A NATIONAL campaign to kickstart social mobility in Britain has praised Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) for “going the extra mile to educate disadvantaged young people.”
LJMU is one of around 50 partner organisations – including Everton FC, Sainsbury’s and PwC – backing the Social Mobility Pledge campaign led by former minister of education Justine Greening.
The Pledge commits the university to encourage entry to higher education for youngsters from low socio-economic backgrounds, including white boys, BAME students, those on free school meals, looked-after children, young adult carers and disabled students.
Nationally around one in nine 18-year-olds from “lowest participation neighbourhoods” goes on to a university course but at LJMU the figure is nearer one in five. Additionally, a third of students receive a bursary enabling them to fund their course and this rises to well over 40% for students from Northern Ireland, 2,000 of whom attend LJMU.
Report - Action Plan
Helping launch a Social Mobility Action Plan with the university today (November 19, 2020), Justine Greening said: “Coronavirus has shone a spotlight on inequality in this country and it is clear that the organisations which recover best from the crisis will be those that have stepped up to the mark for their employees and communities.
“Liverpool John Moores University’s track-record shows that it is possible to improve future prospects for disadvantaged young people, many of whom are the first to go to university in their family, by providing them with the information and the support networks they need to make the jump.”
Social mobility is typically measured as the difference between a person’s occupation or income and that of their parents but research* by the Social Mobility Pledge campaign suggests that young people are finding it harder not easier to progress in the workplace than their parents or grandparents did.
Mrs Greening continued: “The Pledge has been set up to highlight and address these issues in the UK and, in doing so, to level up opportunity and build a fairer society.
“With 16-24 unemployment touching 15%, we need to redouble our efforts to reach those youngsters with reduced life chances and sadly many of them are in the North, in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.”
Seeing the possibilities
LJMU Registrar and Chief Operating Officer Mark Power said: “We are delighted to be working with Justine Greening in her campaign.
“Our aim is to provide opportunities for the most disadvantaged students to ‘try out’ higher education through a range of different motivational experiences. Helping them to see the possibilities in life rather than the probabilities.
“The social mobility report highlights LJMU’s commitment to making a difference and celebrates some of our achievements in regards to providing equality of opportunity.”
*Its study of 2,000 people revealed that most UK workers believe breaking through the ‘class-ceiling’ is harder for young people now than it was for earlier generations. A majority (60 per cent) of workers aged 35 to 64 believe economically disadvantaged people in the generation below them have a harder time advancing their careers than those one generation older.
About the Social Mobility Pledge
Founded by former UK Cabinet Minister, Rt Hon Justine Greening, and UK entrepreneur David Harrison, the Social Mobility Pledge calls on organisations to take steps to boost opportunity and social mobility by providing people from disadvantaged backgrounds quality careers advice and mentoring, offering structured work experience and apprenticeships and changing the way employers hire people.