North East backs the Social Mobility Pledge

The Social Mobility Pledge national roadshow stopped off in the North East today as three local firms signed up to the Pledge.

Newcastle fintech firm True Potential was joined by construction company Thompsons of Prudhoe and haulage business Fergusons Transport in committing to the national drive improve social mobility at work.

The Pledge was launched in March by the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, the former Secretary of State for Education. It encourages companies to work with local schools and colleges, offer apprenticeships and adopt open recruitment polices such as name-blind or contextual recruitment.

It aims to ensure employees are able to progress in their careers based on talent and potential, not their upbringing, accent or personal connections with bosses.

All three become accredited Social Mobility Employers, committed to supporting people from all backgrounds in reaching their full potential. 

Justine Greening MP said: “Solving Britain’s social mobility problem is key to creating a fairer society and a more balanced national economy. It’s also an opportunity for businesses to bring new ideas and fresh enthusiasm into their company while having a really positive impact on local communities.

“I am grateful to these companies for the work they are doing as founding partners of the Pledge. I also urge others to join us in making Britain a country in which a person’s background no longer unfairly dictates how far they can go in life.” 

David Harrison, managing partner at True Potential and co-founder of the Social Mobility Pledge, said: “Social mobility is really about having opportunities to get on and be at your best. At True Potential we have a truly diverse workforce because we employ on merit irrespective of back ground. 

“I really believe what matters is where you are going not where you came from. That’s why I was so pleased to partner with Justine and create the Social Mobility Pledge and why True Potential has signed up to it. We are committed to improving social mobility in the North East so that those who want to get a job and get on can do so here, without the need to move hundreds of miles away.” 

Meanwhile Alan Ferguson OBE, chairman and chief executive of Fergusons, added: “We are delighted to sign the Social Mobility Pledge and to be officially recognised as a Social Mobility Employer.

“We have always worked to provide the best opportunities for everyone, including through a successful apprenticeship scheme we run in partnership with Gateshead College which we are really proud of.

“We also have many exceptionally talented people working with us from diverse backgrounds. It is the collection of their talents and experiences that make us such a successful business.”

The three North East companies join a number of major employers, including John Lewis, Marks and Spencer and Vodafone, in signing up to the Social Mobility Pledge.

Ms Greening has long fought to improve social mobility in Britain and left the Government in January so she could continue her campaign.

Growing up in Rotherham, she experienced unemployment and life on benefits within her own family. Later she became the first Education Secretary to have been educated at a comprehensive school.

Matthew McPherson