A former human resources director is to work with government ministers to improve the job prospects of young black men in the UK.
Clive Lewis, ex-HR director at retailer Gap and DIY giant Kingfisher, will help communities secretary Hazel Blears to develop a national role-model scheme aimed at boosting the number of positive black role models.
The programme, officially launched last week, aims to recruit 20 black role models to counteract the perception of a culture of low ambition and attainment among young black men.
Tim Campbell, a former winner of reality TV show The Apprentice, and Metropolitan Police superintendent Leroy Logan are among those on the selection panel.
The scheme was set up in response to an independent report, published in August, which highlighted the barriers some black men face in achieving their potential. The report looked at concerns that the only images of successful black men were those of sportsmen, or rap artists who glamorise crime, guns and gangs.
Lewis, who chaired the group that produced the report, told Personnel Today the role models could be businessmen, doctors, entrepreneurs or lawyers.
“The easy work has been done pulling together thoughts from different communities about what we need to do and presenting recommendations to government,” he said.
“Phase two – implementation – is where the hard work starts.”