Monday 2 December 2019 4:02 am

People from all backgrounds deserve the opportunity to succeed in our capital

As we draw closer to the end of another momentous year in politics, it’s a time to reflect and look forward to the future. 

With all the Brexit noise, social mobility is one of the many issues that just hasn’t had enough airtime recently. Too often, people from less financially advantaged families lack opportunities, and sometimes struggle to find a place within the workforce or climb the career ladder.

As a society we must do more to increase social mobility, ensuring that people receive the guidance, support, and opportunities to find a career that they are passionate about. That’s why the City of London Corporation launched our ambitious 10-year social mobility strategy, which seeks to help level the capital’s playing field, and make it fairer too, helping everyone to participate and succeed.

We want to connect young Londoners to the career opportunities offered in the City and across the capital. So, in June this year, we linked over 175 global businesses, including Google, KPMG and Amazon, with more than 5,000 young Londoners from 130 schools, sixth-form colleges and youth groups for the City’s biggest ever careers festival.

I was proud to watch first-hand as businesses talked pupils through the work experience and skills needed for successful careers in their industries.

But social mobility is not all about skills and talent. It’s about care and education, too.

Evidence shows that during the school summer break, children from disadvantaged backgrounds make significant learning losses when compared to their more advantaged counterparts.

That’s why, as part of our role as a major London academies sponsor, we set up a new summer holidays scheme, reaching over 200 children and providing cooking classes, sports, education, and cultural activities.

Schools are of course playing a leading role in increasing social mobility, but many businesses are too. That’s why I was so delighted to help launch the world’s first Social Mobility Employer Index, in partnership with the Social Mobility Commission and the Social Mobility Foundation.

It ranks the top UK employers which have taken the most action to improve social mobility in the workplace, incentivising firms to improve access to top quality jobs for candidates from all backgrounds. 

But it is clear to me that many firms can — and must — do more.

When one in five people employed in London don’t earn a wage they can live on, we all have a responsibility to consign this statistic to the history books.

Paying the living wage is an important part of that responsibility. This year, we took over the London Underground with a poster campaign that reached over five million people, encouraging more organisations to pay staff at least the London Living Wage. We want all firms to recognise that paying the rate is not just the right thing to do, it’s good for their businesses too.

One year on from the launch of our social mobility strategy, we remain clear and determined to do as much as possible to ensure that people from all backgrounds have the opportunities to succeed.

Main image credit: Getty

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