Former Education Secretary Justine Greening has visited members of Amey’s highways team at Staffordshire Western Access Route to see first-hand the work taking place to protect employment opportunities and boost social mobility.
Justine Greening set up the Social Mobility Pledge in 2018 to tackle Britain’s widespread lack of social mobility. The visit, which took place last week (Thursday, November 29) marks the launch of the Pledge partnership with Amey which comes as recent research shows 80% of people are concerned that there will be fewer available job opportunities for young people nationwide over the next year* with separate analysis revealing some communities are already suffering from a lack of social mobility and are set to be hit hardest by the economic fallout following the coronavirus.**
On Amey’s Staffordshire contract 82% of the workforce are local to the area, having been recruited through a number of unique programmes, including the open door scheme that focuses on helping people who face difficulties and barriers in finding work including people with disabilities, mental health issues, ex-offenders, children leaving care, school leavers, and graduates.
Justine Greening said: “As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many young people are seeing their life prospects drastically downgraded, with jobs and job offers disappearing. Meanwhile, massive demand for reskilling and career shifting support is building up.
“Well defined company purpose together with a strong culture and leadership have marked out those businesses which have taken the right decisions in response to the crisis, from those which have not. Companies have been judged on how they responded to the immediate health crisis of COVID-19. The challenge now, and one that Amey has stepped up to, is for Britain’s businesses to play their role in boosting opportunity and social mobility as part of our national recovery.
“I’m looking forward to working with Amey on their Opportunity Action Plan. They are committed to making a difference and levelling up Britain. I hope many other businesses will follow their example.”
By signing the Pledge, Amey commits to enhancing opportunities by working with local schools; offering training and apprenticeships; and by adopting fair recruitment polices, something the Staffordshire highways contract is spearheading for Amey.
Amanda Fisher, CEO for Amey, said: “Covid-19 has negatively impacted young people across the UK, many of whom were already disadvantaged before the pandemic and are now seeking their first career opportunity during the most challenging time in a generation. That’s why we are investing in more than 50 opportunities through the Kickstart Scheme, supported internships, degree apprenticeships and our graduate scheme, and focusing our efforts on providing opportunities to people who face social and economic barriers. Signing up to the Social Mobility Pledge further highlights our commitment to supporting the government’s levelling up agenda and ensuring we have a positive impact in the communities in which we operate.”
The partnership between Justine Greening and Amey will include the development of an Opportunity Action Plan to level up Britain in the wake of COVID-19. The plan will share Amey’s work to level up opportunities within its business and its communities, so that other companies can implement tried and tested solutions. The plan will also set out how Amey plans to go further and play its role in Britain’s national recovery from COVID-19 amid warnings of a rise in youth unemployment.
Ten percent of FTSE 100 companies are now working on an Opportunity Action Plan to support social mobility and protect opportunity as part of the national recovery.