Greene King’s The Stepping Out report outlines five ambitions to encourage greater social mobility alongside a call for action for the Government and wider industry to do its part.
The report was launched at a reception in parliament earlier this week (30 January) and supported by education secretary Damian Hinds.
It comes as the prominence of social mobility as an issue continues to rise in the UK, according to Greene King.
The 2018 Social Mobility Barometer – a survey of 5,000 people carried out by the Social Mobility Commission – showed 40% think it is getting harder for people from less advantaged backgrounds to move up in British society. This was almost twice as many as those who think it is becoming easier.
Almost half of respondents said where you end up in society is heavily influenced by who your parents are.
The ambitions in the report are:
- Releasing potential – a new employment programme for ex-offenders. This involves working with the Ministry of Justice, charity Only A Pavement Away, and partners Novus, Clean Sheet and Sodexo to support 50 individuals in the first year – initially working with prisons in the north-west and London
- A new commitment to support 20,000 apprentices by 2022
- The first hospitality company to become a signatory to Business in the Community’s Race At Work Charter. This will see the appointment of an executive sponsor for Race, working towards capturing ethnicity data and acting to support the career progression of ethnic minorities
- A pledge to increase internal appointments to pub general managers from 64% to 80%
- An extension of the company’s partnership with The Prince’s Trust for a fourth year with a target to increase the number of people being offered a permanent role after successful completion of the ‘Get Into Hospitality’ programme from 61% to 75%.
No magic formula
Greene King CEO Rooney Anand said: “Having served the nation for more than 200 years, we have witnessed the hospitality industry’s ability to propel social mobility time and time again.
“Starting and growing careers from the pub floor to senior leadership, our industry backs individuals from all walks of life, offering folks the chance to turn a short-term shift into a life-long career and improve their and their family’s standard of living.
“Of course, promoting and engendering social mobility isn’t easy and there’s no magic formula – it needs commitment and effort and we all need to play our part but I hope through sharing our efforts, we can encourage others in hospitality to help the cause, step up to the challenge and help make a real difference.”
Education secretary Damian Hinds said creating opportunity and change in the lives of young people was a shared responsibility.
He added: “Everyone should have the chance to fulfil that spark of potential that exists in all of us.
“Alongside the Government’s work to transform technical education and promote apprenticeships through our new Fire It Up campaign, businesses like Greene King are playing a critical role in promoting social mobility.
“This scheme is supporting in-house training, offering apprenticeships and helping ex-offenders get back into work, making sure people have skills and qualifications needed for success.”
Education select committee chair Robert Halfon congratulated Greene King on boosting the number of apprenticeships in the hospitality sector.
He added: “[Greene King’s] apprenticeships offer quality training in a supportive environment, allowing individuals of all ages to engage in lifelong learning.
“Such a commitment to vocational education is vital for the future health of the economy and ensuring everyone, wherever they are from, has the chance to climb the ladder of opportunity.”
The Prince’s Trust group chief executive and social mobility commission chair Martina Milburn called on the trade to consider getting young people into their businesses through schemes such as Greene King's.
She said: “I encourage all employers in the hospitality industry to challenge themselves about how they can help give a step up to more young people through schemes like Get into Hospitality.
“Greene King’s Get Into Hospitality programme, run with The Prince’s Trust, is a brilliant initiative, helping each young person gain industry qualifications, the potential of a job offer and if they wish, the opportunity to enrol in the Greene King apprenticeship programme.”
The report argues through working together, there is much more to be done to help ensure where people start in life doesn’t predetermine their future.
Greene King called on the Government to focus on the following:
- To provide greater support in promoting hospitality as a skilled profession and valued career route within national careers guidance
- Recognise the importance of social mobility as a cross-Government priority by appointing a cabinet office minister with specific responsibility for social mobility
- Encourage the Social Mobility Committee to proactively work with businesses to identify a metric by which, companies can declare levels of social mobility annually and, consequently, be held publicly accountable for.
- Continue to champion apprenticeships and ensure new T-Levels are designed to complement and enhance rather than replace or duplicate existing programmes
- Redistribute unused company apprenticeship levy funds to those employers with capacity to deliver further quality apprenticeships, including the option to pay 10% via in-kind contributions after levy funds have been spent
- Encourage devolved governments to move quickly in transitioning to apprenticeship standards, in line with England to allow companies to full drawn down on apprenticeship levy funds and ensure a level playing field for young people across the UK
- Ensure the hospitality sector retains access to the people and skills it requires, building a future immigration policy that meets the needs of the industry
- Back the hospitality industry in its ambition to help ex-offenders return to the workplace.