Business has a key role in improving social mobility in our country. That’s why I am asking businesses large and small to commit to a universal social mobility pledge. For me, social mobility is something that we have never had in this country. It is a structural deficit on opportunity that has persisted for decades and we need to recognise that."
Esh Group – who also holds a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Promoting Opportunity and Social Mobility – has signed up to the Social Mobility Pledge, which encourages businesses to play their crucial role in boosting social mobility by providing training and employment opportunities to local people from disadvantaged communities.
Social mobility is the basic principle that everyone should have the opportunity to reach their full potential. But in its 2017 ‘State of Social Mobility in Britain’ report, the Sutton Trust found that the UK ranks near the bottom for income mobility across OECD nations.
The Social Pledge was launched in Parliament in March by former Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening MP.
It is a commitment from businesses large and small across Britain to become a Social Mobility Pledge accredited employer, by taking three simple steps:
- Partnership – with schools or colleges to provide coaching through quality careers advice, enrichment experience and/or mentoring to people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances.
- Access – providing structured work experience and/or apprenticeship opportunities to people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances
- Recruitment – adopting open employee recruitment practices which promote a level playing field for people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances, such as name blind recruitment or contextual recruitment.
The pledge is backed by major employers such as BT, Aviva, Adidas, ITV, True Potential, KPMG and others. The British Chambers of Commerce has seen all its 53 accredited chambers commit to the pledge and is encouraging its 75,000 members to commit to the Social Mobility Pledge.
The Federation of Small Business is also supporting the Social Mobility Pledge and is asking its 170,000 members to sign up.
Ms Greening said: “Tackling social mobility is complex. It is like a million-piece jigsaw puzzle and every one represents a piece. If we all do our bit, the picture gets completed. We need to get more opportunities for more young people so that we have equality of opportunity. I hope the Social Mobility Pledge can be a step along the road to delivering just that.”
Andy Radcliffe, Esh Group’s Chief Executive said: “We are absolutely delighted to sign the Social Mobility Pledge and to be officially recognised as a social mobility employer. We have many exceptional people talented people working with us from diverse and individual backgrounds. It’s the collection of those talents and experiences that makes us a successful business.
“Every business has a role to play and a lot to gain from improving social mobility because it opens us up to the widest possible range of talents.”