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Islington Council under fire for not employing young ethnic minorities

PUBLISHED: 08:10 03 January 2012 | UPDATED: 09:07 04 January 2012

Grace Fleary

Grace Fleary

Dieter Perry

A teenage singer has attacked the council for not hiring enough young ethnic minorities from housing estates.

One out of 3,153 directly employed council workers is non-white British, aged between 18 and 25 and from the Andover, Packington, Bemerton or Six Acres estates – according to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request obtained by the Gazette.

Grace Fleary, 18, from Highbury who won Islington’s Got Talent in 2010, said: “These numbers are shocking. You hardly ever see young people working in the council which is embarrassing.

Stigma

“We pride ourselves on being diverse but that is not the case if they are not employing people of colour and vulnerable young people.”

Grace, a voluntary youth worker, continued: “Young people got stigmatised after the riots, but they can take that stigma away by giving them jobs.

“The council should employ young people to find out what opportunities other young people on the estates want – rather than guessing.”

She added: “It only wants to help after they get into trouble and that’s just wrong.”

Cllr Terry Stacy, leader of the Islington Liberal Democrats, said the council should work closely with City and Islington College to discover what skills young people may need.

He added: “What are the barriers and why is this figure so low? The council must answer these questions.”

Future

The FoI revealed the council hires a total of 18 workers from the estates.

A council spokesman said: “We employ 204 young people aged between 18 and 25 at the council (56 live in Islington) which increases in spring with 35 new apprentices.

“New recruitment guidance will support us in employing more young people from our estates.

“We will shortly be welcoming our first junior assistants aged between 13 and 14 from the Andover Estate in a variety of admin and practical positions in libraries, the town hall, parks and on our streets.”

He added: “We are working closely with Islington businesses to increase apprenticeships, mentoring, work experience and jobs offered locally.”


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