounds. Through education, engagement with various stakeholders, and advocacy for inclusive policies, Safaraz Ali and the Multicultural Apprenticeship Alliance strive to bring positive, lasting changes that benefit society.

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MAA Empowers UCB
Lloyds bank MAA
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The Big Assembly
Lifetime Awards
Celebrating EDI

Connecting Apprentices with Apprentices

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

The Multicultural 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 Multicultural 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. Multicultural 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.

 Since 2017, Safaraz has been a judge for the Great British Entrepreneur Awards

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:

Attract, Retain and Grow your team to your business

Many business owners  and leaders alike have found his ‘bites’ genuine and refreshing:

Canny Conversations

Thank you stopping by – I thought long and hard about podcasting and the value that this will bring to the audience and in fact who the audience was. I wrote my initial thoughts in an article published on LinkedIn, titled…

I even state in my piece that my podcast is not about perfection, it is journey of continuous improvement where I will converse openly and share any evolving viewpoints, at the end of the day in most podcasts that I have recorded it is just me sitting down and sharing my views, experiences and attempting to communicate a message.

At the end, the objective is that these conversations challenge and cannily captivate. Let me know if they do or otherwise! Is there anything you would like me to mention on future podcasts? Or invite me as a guest on your platform then give me a shout. I am always open and genuinely seeking feedback to improve and deliver more impact, so please share your thoughts (do not hold back). Anyway, I would love to hear from you…

Canny Conversations - Series Review Part3
Canny Conversations - Series Review Part 2
Canny Conversations - Series Review Part 1
Canny Conversations - Focus
Canny Conversations - Entrepreneurship
Canny Conversations - The Books
Canny Conversations - Beliefs
bamboo tree thinking
it all starts with you
The New Normal

Safaraz Ali, Featured in the Business Influencer Magazine

Are you failing
Scaling Up Success
Why more business leaders
Great People make Great Businesses
Scaling a Business
It starts with Trust
Scaling your business
Every problem is
Importance of Social Entrepreneurship
The Hidden Truth about Business Books

The FE Podcast, Further Education Insights

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!

FE Podcast 1
FE Podcast Steve O'Hare
FE Podcast Steve Lawrence
FE Podcast Victoria Sylvester

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.

Let’s connect!