Today’s news review looks at coverage of a Women and Equalities report on employment opportunities for Muslim women and also new research published by the Federation of Small Businesses on the apprenticeship levy.
Today, 11 August, the Women and Equalities Select Committee published a report examining employment opportunities for Muslims.
The report generated widespread coverage, including the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Sun and the Times, and was also covered on broadcast outlets including the BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme and Sky News this morning.
Coverage focused on the report’s finding, which suggests Muslim women are being turned down from jobs due to their religion. A number of outlets also focus on the Prevent programme.
The Times highlights that the Prevent programme has enabled those at risk of radicalisation to be identified early, including the role schools and teachers play in this. Furthermore, the paper makes the point that France and Germany are introducing similar programmes. This is a Home Office policy.
It is important to note that:
- There are now 340,000 Muslim women in employment, compared to 234,000 in 2011 – an increase of 45%. The unemployment rate for Muslim women has also decreased from 23% in 2011 to 16% by 2015.
- The UK has some of the strongest anti-discrimination legislation in the world. The protections in the Equality Act 2010 mean that it is unlawful to discriminate against, harass or victimise someone because of their religion, including all forms of Islamic belief.
A Government spokesperson said:
The Government is committed to making Britain a country that works for everyone. We want all people, regardless of their faith or gender to have access to the same opportunities so that they can reach their full potential.
We are making progress – for example, there are now 45% more Muslim women in work than in 2011 – but we know there is much more to do.
We will look carefully at the recommendations and respond in due course.
Today, 11 August, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) published new research suggesting that the apprenticeship levy has the potential to create one million new apprentice positions.
However, the FSB warns that the Government needs a clear support strategy, including incentives, for smaller businesses in order for the levy to work. This has been picked up in the Times and regional media.
We are clear that small businesses have a key role to play in boosting apprenticeships. We will publish further details on how the apprenticeship levy will work, including for small businesses, and how we intend to support employers to provide high quality training opportunities that will benefit people across the country.
Skills Minister Robert Halfon said:
As FSB’s research shows, small businesses have a central role in boosting apprenticeships. Many more small employers could be reaping the benefits of apprenticeships, transforming life chances and providing a ladder of skills and training opportunities for people across the country.
To make sure that businesses can invest in skills with confidence, we are driving up the quality of apprenticeships by giving employers the power to design and deliver the training they know works. Through the new apprenticeship levy we are also boosting funding for apprenticeships and helping to build the highly skilled future workforce that the UK needs.