HAS Covid hit your chances of climbing the career ladder?
A Social Mobility Commission report suggests 60 per cent of people believe the pandemic has increased social inequality, with 79 per cent fearing there are now large class divides.
The Commission — which tracks how those from the working class progress into higher-paid, higher-status work — found increasing numbers believe employers should have to take action to improve social mobility.
The SMC’s Steven Cooper said: “The most disadvantaged, at home, school or work, should be put centre stage in any recovery plan.”
Dozens of charities and work organisations are now mobilising to ensure young people reach their potential.
Among them is The Talent Tap, which offers school leavers the training, work experience and confidence-building skills they need to succeed.
The charity works with underprivileged pupils in the first year of sixth form. CEO Naomi Ambrose explains: “The education and opportunities of the UK’s most vulnerable students have been damaged by Covid far more than for their privileged counterparts against whom they will compete for jobs.”
Alix Williams and Grace Connor, both 24, joined The Talent Tap programme and went on to secure roles in a London pension fund.
Alix said: “Hiring staff from diverse backgrounds isn’t easy but it can make a positive impact on your business.”
Grace added: “The Talent Tap gave us an opportunity to meet people and work in industries we had maybe not thought about before. It is the very best start to working life.”
Who to contact
HOPING to move on up? Check out these social-mobility stars . . .
SUTTON TRUST: Runs a free Summer School to show working-class students what university is like. See summerschools.suttontrust.com for details.
ST JOHN’S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE: Offers free places for up to 40 undergraduate students from low-income families. See joh.cam.ac.uk.
SOCIAL MOBILITY FOUNDATION: Offers internships and mentoring at top companies. See socialmobility.org.uk.
FITZWYGRAM FOUNDATION: Offers selected low-income pupils free places at independent Hampton School in South West London, covering fees, uniform, food and bus fares. See hampton school.org.uk/about/the-fitwygram-foundation.
Kerry’s clean break
KERRY Mackay has won the Small Business Of The Year award after cleaning up with a firm making eco alternatives to sponges.
The 42-year-old mum relied on food banks to feed her son when she hit on the idea of sewing reusable and biodegradable cleaning pads. Her firm, Scrubbies UK, turned over £50,000 in its first year, setting Kerry on the road to success.
Kerry, from Wrexham, said: “Two years ago, my son and I were in desperate poverty. It’s been a tough road to get to where I am now.
“I’ve been sewing at my table for 90 hours a week. But my business is branching out in so many exciting directions.”
Michelle Ovens, founder of Small Business Britain, which gives the award, said: “Scrubbies is inspirational, with hard work, drive and care for the environment and local community at its heart.”
Kickstart a creative career
MANCHESTER-based Reform Radio station has helped 300 youngsters get into the media and music businesses in the past year, as part of the Government’s Kickstart scheme for 16 to 24-year-olds.
And it aims to help hundreds more – but needs more firms to sign up and offer placements. Reform Radio director Rachel Roger said: “Being a gateway organisation for companies taking part in Kickstart is so fulfilling for us.”
Can you offer government-paid placements in your business for six months?
Variety vital to hiring
HIRING staff from different backgrounds is great for business. Here social mobility expert GARY IZUNWA, from podcast Climbing The Rungs, reveals some of his key reasons for this . . .
- Recruiting for social mobility bolsters your brand and positions you as an employer of choice for top talent, particularly among millennials and Gen Z who like firms that value diversity.
- Employees from low socio-economic backgrounds can produce better results. A study of leading city law firms found that among state-school trainees, 14 per cent received the highest performance ratings, compared to just eight per cent of independently educated trainees.
- Nine in ten firms quizzed by the Social Mobility Commission, for the Employer Index survey, said workforce socio-economic diversity matters to their clients.
- Studies show if social mobility levels in the UK reach the same as Canada, our GDP would increase by two to four per cent.
- The fewer barriers there are to jobs, the greater the chance the best-suited will fill them and the more productive businesses will be.
- See climbingtherungs.com