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New Moving On Up Young Black Male Ambassadors Appointed

Author: Jeremy Crook OBE, Chief Executive, Black Training and Enterprise Group

Jeremy Crook, Chief Executive of Black Training and Enterprise Group (BTEG), outlines what’s next for the Moving on Up programme, an initiative that aims to increase employment opportunities for young black men in London.

MOU ambassadors collage

We are delighted to update you on our new Moving on Up Young Black Male Ambassador programme.

The Covid-19 emergency is impacting on the Moving on Up (MoU) programme. We are deeply concerned that youth unemployment will significantly rise in the capital and the crisis is set to make equalising opportunities for young black men an even greater challenge.

Historically, the employment rate for young black men has been lower than that of young white men. MoU was set up in 2014 to address this disparity and to increase the employment rate for young black men in London.

The MoU programme was informed by research commissioned by Trust for London and carried out by BTEG. It involved action research with young black male jobseekers and employment brokerage organisations.

Phase 1 was a two-year employment and learning programme. Nearly 300 young black men aged 16-24 years were supported into work. These were mainly roles in retail and security with low prospects.

The current second phase has six areas of focus:

  • Supporting young black men moving into good employment
  • Working with employers, particularly those in Tech, Construction and finance
  • Piloting two local collective impact partnerships (Brent & Newham)
  • Testing employer messaging to nudge recruitment behaviour change (Behavioural Insights Team)
  • MoU Young Black Male Ambassadors
  • Independent evaluation (Makerble).

A key part of the current phase has been the introduction of our MoU Ambassadors.

Following a successful social media campaign we were delighted to recruit eight Ambassadors from across London. Ranging in age from 16 to 23, our Ambassadors are a mix of young black men at school, college, work or about to look for their first job after graduation. They are passionate about having a voice on employment issues that impact them in a very real way. They are employed on a sessional basis to input into the project and share their views on what key stakeholders could be doing to recruit, support and progress people like them. The majority of Ambassadors live in Brent and Newham and want to see stronger connections with between employers and young black males as early as possible.

All are keen to get started on the project and have their voices heard.

Their voices will be crucial in shaping initiatives and approaches particularly around recruitment of young black men to the two Collective Impact Partnerships (CIPS) running in the London boroughs of Brent and Newham.

Our Ambassadors will work alongside Brent and Newham councils who are leading the CIPs, which comprise local stakeholder organisations working together on a shared vision to better support young black men into good quality employment. The Ambassadors will provide insights and contribute to conversations about raising the profile of MoU in these boroughs and across London. Trust for London and City Bridge Trust are directly funding the CIPs over two years.

In Newham, MoU work will be supported by West Ham United Foundation, New Direction in partnership with Badu Sport, and East London Business Alliance in partnership with Eagle London Agency.

In Brent, MoU work will be supported by Action West London, PLIAS, Access UK and Making the Leap as a consortium.

Our Ambassadors will attend the MoU Advisory Group meetings, chaired by Bola Abisogun OBE - so they can help shape the strategic direction of the programme and ensure it makes an impact.

They will also be attending the MoU Employer Champions groups - one for Tech firms and a joint one covering Construction and Finance - to hear from employers what would encourage them (and others in their sector) to take a more proactive approach to improving opportunities for young black men.

We believe it is crucial for young black men to have two-way conversation with employers.

No! All of our Ambassadors will take part in an induction and meet all MoU key stakeholders. They will also inform and benefit from leadership and communications training, and other support, to develop a range of transferable skills that they can use beyond their involvement in MoU.

We are always looking for enthusiastic people to include in our work, as well as employers to work with young people and/or support the project as a donor.

For more information, please visit the BTEG website.