From education to employment

Safaraz Ali Recognised as Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2024 by British Asians Who’s Who

In a remarkable testament to his lifelong commitment to social entrepreneurship, Safaraz Ali has been honoured as the Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2024 by British Asians Who’s Who. With over two decades of relentless dedication to enhancing lives through skills development and employability, Safaraz’s journey began in 2000 when he co-founded the Pathway Group. This organisation quickly established itself as a pivotal force in transforming the landscape of skills and employability in the UK.

Under Safaraz’s leadership as CEO, the Pathway Group has flourished, offering a broad spectrum of programmes from ESOL and adult community learning to innovative employability schemes like the Work Programme and Restart programme. The focus has always been on creating career opportunities rather than just courses and training for the sake of training. It has carved a niche with employability, Bootcamps and working particularly with younger people and disadvantaged groups.

Perhaps one of Safaraz’s most influential initiatives has been the Multicultural Apprenticeship Awards, established in May 2016. Initially known as the Asian Apprenticeship Awards and later the BAME Apprenticeship Awards, these accolades were created to tackle the severe underrepresentation of British Asians in apprenticeships, which stood at just 4.1% of starts when the awards were founded. Safaraz’s insight into the community’s perceptions and his drive to alter them fundamentally changed the trajectory for countless individuals and employers alike.

These awards, and the broader work through the Multicultural Apprenticeship & Skills Alliance, aim not only to celebrate the achievements of apprentices from diverse backgrounds but also to catalyse a broader acceptance and engagement with apprenticeship pathways. Safaraz’s vision was clear: to open up new avenues for Multiculturism and to encourage employers to harness this untapped potential, thus supporting the UK government’s goal of increasing social mobility.

Reflecting on his award, Safaraz remarked:

“Being recognised as the Social Entrepreneur of the Year is not just a personal accolade but a spotlight on the vital importance of diversity and inclusion in everything we do. This award reaffirms our commitment through our Multicultural brands to continuously drive change and foster an environment where all individuals have the opportunity to succeed.”

Safaraz’s commitment to career development and progression is evident in every facet of his work, emphasising continual learning and strategic innovation. His leadership not only steers the initiatives he has founded but also sets a benchmark for social entrepreneurship that is dedicated to tangible impacts and sustainable development.

This recognition from British Asians Who’s Who is more than a personal achievement for Safaraz; it is a resounding endorsement of a future where diversity, equity, and inclusion are not just aspirations but realities. With Safaraz at the helm, Pathway Group through all its various platforms is poised to continue its transformative work, shaping the futures of individuals and the fabric of communities across the UK.

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