The best of both worlds is an accurate way to describe how I feel about my cultural heritage as a Pakistani and the place I call home, England.
Pakistan and England may be miles apart in distance yet both countries share more commonality than you may think! From our joint love of a cuppa or chai as they call it in Pakistan to the game that unites the hearts of both countries, cricket.
My personal connection to Pakistan stems back to the 1950s when my grandparents arrived in this country to start a better life. Looking back at my grandparents’ journey, I am proud to be part of an England that helped many through adversity. Equally I hope to contribute to building a better Britain through my work at the Youth Futures Foundation.
One of the standout values of Youth Futures, that resonates with me most, is our core mission of improving employment outcomes for young people from marginalised backgrounds in England.
The report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities highlighted unemployment rates amongst young people from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds is significantly higher in comparison to other ethnic groups. As a Pakistani woman I can relate to the discrimination that can exist for ethnic minorities in the workplace and the difficulties in securing and maintaining meaningful employment.
I believe more needs to be done to understand and address the systemic barriers that prevent young ethnic minorities accessing employment opportunities. I am proud to be a part of an organisation that is identifying the complex driving forces behind unemployment for young people by mapping the youth ecosystem. It heartens me that the voices of many young people are represented in this research project, including the voice of young people of Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage.
Youth Futures support of grant programmes, working directly with employers through our Employer Advisory Board and the ongoing curation of evidence on what works is truly the first step in bringing about much needed change to the youth employment landscape.
Despite us nearing the end of South Asian Heritage Month I would like to end by raising a cup of chai with you in celebration of diversity and a more inclusive Britain!
Annum Mahmood, Partnerships Manager