People from minority ethnic communities can find it difficult to
access employability services. There are number of reasons for
- people do not know where to go to get help;
- they perceive services will be unhelpful;
- they feel services will not understand issues or be
- services may be inaccessible because of location, or the time
they are open or the way they are provided.
It is important that services carry out a regular critical
review to identify whether there are any barriers to services that
may be preventing target groups from accessing the service.
Employability services also need to be proactive and take positive
action to reach people from minority ethnic groups and engage them
Some employability projects have carried out research to
determine how they could reduce barriers to services. They talked
to organisations working with minority ethnic groups.
These organisations suggested reaching clients could be more
- developing relationships with minority ethnic organisations to
tap into their client base and expertise;
- using leaflets which have representation of the minority ethnic
- highlighting the confidentiality of the service;
- engaging with the community by having posters and leaflets
available in places worship, schools and community centres, as well
as having a presence at community events;
- raising the profile of minority ethnic staff working in the
organisation and the availability of interpreters;
- ensuring all staff have had equality and diversity
Employability services in Scotland have developed approaches to
reach people as shown in the examples of work below.
|The Youth Community Support Agency (YCSA) in Glasgow works with
minority ethnic young people aged 16-25. They find that a lot
of the young people coming to them are not accessing services for a
range of reasons including thinking that services will not meet
their needs. They are also developing partnerships with other local
agencies to try to reach more young people. Working with
other family members has helped them to engage more young
Fife reach people through workshops to promote their
service and networking with community groups. This networking is a
very important way of reaching people as not all of their clients
are in touch with Jobcentre Plus or other mainstream services which
normally refer to the service.
Once people have been referred, or have referred themselves, there
are particular factors are associated with keeping people engaged
with the service. These include:
- offering personalised and tailored help;
- knowing how to accommodate people with different
- ensuring clients have repeat contact with the same adviser -
who gets to know the client's circumstances;
- ability to access provision to tackle a range of barriers.
More examples of work are highlighted below.
ESF-funded employability providers took a number of steps to
increase engagement and participation of minority ethnic
individuals. These included the following.
- Arranging outreach events designed to target specific minority
ethnic communities. For example, one provider, in consultation with
elders of a local community, held an outreach event which led to a
significant increase in participation.
- Forging links with minority ethnic community and
voluntary sector groups to raise awareness of the service. This
route was seen as more effective than advertising in places like
Jobcentre Plus offices because the relevant groups would be more
likely to access them, and as trusted channels they could help to
overcome negative perceptions, suspicion or wariness of
- Learning from community and voluntary groups about issues
facing different participant groups and of the best ways to provide
help and support to them.
- Employing staff who could communicate with individuals for whom
English was not their first language. This helped improve
understanding and better meet clients' needs. It also raised
awareness of the relevance of employability provision amongst
non-English speaking communities.
- Helping participants to have their qualifications and skills
recognised in the UK by raising awareness of qualifications that
could be recognised in the UK or of qualification conversion
For more information please see the Evaluation of Gender Equality and Equal
opportunities within the European Social Fund report.
Communication with People who Need Language
Refugees and migrants may need language support. When
engaging people who need this support it is important to think
about communication. The way native speakers of English talk
naturally can create difficulties in understanding for people who
are not native speakers of English. The ESOL department at Glasgow
Clyde College identified several factors relating to native speaker
communication which can create barriers to understanding for new
learners of English. These include the following.
- How quickly someone speaks.
- Lack of repetition.
- High level of certain phrases or which might be unfamiliar
(such as 'on benefits').
- Using language which is too complicated.
- Using vocabulary which is too difficult or unfamiliar.
- Not checking whether someone has understood what has been
- Speaking with a local dialect/accent.
Practitioners can make a conscious effort (and monitor their own
speech) to make themselves more easily understood by new speakers
of English. The required techniques are relatively simple to
incorporate into work with clients and will improve understanding
on both sides. They include the following:
- Making sure the other person is listening.
- Simplifying speech - making sentences short and simple and
using common vocabulary.
- Slowing pace of delivery.
- Lessening any accent.
- Checking understanding.
- Repeating as necessary.
- Using other means of communication (e.g. miming, visuals, body