LETTER: Positive approach to racial discrimination

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From Mr John Clark

Sir: Although I did not read the article concerning the shortage of blacks in senior positions in industry (10 October), I did read the letter by Michael Gottlieb in which he states that the only reason for the shortage is the fact that they do not apply.

It was exactly this view, put by employers 10 years ago, that led to the establishment of the Windsor Fellowship. The fellowship is unique in the UK in supporting black and Asian undergraduates through a competency- based programme run during their vacations to prepare them for management positions in the private and public sectors.

Mr Gottlieb states that "businessmen are extremely practical people". This is true, and it is these people who provide the financial support and relevant work experience for the undergraduates on our programmes. After working with the undergraduates, the companies and the Civil Service departments often offer them permanent jobs, and some are now in senior or middle management positions.

However, there are very few senior black managers, and this gives young black people a clear message in terms of career expectations. For young blacks in Britain to believe in the existence of opportunities requires that organisations join those working with the Windsor Fellowship to put some effort into changing the message, so they can reap the benefits of attracting talented black and Asian staff.

Yours sincerely

John Clark

Chief Executive

The Windsor Fellowship

London, E2

13 October