100 local businesses across Birmingham will take action to help young people from across the region, improving their life chances through confidence and resilience building.
The scheme will offer mentoring and work experience placements to Muslim youth across the city directly tackling the long term inequities they face as people of faith.Initially centred in Birmingham, those first 100 businesses will take part in the scheme championed by Shakespeare Martineau in partnership with Mercy Mission’s ‘Faith in Our Cities’ initiative.
Speaking at the recent launch event, Azim Kidwai, CEO of Mercy Mission UK, urged business leaders to find out more about the youth empowerment programme and shift the dial domestically for a generation of young people, marginalised through lack of cultural understanding and fit for purpose employment opportunities.
Mohammed Saqub, partner at Shakespeare Martineau and head of Islamic finance, said: “It’s estimated that 17% of UK prisoners are Muslim, despite Muslims making up just over four per cent of the UK population.
“A core challenge is that there is an issue with young people heading for a life of crime, as they see little alternative in their future or simply not fulfilling their true potential. Increased mentoring – especially from people who speak and look just like them and share the same cultural heritage – could make all the difference in the path a person chooses to follow.
“When I was at school in the centre of Birmingham, I was influenced by a lawyer who came into our school to talk about what he did. Without him, I’m not sure whether I would have chosen this path – his mentoring opened-up possible options for a career and I am passionate about doing the same for others.”
Spearheading the scheme is local civil society leader Jehangir Malik OBE, from Mercy Mission UK. He said: “We are really excited about launching this new scheme and are very optimistic by the initial response we’ve had from diverse local businesses in Birmingham.
“The project is co-created by young people and local businesses as part of an intergenerational approach to strengthening British Muslim civil society. We recognise the untapped potential of British Muslim youth and the positive role they can play in shaping and enriching our society.
“To this end, we are focussing on creating a multi-faceted developmental approach that ensures that Muslim youth in Britain can fulfil their true potential by launching the Muslim Youth Connected Youth Futures Programme in Birmingham.”
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Mohammed is a real estate finance and islamic finance specialist with considerable experience in dealing with a range of high-value and complex property investment, finance and development transactions.