An employment event held at The Scottish Parliament last week attracted almost one hundred people from Scotland’s Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities.
The event aimed to build on the modest improvements in applications and appointments from BME communities to work at the Scottish Parliament in recent years. Delegates ranged from university students to representatives from organisations such as the Black Community Development Project and Shakti Women’s Aid.
Among the activities on offer were interactive workshops covering the Scottish Parliament’s application and interview process and the chance to speak to staff from different parliamentary business areas such as finance, human resources, committee clerks and media relations about their jobs. There was also a tour of the building and the opportunity to apply for work placements and current vacancies with the SPCB.
Deputy Presiding Officer Trish Godman MSP said:
“The Scottish Parliament has a duty to reflect the wider community it serves which is why today’s event was so important. Vacancies in the Parliament are filled by the most able and skilled people. If our statistics signal that we are under-represented by black and minority ethnic people then we are also under-represented in terms of their talents and skills, abilities and experience and the qualities they can bring to the Parliament. We hope today will go some way in addressing the balance.”
Manal Ibrahim, student said:
“In the last few years I think Scotland has become a truly multi-ethnic country and I think that the Scottish Parliament like other organisations realises that if we are all integrated at work then we share our lives in general. That has to be a positive thing as we all learn from each other.”
Nazim Ali, Sales and IT specialist said:
“It has been a really positive experience today finding out exactly what the Scottish Parliament is looking for in terms of our talents. The workshops on interview techniques have been particularly useful.”
The Scottish Parliament continually strives to improve the representation of our staff from the black and minority ethnic communities. According to the 2001 Scottish Census, 2.2% of the population is a member of the black and minority ethnic population. Current figures for members of the BME community working at The Scottish Parliament stand at 1.6%. Attempts to improve these figures have already been made such as attending BME job fairs and targeting specialist press and organisations.