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East Anglia businesses join forces to tackle social mobility in Norwich and Ipswich

30 Jul 2017

5 min read

 Added: 13 July 2017

East Anglia businesses join forces to tackle social mobility in Norwich and Ipswich

Leading businesses and business groups have backed a commitment to help improve social mobility for young people in the Government’s 12 Opportunity Areas including Ipswich, and Norwich.  

Under plans announced today, more than 40 national and local ‘cornerstone’ employers including Adecco, Aviva, Barclays Life Skills, Dayle Bayliss Associates, East of England Coop, Ipswich Building Society, John Grose, KPMG and Norfolk County Council will work with the Careers & Enterprise Company to make a collective commitment to work with more than 260 secondary schools and colleges in the Opportunity Areas to help inspire and prepare their pupils for the fast changing world of work.

The announcement comes as Secretary of State for Education Justine Greening highlighted the need for businesses to support social mobility in her speech at the Sutton Trust today.
Ipswich Building Society and Norfolk County Council are just some of the 40+ businesses who have committed to work together, with the support of a £2m government-backed fund, to guarantee that:

• All pupils aged 11-18 in Opportunity Areas will have access to at least four inspiring ‘encounters’ with the world of work. This follows research which shows that young people who have 4 or more workplace encounters while at school are 86% less likely to be NEET and on average will go on to earn 18% more than their peers who did not.  

• 21 secondary schools and colleges in Ipswich and 10 in Norwich will have access to a local senior business volunteer (Enterprise Adviser) who will work with headteachers and college principals to unlock local business relationships and advise on their careers programme.

The business commitment is backed by leading business representative bodies, such as the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), who will work with the Careers & Enterprise Company to encourage their business members to offer more young people opportunities to engage employers across a wide spectrum of business sectors through activities such as mentoring, work experience, mock interviews and career talks.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the Institute of Directors (IOD), the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), local Chambers of Commerce and Local Enterprise Partnerships are also playing a key role.

Richard Norrington, Chief Executive at Ipswich Building Society, said:
“A healthy, stimulated local economy is a good thing for local communities and a good thing for business. We believe financial education is a key life skill, which is why we’ve invested in our own bespoke programmes for Year 2, Year 10 and adult students and have a specialist Financial Education Assistant. We also offer work experience placements, attend school career events and currently have 2 staff engaged as Enterprise Advisors.  It’s our way of supporting our local communities, and giving individuals the tools they need to live independently – becoming the customers, and workforce, of the future.”  

Mark O’Hagan, Joint Chief Executive at East of England Co-op, said:
“We’re delighted to be supporting the young people in our communities with engagement activities.  This fits really well into our longstanding co-op community ethos.  With activities such as work experience, enterprise advising and careers talks, we really want to help make a practical difference. Businesses have such an important part to play in creating a bridge between education and employment.”

Simon Corke, Learning Partner – HR Function at Aviva, said:
“Aviva is committed to supporting young people on their careers journey as the largest private employer in Norwich. We do this is a number of ways, from attending local careers fairs to our staff volunteering as business mentors for students both in general, as well as on specific initiatives such as the Young Enterprise company of the year competition.  We have recently commenced our Apprenticeship programme in Norwich offering both level 3 and level 4 apprentice opportunities, with 27 apprenticeship roles currently available within Norwich, including Business Analysts, Software Developers, Claims Handlers and Trading Underwriters. For this we run work taster sessions to offer prospective candidates an insight into Aviva and the roles we have available.”

Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education, said:
“As well as making sure young people get a first-class education, we need to give them workplace experience early on if we are to help set them up for career success in the future. Employers, large and small, have a critical role to play in this and I am delighted that so many will be working with the Careers and Enterprise Company to create opportunities for young people across the country. As well as broadening the horizons of young people and nurturing their ambitions, these initiatives make good business sense, delivering the skills employers need and ultimately boosting the economy.”

Claudia Harris, Chief Executive of the Careers & Enterprise Company, said:
“40 of our economy’s leading businesses have stepped forward to ensure we can increase young peoples’ exposure to the world of work following clear evidence that this improves employment outcomes.The scale of collaboration between businesses announced today will make a much-needed dent in social immobility in key areas and we are proud to be co-ordinating these efforts.”

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