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The London Lab


Young individuals from Black and Minoritized backgrounds in the UK face a troubling reality, with double the likelihood of unemployment compared to their white counterparts on a national scale. Even within the diverse landscape of London, the gap narrows only slightly. This issue becomes particularly pronounced in certain London boroughs, such as Newham, where a substantial Black and Minoritized population exists, leading to a disproportionately high rate of unemployment among these communities.

Considering the persistent and deeply entrenched unemployment disparities faced by Black and Minoritized groups over decades, there is a compelling argument for targeted support initiatives within London. This prompts a critical examination of the existing employment support mechanisms aimed at facilitating the entry of Black and Minoritized communities into the labor market.

Furthermore, it is essential to assess the availability and effectiveness of local community support systems in addressing unemployment levels within Black and Minoritized communities. Such efforts not only serve as a response to a pressing socio-economic need but also contribute to broader societal welfare.

What is the project? 

The Ubele Initiative, in collaboration with The Youth Futures Foundation, has embarked on an exciting project aimed at establishing a solid evidence base for effective strategies to facilitate sustainable employment for young individuals from Black and Minoritized communities. This initiative involves close collaboration with key organizations across London, encompassing various facets of the employment and unemployment landscape.

Through the utilization of the Social Lab framework, an inquiry team has been formed to delve into the underlying factors and best practices related to youth employment within Black and Minoritized communities. This team have engaged in a co-design process to develop prototype projects tailored to their respective areas. These prototypes will undergo evaluation and serve as a roadmap for future endeavors dedicated to addressing the issue of underemployment among young people from Black and Minoritized backgrounds on a national scale.

Would you like to learn more about the Social Lab process?

  • This is a short summary of the book written by Zaid Hassan, a social lab specialist

  • This document outlines the learning/ sensing journey process. 

What are the project aims? 

The project aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • Collaborate with Youth Futures and RAND-Europe to identify, comprehend, and implement best practices in assisting organizations that are dedicated to guiding young individuals toward gaining meaningful employment.

  • Partner with Youth Futures to collect and analyze data for the purpose of measuring and evaluating current practices, fostering continuous improvement in program delivery, and disseminating insights into effective strategies.

  • Collaborate with Youth Futures to gain insights into the key components of interventions aimed at helping young people in their journey towards meaningful employment.

  • Advocate for the significance of high-quality youth services, grounded in evidence-based practices and informed by experience, in empowering young individuals to thrive and make progress toward achieving meaningful employment opportunities.

When will the project take place? 

A 24-month project beginning in July 2022 and ending in July 2024. 

How will the project be delivered? 

The project encompasses the following activities:

  • Documenting and disseminating current perspectives and initiatives related to the systemic issues affecting the underemployment of young BAME individuals throughout London.

  • Organizing a comprehensive pan-London social learning and action lab, known as "The Lab," to unite key stakeholders within the employment/unemployment system concerning BAME youth. This collaborative effort will empower The Ubele Initiative to pinpoint and address the root causes of problems rather than merely addressing their symptoms.

  • Hosting project roundtable discussions to gradually introduce the project's evolving insights to a wider audience of practitioners. These roundtables offer practitioners an opportunity to grasp the project's undertakings and contemplate the implications of this knowledge within the context of their own work.

  • Leveraging the concepts generated through the Lab's collaborative process to formulate a series of prototype interventions for testing by the project group.

  • Disseminating the results and findings from the evaluation of prototype projects to the broader professional community. This dissemination aims to provide the field with a deeper understanding of effective strategies and potential avenues for integrating novel ideas into their own practices.


This project aligns with Ubele's strategic aim of developing our people, groups, and organisations 

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