University of Central Lancashire partners with Rt Hon Justine Greening to play its role in the Covid-19 national recovery

University of Central Lancashire partners with Rt Hon Justine Greening to play its role in the Covid-19 national recovery Banner Image

Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Baldwin who has signed a Social Mobility Pledge on behalf of UCLan.

The partnership wants to boost social mobility and protect opportunities

Former Education Secretary Justine Greening is working with the University of Central Lancashire to protect opportunities and boost social mobility.

The partnership comes as research shows 80% of people are concerned that there will be fewer available job opportunities for young people nationwide over the next year.*

Meanwhile separate analysis reveals some communities already suffering most from a lack of social mobility now look set to be hit hardest by the economic fallout following the coronavirus.**

Justine Greening set up the Social Mobility Pledge in 2018 to tackle Britain’s widespread lack of social mobility.

By signing the Pledge, businesses and universities commit to enhancing opportunities by working with local schools; offering training and apprenticeships; and by adopting fair recruitment polices.

More than 500 organisations representing over seven million people have signed the Social Mobility Pledge. This includes over 50 universities with more than two million students represented.

The partnership between Justine Greening and the University of Central Lancashire will include the development of an Opportunity Action Plan to level up Britain in the wake of Covid-19.

The plan will share the University of Central Lancashire’s work to level up opportunities within its organisation and its local communities. The plan will also set out how the university plans to go further and play its role in Britain’s national recovery from Covid-19 amid warnings of a rise in youth unemployment.

I’m looking forward to working with the University of Central Lancashire on their Opportunity Action Plan. They are committed to making a difference and levelling up Britain. I hope many others will follow their example.

Rotherham-born Ms Greening herself benefited from social mobility, becoming the first Secretary of State for Education to have gone to a comprehensive school and local FE college.

Justine Greening said: “With a million young people due to enter the workplace this summer, many 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 purpose together with a strong culture and leadership have marked out those organisations which have taken the right decisions in response to the crisis, from those which have not. The challenge now, and one that the University of Central Lancashire has stepped up to, is for Britain’s businesses and universities to play their role in boosting opportunity and social mobility as part of our national recovery.

“I’m looking forward to working with the University of Central Lancashire on their Opportunity Action Plan. They are committed to making a difference and levelling up Britain. I hope many others will follow their example."

Professor Graham Baldwin, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Central Lancashire, said: “We have been transforming lives since 1828 and we have always prided ourselves on being an open and accessible institution for people of all ages and all backgrounds. We strongly believe in the power of higher education to promote social mobility and this is reflected in our extensive widening participation activities with schools, colleges and community groups.

“We are extremely pleased to have made our Social Mobility Pledge, and to be working in partnership with Justine Greening. We are now in a vital period of recovery for the country and for the region, and we have a central role to play in helping to ensure future prosperity. We have a responsibility to help reduce opportunity gaps that exist for people from disadvantaged backgrounds by offering fairer access to formal education, coaching, careers advice and work experience.”

*Based on a nationally representative sample of 2,000 working adults, conducted in June 2020. 

** Researchers at the Social Mobility Pledge have analysed a number of indices, including recent data by the Office for Budget Responsibility and Office for National Statistics, published on local exposure to sectors most likely to be hit by an economic downturn.

Rachel Atkinson | 22 June 2020