Construction and social mobility

“There’s a business case for tackling the issue of social mobility” says Making The Leap’s Carmen Antiqueira, who wants more construction businesses to showcase their achievements in the Social Mobility Awards 2019.

Social Mobility Awards logoOn 19 March, I attended a business seminar about social mobility, organised by Making the Leap, a London-based charity that improves social mobility by raising the aspirations of, and increasing opportunities for, young people between the ages of 11 and 25. The event, held at the Law Society, also launched the third edition of the UK Social Mobility Awards, which recognise and celebrate the efforts of the people and organisations leading the way in this endeavour.

Having been involved in various construction skills and diversity initiatives, and also helped organise CIPR construction and property group (CAPSIG) events on women in construction PR and on social value, I can see how social mobility can be encouraged by construction businesses. The event highlighted the benefits to businesses of widening their net:

Social mobility enables less ‘group think’ and greater innovation,” said Professor Anthony Heath, of Oxford’s Centre for Social Investigation at Nuffield College, adding: “Social mobility is about social justice – and should be a fundamental value in society, avoiding us wasting talent.”

Panellists at the event spoke from personal experience about how their lives had been transformed by being given life chances by enlightened organisations who didn’t focus solely on formal qualifications but looked at the attitudes, behaviours and non-academic talents of the individual. Banker Steven Cooper, for example, said: “Social mobility is good for business because it really enhanced our brand, far more than advertising our products(read more about the seminar here).

Social Mobility Awards 2019

Since that event, I have spoken to Making The Leap’s Carmen Antiqueira about encouraging construction businesses who invest in social mobility to highlight their achievements by entering the 2019 Awards. She explained:

photo of Carmen Antiqueira“Construction companies are not only choosing to devote attention to one of our society’s biggest problems, but they are also recognising there’s a business case for tackling the issue of social mobility. Momentum is building behind the cause, and it has attracted universal support across sectors and the political spectrum.

“The construction industry has a key role to play and organisations with an active interest in this all-important arena can now celebrate what they are doing by entering the UK Social Mobility Awards. Established to recognise the forward-thinking organisations who are doing something to promote social mobility, the awards recognise best practice and innovation, and encourage cross-sector collaboration.

“The awards have drawn in an impressive array of entries from across regions and sectors, and the list of past winners includes Wates, the Civil Service and Greene King. The initiative also counts the government, the Social Mobility Commission, DWP and the Institute for Apprenticeships amongst its supporters.”

If your organisation is proud of what it is doing to advance social mobility, then enter these awards now.  For any enquiries about entering, please contact Carmen (carmen.antiqueira@mtl.org.uk) to find out more. Entries close on 28th June 2019.

Update (30 August 2019) – Making The Leap is holding its annual Social Mobility Careers Fair in Westminster on 26 September and wants construction and engineering businesses to participate. The not-for-profit event brings together 16-25 year-olds from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, from across London, who are looking to kick start their career with top employers. MTL’s Carmen Antiqueira says:

“It’s a fabulous way for construction companies not only to recruit but also to have a real impact on erasing some of the myths of who works in construction and engineering and talk to young people on a one to one, about the range of jobs in the industry and what might suit them.”

If you want to get involved, please contact Carmen (carmen.antiqueira@mtl.org.uk) to find out more.

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