Former education secretary aiming to promote social mobility after lockdown
Former Education Secretary Justine Greening is to work with the University of West London (UWL) on a project that aims to boost social mobility.
Ms Greening set up the Social Mobility Pledge in 2018 to tackle Britain’s widespread lack of social mobility and is now concentrating on this after not contesting her seat in Putney at the last General Election. Her stance on a second referendum meant that she was out of favour with the current leadership. Putney became the only seat gained by Labour at the election.
The partnership with UWL comes as research shows 80% of people are concerned there will be fewer available job opportunities for young people nationwide over the next year.
Meanwhile separate analysis reveals some communities already suffering most from a lack of social mobility now look set to be hit hardest by the economic fallout following the coronavirus.
By signing the Pledge, businesses and universities commit to enhancing opportunities by working with local schools; offering training and apprenticeships; and by adopting fair recruitment policies.
More than 500 organisations representing over seven million people have signed the Social Mobility Pledge. This includes over 50 universities with more than two million students represented.
The partnership between Justine Greening and UWL will include the development of an Opportunity Action Plan to level up Britain in the wake of COVID-19.
The plan will share UWL’s work to level up opportunities within its organisation and its local communities. The plan will also set out how the university plans to go further and play its role in Britain’s national recovery from COVID-19 amid warnings of a rise in youth unemployment.
Rotherham-born Ms Greening says she benefited from social mobility, becoming the first Secretary of State for Education to have gone to a comprehensive school and local FE college.
Justine Greening said: “With a million young people due to enter the workplace this summer, many are seeing their life prospects drastically downgraded, with jobs and job offers disappearing. Meanwhile, massive demand for reskilling and career shifting support is building up.
“Well defined purpose together with a strong culture and leadership have marked out those organisations which have taken the right decisions in response to the crisis, from those which have not. The challenge now, and one that the University of West London has stepped up to, is for Britain’s businesses and universities to play their role in boosting opportunity and social mobility as part of our national recovery.
“I’m looking forward to working with the University of West London on their Opportunity Action Plan. They are committed to making a difference and levelling up Britain. I hope many others will follow their example."
Professor Peter John, Vice-Chancellor of UWL, said, “Providing access to opportunity is at the heart of everything we do at UWL. As we look to reignite the economy after lockdown, we will be taking a leading role to help businesses grow, upskill our workforce and create the next generation of trailblazing game-changers.
“Across west London and beyond, we will be working with thousands of businesses, schools, colleges and community organisations to realise the potential of the communities around us.”
June 25, 2020