City partnerships are proving how social mobility initiatives are good for business

Catherine McGuinness
It is very encouraging to see a new generation of young City workers coming through (Source: Getty)

Employers have long recognised the importance of offering high quality work experience to young people, and now more than ever firms are starting to see the need to create more meaningful and quality internships for students.

Last week, Societe Generale hosted our annual City Business Traineeship Awards.

Funded by the City Corporation and delivered by The Brokerage, our Business Traineeship programme places state school pupils who study in the City’s neighbouring boroughs into paid internships at top firms, giving young people the skills needed for a successful career in the Square Mile.

Read more: Time for London businesses to get ambitious on improving social mobility

The awards celebrate the achievements of the young people and employers who take part in the programme, as part of our commitment to driving forward progress on skills and social mobility in London.

The 2017 awards were filled with fantastic interns and employers, such as winners Beazley and Headland Consultancy, who went above and beyond to deliver first class work experience opportunities for London’s young people.

It is very encouraging to see a new generation of young City workers coming through.

They are the future workforce which will make sure that the City of London remains the go-to location for international businesses in the long term.

The City of London Corporation has long been an advocate for City businesses – including the work they do in boosting competitiveness, investing in London’s future workforce, and creating a more diverse and socially responsible financial centre.

We run a range of initiatives designed to boost skills and social mobility in London, via our partnerships with City firms to tackle youth unemployment through apprenticeships, mentoring, and paid work placements schemes. And we have pledged to employ 100 apprentices by the end of 2018.

We are also the sponsor of the world’s first Social Mobility Employer Index, a joint initiative between the Social Mobility Foundation and the Social Mobility Commission.

The index ranks the top 50 UK employers who have taken the most action to improve social mobility in the workplace, incentivising firms to take steps to improve access to top quality jobs and experience for candidates from socially diverse backgrounds.

Initiatives like the City Business Traineeship Programme are important not just because they bring people together from different backgrounds, but because they are also good for business.

A Forbes study recently showed that workforce diversity and inclusion is a key driver of internal innovation and business growth. And McKinsey found that companies with diverse executive boards enjoy significantly higher earnings.

The City of London is the most prosperous and dynamic economic area in the country, not just financially, but also in expertise and skills. We, along with businesses across the capital, have so much to offer our communities.

By mobilising our future workforce, resources and talent, in particular through internships and apprenticeships, we can really address the most pressing issues our communities face and improve the competitiveness of our businesses.

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