Leo Quinn calls for government action to boost social mobility
Balfour Beatty chief executive Leo Quinn has urged the UK Government and business leaders to address a lack of social mobility in the country.
A founder and chairman of The 5% Club, an employer-led initiative which focuses on the recruitment of apprentices and graduates into the workforce, Mr Quinn said that working in partnership to drive social value in construction will help secure long-term sustained growth.
The 5% Club’s latest report: ‘Playing to our strengths: Unlocking social mobility for economic good’ makes a series of recommendations to drive social mobility, whilst also ensuring inclusive growth.
Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds must be made aware of the many technical and vocational training opportunities available. At present, because of a lack of awareness, businesses are missing out on some of the brightest and best talent, stifling the country’s economic growth but also letting down young people who are most in need of support and opportunity.
Leo Quinn said: “Business leaders and government urgently need to join forces to address the lack of social mobility in the UK today. Central to this is raising awareness amongst young people from less advantaged backgrounds about going down the route of ‘earn and learn’ to start building long-term careers while being paid. Many of our key industries are crying out for skilled workers to train on the job – so it’s a tragedy if we fail to reach those who desperately need this chance.
“As employers we must ensure that traditional recruitment methods are not inherently discriminatory. We must open up early work experience or internships to all – the first vital step into the world of work. Equally, positive careers advice in schools can tear down the perception that apprenticeships are ‘second best’. And we must all press government to transform the apprenticeship levy into a broader skills levy.
“If we really want to unlock social mobility, we must work together to open the gates on a flood of untapped talent, helping society as a whole but also dramatically improving Britain’s economic prospects.”