Call for evidence into work-related inequality

Access to work001

Joseph Amazou

​Committee to examine persistent inequality faced by ethnic minority Scots

23rd June 2015 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Challenges faced by Scotland’s ethnic minorities when trying to access work are set to be heard at Holyrood.

The Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee (EOC) has launched an inquiry into race, ethnicity and employment and is calling for views from ethnic minority groups across Scotland, as well as employers and community groups.

It comes as a recent study reports persistent inequalities by ethnicity in rates of participation in employment, self-employment and unemployment among those living in England and Wales.

Data from the 2011 census shows similar inequalities persist in Scotland - in particular, it highlights significantly higher rates of unemployment for some ethnic minority groups, as compared with the Scottish population as a whole. 

I started to wonder if having my picture and name on my CV made the difference

Margaret McCulloch MSP, convener of the EOC, said: “If you come from an ethnic minority background, and want to access the same job opportunities many people take for granted, the committee understand you can face significant barriers.

“Have you experienced challenges in accessing employment support and advice, and what are your experiences of employment?

“We want to engage with you, understand your views and encourage positive action on your behalf.”

Joseph Amazou, an under-20s triple jump champion, said he struggled for years before finding a job before gaining an apprenticeship with North Glasgow Housing Association.

“The problems started when I left school,” he said.

“I was at college, but getting a job was definitely my goal. A white, Scottish friend and I would go out together looking for work. We would hand in our CVs, But even though we had the same qualifications, he got the calls.

“I thought putting my picture on my CV would show I’m smart and presentable. But then I started to wonder if having my picture  - and name - on my CV made the difference.”

Eventually Amazou found employment support from African Challenge Scotland.

He added: “African Challenge Scotland told me about the Commonwealth Apprenticeship and encouraged me to apply. It was very competitive, but they supported me all the way. There were only six places. I was thrilled to be chosen.”

The official deadline for submitting evidence is 30 June 2015 but the committee said it would be flexible with this deadline for later submissions.  

It will produce a report on its findings including policy recommendations later this year.