In response to the Social Mobility Commission’s report 'Time for change', highlighting the divides between differences between groups centred around geography, income and generations, Petra Wilton, Director of Strategy at the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), calls for a systematic change to the education system to address increasing inequalities.

Petra Wilton 100x100Petra Wilton, Director of Strategy at the CMI comments: “Today’s new report from the Social Mobility Commission rightly shines the spotlight the lack of progress in closing the divide between rich and poor.  Closing this divide has to start with the young, yet our own recent report with the EY Foundation, the “Age of Uncertainty” found that 56% were unable to get the work experience they need to secure the job they want, with those from low income households missing out even more.  We need systemic change in the education system through a school-to-work agenda to ensure that no one misses out on early access to the workplace, team leadership and employability skills.
 
“Access to high quality, degree apprenticeships is increasingly available but there is still an inherent snobbery about apprenticeships.  No longer are apprenticeships just an alternative route for those not destined for university.  Both young people and those already in the workplace, now have the opportunity to benefit from the best of all worlds: they can gain a degree and earn while they are learning, with no student debt.  It is important factors like these that can start closing the divide between the haves and the have nots early enough to make a real difference, but to do so we need to enlighten all those advising young people about the benefits of these new apprenticeships.”
 

Learning and Work Institute is calling for robust measures to strengthen people’s ability to move up the career ladder, in response to the report’s damning verdict on social mobility policies over the last two decades.

Ian Pretty100x100Ian Pretty, CEO, Collab Group, said: “This report, published by the Social Mobility Commission, reveals the extent to which social mobility still remains a significant challenge in British society. We believe that significant and sustained investment in professional and technical education provides the best way to create the skills needed to improve life chances for all.  It is welcome that the report recognises the key role that FE will play in increasing social mobility through the introduction of new T-level qualifications, investment in high quality apprenticeships and extra support and accountability reforms for further education colleges. We also support proposals to develop a cross-departmental social mobility plan and we would encourage further education, with its strong network of local affiliations, to play a key role in helping to shape this strategy. Social mobility, inclusion and community gets to the heart of what the FE sector is all about.”
 

Stephen Evans LW 100x100Stephen Evans, Chief Executive at Learning and Work Institute, said: “Record high employment in this country is good news. Today’s report from the Social Mobility Commission is a stark reminder that the government’s next challenge is doing more to help people climb the career ladder by equipping people with the ability and opportunity to access the education and training they need. Lifelong learning would be good for social mobility and has inter-generational benefits; supporting adults to learn also improves the life chances of their children.

“Learning throughout life helps you earn more, live healthier and play a fuller role in society. A step change in participation in learning requires investment and doing things differently. Advanced Learner Loans are poorly marketed and inflexible; family learning, which improves educational attainment of children as well as parents, is neglected; and employment support programmes are under-resourced and poorly targeted.

“There is nothing inevitable about social mobility. The Commission’s report today warns of growing social and economic divides unless policy is improved.  Now is the time to tackle low pay and tackle the causes of low pay.”

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