Jobs and training fair bridges gap between Somali community and opportunities

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Mayor John Biggs, Cllr Amina Ali and visitors at the Somali Task Force Jobs and training fair

More than 60 visitors and employers attended the Somali Taskforce jobs and training fair hosted by the council’s Somali Taskforce and WorkPath, the council’s partnership employment programme.

Mayor Biggs set up and commissioned the Somali Taskforce last year, to investigate the challenges facing Somali residents in Tower Hamlets. The taskforce found that residents of Somali origin are more likely to suffer from economic inequality due to factors such as language barriers.

Recommendations, by the taskforce include creating new employment opportunities, an internship scheme and improved targeted provision for English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL).

The training and employment fair on November 13 was a major step towards improving the life experience of Somali residents in the borough.

Joined by Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs and Cllr Amina Ali, chair of the Somali Task Force, visitors at the employment fair spoke to representatives of organisations including Transport for London; East London Business Association (ELBA); and the council’s careers service, enterprise, and Idea Store Learning teams.

Jobs seekers including school leavers, graduates and those looking to sign up for ESOL courses, learnt about apprenticeships, graduate schemes and other employment and training programmes.

Mayor John Biggs said:

“We know that the Somali community in Tower Hamlets faces significant challenges, including obstacles to employment and training. It is great to see employers and other partners working with the council to break some of the barriers down by offering targeted support to our Somali community.”

Chair of the Somali Taskforce, Cllr Amina Ali, added:

“The Somali community has a massive amount to offer Tower Hamlets.

The employment and training fair is just one way of addressing some of the issues preventing Somali residents from reaching their potential. It was encouraging to see so many organisations and employers offering a range of apprenticeships, graduate schemes, employment and other opportunities to visitors on the day.”

Visitors commended the council for hosting the event and welcomed the chance to engage with employers and pick up useful information and advice. “It does more to even out the playing field,” a visitor commented.

A handful of people who attended on the night have registered with WorkPath.

Businesses and organisations at the event said they would continue to work with the council to continue to support the Somali community and host similar events in the future.

Posted on Wednesday 22nd November 2017