On Thursday 13th July, 2017 we took part in the quarterly London Gypsy and Traveller Forum. The Forum has been running for over 10 years and is currently coordinated by London Gypsies and Travellers, our partners in the project Mapping the Pathway to Equalities. It is an open meeting and was attended by community activists, support organisations, professionals and elected representatives which has the aim to influence the Mayor’s strategies for the benefit of the London Gypsy and Traveller community.
Each meeting addresses a specific topic in relation to the London Gypsy and Traveller community. On this occasion, more than 30 attendees discussed issues around skills and training to contribute to the Mayor’s recently launched strategy ‘Skills for Londoners’. Ilinca Diaconescu, Policy Officer of London Gypsies and Travellers, initiated the reflection with three questions:
- What kinds of skills are needed to do well at different stages in life?
- What areas of training should be more available and accessible?
- What would make it easier to stay in work or run a business?
Some of the key points which arose from the discussion were:
- Necessity to design specific training for Gypsies and Travellers, such as adult learning programmes, English language, driving licence applications or business development for the self-employed.
- Necessity to gather evidence from successful training initiatives for Gypsies and Travellers.
- The differences between men and women in relation to training needs; it was suggested that men are slightly more literate than women.
- The fact that the community has many skills, but do not hold the paperwork to prove it.
The project Mapping the Pathway to Equalities was introduced to the Forum participants as well as the mapping technology and the initial categories proposed for the different maps. The attendees welcomed the initiative and expected the online maps to be a useful tool for the community.
If you want to stay updated about the London Gypsy and Traveller Forum, you can visit the following link.