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Minister for the cabinet office Mo Mowlam has emphasised the ...
Minister for the cabinet office Mo Mowlam has emphasised the

government's determination to create an equal and just society when

she presented awards at the National Mentoring Consortium's annual

fundraiser and award ceremony.

Ms Mowlam said:

'I am delighted to present these awards this afternoon and to

acknowledge the commitment of so many people in Britain to tackling

racism and inequality. I have a fundamental belief in equality and

want to ensure that everyone in our society, regardless of creed,

colour, gender and disability, has the same chance to succeed.

'This is what the National Mentoring Consortium, and its director,

Norman McLean, are all about; championing the cause of real equality

and opportunity and inspiring a better future for undergraduates from

ethnic minority backgrounds.

'Minority ethnic communities experience a double disadvantage. They

are disproportionately concentrated in deprived areas and suffer the

problems affecting all the people in these areas, but they also bear

the consequences of racial discrimination, services that fail to

reach them or meet their needs, and language and cultural barriers in

gaining access to information and services.

'Members of ethnic minority communities are also twice as likely to

be unemployed, despite being more likely than white people to stay on

in higher or further education. A few simple statistics show the

extent of this discrimination:

- in 1998, 79% of ethnic minority people were in education or

training at 18, compared to 67% of their white contemporaries;

- but an African-Caribbean graduate is more than twice as likely

to be unemployed than a white person with 'A' levels;

- if you are an African man with a degree, you are seven times

more likely to be unemployed than a graduate who is white and


'There can be no place for prejudice if we are to build a genuinely

fair and enterprising society where everyone has the same

opportunities in life.'

In conclusion, Dr Mowlam said:

'As a government we believe that eliminating discrimination, where

ever it is to be found, will make a better Britain for us all. We

believe too that we should take a lead and put our own house in order

- that is why diversity and equal opportunities are a major part of

the 'Modernising government White Paper' which we launched last year.

We must use all means possible to make the civil service an

attractive career option for everyone to ensure that Britain's public

services reflect the diversity of society as a whole.'


1. The civil service is keen to attract recruits from all the

ethnic minority communities, and the 'Modernising government White

Paper' in March 1999, set the target of doubling ethnic minority

representation in the senior civil service over the next five

years. The White Paper is available on the world wide web:

2. The National Mentoring Consortium is the largest mentoring

organisation in Europe, supported by over 250 employers of all

types, universities and schools. It aims to support undergraduates

from ethnic backgrounds into graduate positions, aided by mentors

within business who advise them on the options available for their

future careers.

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