From education to employment

Birmingham born Social Entrepreneur recognised as a fellow

SAFARAZ ALI, Birmingham born and bred Social Entrepreneur and Skills and Employability Sector Leader has been appointed as a Fellow of the Institute of Employability Professionals.

It is recognition of his work over 22 years of changing lives by upskilling and reskilling people as well as getting them into work, finding them better work and getting them to progress on to the career ladder.

During the 22 years, the time that Safaraz Ali has been involved in the employability and skills sector funding bodies and priorities have changed, starting off with Further Education Funding Council then moving on to Learning and Skills Councils then to Skills Funding Agency and now the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

The programmes covered have ranged from ESOL activity to NVQs funded under Train to Gain, in addition to Adult Community Learning, Youth Contract, Troubled families, the Innovation Fund as well a range of  European Social Fund activities covering Skills Support for Workforce, Skills Support for Unemployed, Skills Support for Redundancy, Skills Support for Work Programme as well as Functional Skills, Keys Skills, English and Math’s Qualifications.

In terms of employability, Safaraz’s experiences spans New Deal, Flexible New Deal, FND2, Work Programme and the current Restart programme.

The Pathway Group Co-Founder and CEO SAFARAZ ALI joins many of the leading names from the sector in promoting employability and works to share best practice and sets the standards for the profession.

Safaraz as well as being the Co-founder of Pathway Group is also founder of the Multicultural initiatives – Multicultural Apprenticeship Alliance and the Multicultural Apprenticeship Awards that started as the Asian Apprenticeship Awards and became the BAME Apprenticeship Awards before its most recent incarnation.

The Institute includes many of the leading names in promoting employability and works to share best practice and sets the standards for the profession.

His experience started with helping asylum seekers and refugees to learn English. Safaraz born into a family of Pakistani heritage living in inner city Birmingham. He struggled at school but then went back into education and graduated from Birmingham City University, before entering the corporate world where he worked for a number of private sector financial services businesses , including Britannic Assurance as well as Sandwell Council.

His hands on experience of running businesses began with his helping his father to run an independent shoe shop.

Getting started in helping with employability began as a volunteer working with Matthew Boulton College in Birmingham and taking education into the community, including going into Temples and Mosques.

“I made some headway with the Albanian, Eritrean and Bosnian communities,” said Mr Ali.

“We were teaching language programmes to refugees, to Somalians, Iraqi’s Afghans and others.”

At this point Safaraz realised that he had fund a life’s passion and set about making it a career and business.

The seeds of Pathway were sown many years ago and now this division employs nearly 200 people and seeks to impact more than 4,000 people a year. Pathway Group is well known within the Government funded skills and training sector and delivers for amongst others, the Greater London Authority and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and West Midlands Combined Authority

“We are working on HS2 contracts with railway engineering qualifications, as well as construction and health and social care levels and delivering in priority sectors and areas wherever we can. “Employability is a huge topic and touches many different people and impacts in so many different ways,” said Safaraz.

“There are those who are disadvantaged and may have missed out on education, there are people who in mid-career need to gain new skills, perhaps because of redundancy and there are also universities working with JobCentre Plus to help unemployed or under employed graduates.”

“Helping people get into work is not just about supporting them to equip them with skills and qualifications but building them up and helping them to find hope and realise that things can improve is also a big part of it.  We strive to change lives through skills and work. It is demanding but very rewarding”

“This fellowship is important for me because recognition from fellow professionals is very gratifying. I want to encourage others from my sector to also get involved and in this respect I will also promote this in any way I can.”

More about Safaraz Ali, amongst other responsibilities, Safaraz actively writes “Canny Bites, ” quick, informative, & impactful bites of business wisdom and has his own Podcast titled ‘Canny Conversations – compelling conversations with a cause’.

Safaraz is active and a Social CEO and operates several social media channels such as:

Related Articles