There are considerable differences in the characteristics and
circumstances of people within and across different minority ethnic
groups. This will affect their employability in different
ways. Differences in labour market outcomes within and across
groups can be related to:
- discrimination - unequal treatment by employers related to
race, colour or religion;
- different levels of education and training;
- where people live - whether they live in areas with lower
levels of employment and fewer job opportunities;
- gender, disability and age;
- for refugees and migrants, different levels of English language
- different cultural factors which affect likelihood of
participating in the labour market.
It is important not to have preconceptions about clients just
because they come from a specific community and therefore person -
centred and holistic assessment is a critical part of the
The assessment process can be enhanced by including questions
which elicit specific information to improve support for minority
ethnic clients. Bridges Programmes, which works with refugees
and migrants, has a comprehensive data collection process which
helps them provide appropriate support to clients with a range of
different backgrounds and needs. Useful questions
- How do you pronounce your name? Or are you known by another
- Are you here with your family?
- If you have a partner does he/she want information about the
- Are you receiving benefits?
They also record:
- Current status (for example if someone is still going through
- Whether someone has PVG
- Whether the client is registered with other agencies
- Education in country of origin and education in the UK
- Language skills
- Job history, both in country of origin and the UK
- Any membership of a professional body
The full data collection form can be accessed on the Employability in Scotland website.
Refugees, asylum seekers and migrants can all benefit from
employability support. Most have rights to work as
- Refugees are people whose application for asylum have been
accepted by the government and recognised as needing protection
under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention. People who have refugee
status, Indefinite Leave to Remain, Humanitarian Protection or
Discretionary Leave to Remain have the same rights to work and
benefits as anyone else.
- Asylum seekers are people who are not yet recognised as a
refugee under the 1951 Convention. It is a human right to seek
asylum in another country. Some asylum seekers have permission to
work, generally if they have waited over a year for their initial
decision on whether they have been given leave to remain in the
- Migrants are people who come to Scotland looking for work. It
is generally expected that migrants will be able to support
themselves without any support from public funds. Czech, Estonian,
Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Slovakian, Slovenian
Bulgarian and Romanian nationals do not need to obtain permission
before they work in the UK. People who are not from the European
Economic Area (EEA) and who are applying for leave to remain (or to
extend leave to remain) do not have access to benefits like income
based Jobseekers Allowance, income support, tax credits and housing
benefit. From 1 January 2014 all EU jobseekers will have to
wait for 3 months before they can apply to claim income-based
Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA). After 3 months, migrants will also
have to take a test if they want to claim income-based JSA.
The UK Border Agency provides more information on
Assessing skills is a critical part of the assessment process
for all employability services. However, some of the people
we spoke to in the course of producing the toolkit said that it can
be difficult to identify skills because some people from minority
ethnic backgrounds are not used to talking about their skills.
Holistic assessment to identify people's skills, talents,
educational background as well as their needs is appropriate.
Often people from minority ethnic groups are not used to presenting
themselves and this needs to be brought out so that this can go
into their CVs. Clients can find it difficult to identify
their transferable skills. A full and skilful assessment and
is needed to establish these.
Bridges Programmes in Glasgow carry out an extensive skills
audit with clients to assess skills in a range of areas including:
communication - written and spoken; working with numbers;
information technology; and practical and other skills.
The Bridges skills audit tool is available on the Employability
in Scotland website.
Bridges also use the Reflection Toolkit to help people reflect
on their learning which can be useful in assessment. This is
an open resource developed by Bridges and the Open University
available on the Open Univeristy website.
If clients have existing qualifications from overseas these can
be assessed through obtaining information about how they relate to
Scottish qualifications. There are different ways of doing
The National Recognition Information Centre for the UK
(UKNARIC) databases provide information about vocational,
academic and professional skills and qualifications from all
over the world. This can provide clarity about the skills and
qualification levels held by clients.
Access to the online databases is through membership packages
for 12, 24 or 36
The Open University's open credit transfer can be useful to start
the process of understanding overseas qualifications.