Chloe Smith, Member of Parliament for Norwich North, has today called on Norwich firms to take up the challenge and become a Social Mobility Champion.
Chloe, who has personally made steps to tackle issues surrounding poor social mobility in Norwich, has issued this plea for businesses to step forward and support her in improving the life-chances of young people in Norwich. Last year, Chloe launched a Social Mobility project in Norwich following the findings of the Social Mobility Index carried out by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, which found that young people growing up in the Norwich City Council area has some of the worst life changes amongst young people in the UK. Chloe brought together key stakeholders to look at ways to address this issue. Additionally, Chloe now chairs Norwich Opportunity Area Youth Board, which involves young people in finding ways to tackle these issues.
Yesterday in Parliament there was a Westminster Hall debate on “Social Mobility and the Economy”, which saw the launch of the Social Mobility Pledge, encouraging businesses across the country to become Social Mobility Champions.
The Social Mobility Pledge represents employers committing to three simple steps:
1.Partnering directly with schools or colleges, working through the many social mobility charities and organisations, such as Speakers for Schools, Inspiring the Future, the Princes Trust, and the Careers and Enterprise Company, that are already there to help businesses and employers do more on the ground;
2.Access – providing structured work experience and/or apprenticeship opportunities to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances;
3.Recruitment – adopting open and transparent employee recruitment practices that promote a level playing field for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances, such as name blind recruitment or contextual recruitment.
MPs involved and supporting local companies to take the Pledge will be Social Mobility Pledge Champions and feature on the www.socialmobilitypledge.org website. Employers who have already signed up to become Social Mobility Champions include Adidas, BT, Aviva, Severn Trent, PwC and ITV.
The Social Mobility Pledge is being backed by both the CBI and British Chambers of Commerce because they understand that better social mobility is good for business as well as people and communities. The British Chambers of Commerce has already signed up all its 53 accredited chambers and is encouraging all its 75,000 members to commit to the Social Mobility Pledge. The Federation of Small Businesses is also supporting the Pledge and asking its 170,000 members to sign up as well.
Chloe comments: “Improving Social Mobility has long been an important issue for me,that I’ve worked really hard on. As founder and chair of the Norwich For Jobs Project I have seen many times, first-hand how employers can really make a massive difference in improving the lives of young people in our city. I want to continue this work, and to work with local employers who I know will themselves benefit by stepping forward and committing to the pledge.”
Justine Greening said: “I hope that as Members of Parliament we can go beyond purely debating the problems around social mobility, as important as that is, to working with businesses and employers on the ground to drive change for the better.”