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SMC response to the Chancellor’s multi-billion pound “plan for jobs”

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July 8, 2020 | Alexandra Sufit


The Joint Deputy Chairs of the Social Mobility Commission, Steven Cooper and Sandra Wallace, have put out a joint statement in which they said the SMC welcomes the Chancellor’s multi-billion pound “plan for jobs” announced earlier today – in particular the targeted approach to supporting young people:

“The current recession will hurt disadvantaged younger people most as many of them will be fresh out of school or further education with little prospect of a good or secure job and it is imperative that they are supported.”

It is clear that COVID-19 has impacted those from less advantaged backgrounds more than most. Businesses need to continue to support them, to prevent that gap from widening even further. Half of adults from lower socio-economic backgrounds have received no training since leaving school, yet diversity in the workforce and amongst apprentices is shown to be beneficial to employers.

The statement continues:

“We particularly welcome the support for the Traineeships, including a £1,000 incentive for businesses who take on trainees. This helps unemployed young people with essential skills, CV writing and work experience. (…) The extra money for apprenticeships will help employers start reversing the decline in the number of opportunities for in-work training in recent years.”

Apprenticeships are one of the most powerful and effective means of boosting social mobility amongst workers from less advantaged backgrounds – not only that, it’s smart business:

  • 43% of businesses with more a diverse workforce have higher profits – and apprenticeships are the cornerstone to reaching that talent early.
  • 92% of companies who run an apprenticeship scheme believe it leads to a more motivated and satisfied workforce, while 80% report higher retention rates.

As an employer, you can not only benefit from widening your talent pool, but can also help our economy recover sooner. For this reason, today’s announcement is welcomed by the Social Mobility Commission as a critical step on the road to recovery.

However our Deputy Chairs concluded with a word of caution:

“Government can go further to improve social mobility by ensuring that those from disadvantaged backgrounds, who will be the most vulnerable in this economic downturn, benefit from the measures. Our work has shown that those from poorer backgrounds are often given fewer opportunities. We need to ensure that these new programmes don’t replicate those disparities.”

For further information, please read our in-depth report – Apprenticeships and social mobility: Fulfilling potential – to better understand the apprenticeship landscape, barriers to success and what you, as an employer, can do to champion social mobility through apprenticeships. You can also read our Employer Guidance on how to get the most out of apprenticeships and the four key questions you should be asking yourself as a business.

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