The Cardiff Bay area has been well developed over the last two decades, with lots of big-name businesses and organisations having a presence. However, many living nearby in Butetown, Riverside and Grangetown still feel underrepresented; be it at the Welsh Parliament, Local Authority or within many of the major businesses.
Following a lot of one-to-one conversations and a listening campaign in the local community, we particularly heard from many graduates who successfully completed their degree struggle to find jobs after university. It was clear that unfair employment practices and a lack of local employment opportunities existed, particularly in areas in and around Cardiff.
With this in mind , we launched the Community Jobs Compact for Employers to become signatories and for us to build a relationship with them
Employers who sign the Community Jobs Compact will:
Pay a Living Wage: accredit as a ‘Living Wage for Wales’ employer, paying all staff and contractors at least £9.50 an hour;
Tackle Under-representation of the Local Community in the Workforce: recruit using name-blind and address-blind CVs and/or guarantee an interview to local residents who meet the criteria.
Introduce unconscious bias training for interviewers;
Provide Job Security and Development: ensure all staff have the option of a minimum hours contract, and demonstrate opportunities for growth and development, for instance through internal career progression and mentoring.
For employers who sign the Compact, we in turn will:
Promote job opportunities in the community and encourage local people to apply;
Provide support to local people to complete applications and prepare for interview;
Signpost employers to organisations who can support you to implement the Compact commitments.
The campaign has been very successful , our action team of leaders who spearhead this campaign have had many major employers sign the compact such as ITV Wales, IKEA, Welsh Parliament for Wales, WCVA, Keep Wales Tidy, BAWSO, Cynnal Cymru, The Mentor Ring and Cardiff Community Housing Association and many more. The impact of this has been huge , we have had many people from our diverse communities successfully get into employment and into apprenticeships with these employers which are starting to truly reflect the communities they are based in and serve.
The campaign is still very much active and on-going. Our leaders know the importance of tackling discrimination , poverty wages and under-representation in Cardiff. We are working on getting more employers to become a signatory and work to implement the compact whilst working with us to promote job opportunities in the communities.
From our campaign we learned a lot about organising and the impact it can have. For anyone wanting to start a campaign or want any tips , it is important to consider the first stages of listening to individuals and the community for stories from people affected by the issues directly and building an alliance of groups and individuals to support the campaign . We knew we can’t sit idly by waiting for change to happen as Martin Luther King said “The time is always right to do what is right” but it takes time and patience to achieve change but with passion and a team of leaders , it is possible.
Case Study: Senedd Cymru/ Welsh Parliament
What were the issues?
Many living close to the iconic building in nearby Butetown, Grangetown and Riverside feel underrepresented at the Senedd, within the local authority and within many of Cardiff’s major businesses. The Welsh Parliament apprenticeships schemes had low numbers from those from BAME backgrounds.
Following a lot of one-to-one conversations and a listening campaign in the local community, we particularly heard from many graduates who had successfully completed their degree and then struggled to find jobs after university. It was clear that unfair employment practices and a lack of local employment opportunities existed, particularly in areas in and around Cardiff.
The Action Plan
As signatories; Welsh Parliament agreed to promote job opportunities in the community and encourage local people to apply, provide support to local people to complete applications and prepare for interviews, and signpost employers to organisations who can support them to implement these commitments.
At the launch of the apprenticeship programme, we;
Promoted job opportunities in the community and encourage local people to apply; through our mailing and local community networks with schools, mosques, temples, churches, and community organisations.
Provide support to local people to complete applications and prepare for interview; we supported individuals in applying for the programme with the help of the Into Work Team at Cardiff Council.
‘Drop Ins’ we invited the Senedd Cymru Team to discuss and promote their apprenticeship programme in the local community as part of an ‘employer engagement event’, with families and individuals looking for job opportunities dropping but in various hubs and community spaces to find out more about the roles.
“We received 78 applications this year. This is the greatest number of applications we have ever received and over double the number of eligible applications we received last year. This is more than ever before… combined!! This showed that the application workshops had improved the quality of applications considerably in comparison to previous schemes.”
“I just wanted to let you know the latest from our apprenticeship scheme. We have finished the sift and 13 out of 14 BAME candidates who applied have been invited to our assessment centre. This is more than ever before!! I am positive that this is because of the work you have done with us and the advice you have given along the way. BIG THANKS!!”
“After the assessment centre, we interviewed 9 BAME candidates (which again, is more than we’ve ever had before!!) to the interview stage and two of the three apprentices who scored the highest marks identified as BAME.”
Award Winning Work
Senedd Cymru/ Welsh Parliament signed up to the Citizens Cymru Wales Community Jobs Compact in 2018, a scheme that aims to bring local people and employers together to tackle poverty, unemployment and under-representation in the workforce
Then Citizens Cymru Wales’ 2019 Apprenticeship Scheme Outreach resulted in in an increase in applications from 79 in 2018-19 to 135 in 2019-20 and a 43% increase in applications from BAME candidates.
Gold Winner: National Assembly for Wales: Re-shaping our apprenticeship scheme
One of the Welsh Assembly’s strategic goals is to engage with the people of Wales. In working towards this objective, we helped them to re-shape their apprenticeship scheme to better engage with the BAME community and to reinforce their commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
The HR team at the Welsh Assembly challenged themselves to increase the number of BAME applicants while improving the quality of applications to ensure a competitive recruitment process. They achieved this by focusing their resources on face-to-face engagement and developed an outreach plan which involved a number of visits to BAME communities across the whole of Wales.
In addition, they co-designed a new application form with members of the BAME community and piloted a blind sift as part of the recruitment process. They also conducted bespoke unconscious bias training for panel members and assessors. By working with the BEAT and Citizens Wales, they’ve been able to remove barriers and provide opportunities for the people of Wales.