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Virgin Trains is first TOC to be awarded with Social Mobility Employer status

Posted: 5 March 2019 | | No comments yet

The Social Mobility Pledge commits employers and businesses to play their part ensuring everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Virgin Trains is first TOC to be awarded with Social Mobility Employer status

Virgin Trains has become the first train operating company to be named an accredited Social Mobility Employer, as part of a nationwide drive to improve social mobility in the UK.

The train operator signed up to the Social Mobility Pledge, which encourages businesses to play a role in tackling social mobility by providing training and employment opportunities to local people from disadvantaged communities.

The Social Mobility Pledge commits employers and businesses to play their part in ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential – irrespective of background. In its 2017 ‘State of Social Mobility in Britain’ report, the Sutton Trust found that the UK ranks near the bottom for income mobility across OECD nations.

The campaign was launched in Parliament in March 2018 and now covers more than 1.8 million employees. It is a commitment from businesses large and small across Britain to become a Social Mobility Pledge accredited employer, by taking three simple steps:

  1. Partnership – with schools or colleges to provide coaching through quality careers advice, enrichment experiences and mentoring people from disadvantaged backgrounds
  2. Access – providing structured work experience and apprenticeship opportunities to people from disadvantaged backgrounds
  3. Recruitment – adopting open employee recruitment practices which promote a level playing field for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, such as name blind recruitment or contextual recruitment.

The pledge is backed by major employers such as BT, Aviva, Adidas, ITV, True Potential, KPMG and others.

Former Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening MP, said: “Business has a key role in improving social mobility in our country. That’s why I am asking businesses large and small to commit to a universal social mobility pledge. For me, social mobility is something that we have never had in this country. It is a structural deficit on opportunity that has persisted for decades and we need to recognise that.

“We need to get more opportunities for more young people, so that we have equality of opportunity. The Social Mobility Pledge is a step along the road to delivering just that.”

Currently Virgin Trains run a number of initiatives including a programme focused on helping ex-offenders get back into work, partnering with schools where pupils have an introduction into the railway industry, and providing work experience placement and apprenticeships.

Natasha Grice, People Director of Virgin Trains, said: “We are absolutely delighted to sign the Social Mobility Pledge and to be officially recognised as a social mobility employer. We have many exceptionally talented people working with us from diverse and individual backgrounds. It’s the collection of those talents and experiences that makes us a successful business.”

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