Social Mobility Pledge will tackle “the biggest of our big issues”

Justine Greening MP launches commitment to help disadvantaged workers work themselves out of poverty with backing of industry heavy-hitters

The government has made an important step in offering disadvantaged people a chance to lift themselves out of poverty with the Social Mobility Pledge for business and employers.

Former education secretary Justine Greening MP unveiled the commitment, produced in conjunction with the Harrison Centre for Social Mobility, to help level the playing field for those on the bottom rung of the jobs ladder during a parliamentary debate on Social Mobility and the Economy today.

The pledge has already secured support from across the business world with major employers BT, Aviva, Adidas, ITV, Clifford Chance, KPMG and others signing up on launch.

It’s why I’m pleased to support the Social Mobility Pledge, which will hold up those businesses – large and small, in every corner of the country – creating social opportunities in their communities and empowering people to make the most of their talents

The Social Mobility Pledge asks businesses to commit to three steps: partnering with schools before secondly giving access to apprenticeships or work experience opportunities to disadvantaged young people. The final step involves opening recruitment practices that promote a level playing field for candidates, such as name-blind or contextual recruitment.

Speaking in the debate, Ms Greening, who quit Theresa May’s cabinet in January after being offered the position of work and pensions secretary, said: “For our country, Brexit has to be a catalyst, a moment for change, when we can smash that class ceiling on opportunity once and for all, for a new generation of young people growing up in our country.

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The Big Issue has also hailed the launch of the pledge which promises to tackle what founder Lord John Bird calls “the biggest of our big issues” – social mobility – and levelling the playing field in the jobs market.

“When I was young, I was offered a chance to improve my lot in life,” he said. “I used social mobility to climb out of crime, illiteracy and homelessness. No young person growing up in Britain today should be overlooked or left behind because they miss out on a chance to escape their circumstances.

Bird said that social mobility is the “biggest of our big issues” and that without it, we don’t replenish society or have social justice.

“It’s why I’m pleased to support the Social Mobility Pledge, which will hold up those businesses – large and small, in every corner of the country – creating social opportunities in their communities and empowering people to make the most of their talents,” he said.

The Confederate of British Industry has thrown its weight being the pledge while The British Chambers of Commerce has had all its 53 accredited chambers commit too, while encouraging its 75,000 members to sign up.

The Federation of Small Business is taking a similar step with its 170,000 members.

Business and employers can sign up today to be a Social Mobility employer at www.socialmobilitypledge.org.uk