The charity launched ‘Bridging the Gap’ talk series with the UK’s top figures across industry and government and announced 2017 work experience platform
On 27th February, Speakers for Schools celebrated its 5th anniversary by launching its ‘Bridging the Gap’ talk series and campaign to continue encourage leading figures to give their time directly in state schools, and calling on leading UK employers to support our new work experience platform, S4SNextGen.org.
The range of speakers supporting the campaign and giving a school talk include: Dame Helen Alexander (Chairman, UBM plc), Matt Brittin (President, EMEA Business and Operations, Google), Mark Carney (Governor, Bank of England), Jeremy Corbyn MP (Leader of the Labour Party; MP for Islington North), Dr Nicholas Cullinan (Director, National Portrait Gallery), Sir Stuart Etherington (Chief Executive, NCVO), Tim Farron MP (Leader of the Liberal Democrats; MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale), George the Poet (Spoken-word artist), Baroness (Dido) Harding (CEO, TalkTalk), Theresa May MP (Prime Minister; MP for Maidenhead), Dame Carolyn McCall (CEO, easyJet), David Morrissey (Actor and director), Dr Minouche Shafik (Director Designate, London School of Economics) and more as listed below.
Although state school pupils make up 93 per cent of the school-age population, those from privately educated backgrounds dominate leading UK professions such as law, politics, medicine and journalism. Those from less privileged backgrounds face barriers in accessing the work place and a ‘class earnings penalty’, earning on average nearly £7000 less than those from more affluent backgrounds per year.
These speakers aim to bring visibility to the charity’s work and encourage their peers to take part through their own support, as well as helping to prepare the next generation by sharing their insights, advice and experiences.
Speakers for Schools has also signalled the forthcoming S4SNextGen programme – a new work experience platform that builds on the charity’s commitment to help bridge the gap by breaking down barriers to networks and organisations. S4SNextGen helps schools and employers target young people without personal networks or access to work experience, opening up placements at leading companies. Work experience is regularly cited as key to broadening work prospects and promoting greater social mobility, and 66% of employers think work experience is ‘essential’ when hiring at entry level. However, Ofsted finds work experience in schools relies heavily on the personal networks of teachers and pupils, which often means disadvantaged pupils miss out.
Throughout 2017 the charity is looking to offer their online tool to more leading employers and institutions passionate about opening up their workplace to harder-to-reach state schools and young people as an essential step in improving social mobility and increasing industry diversity. The roll out of Speakers for Schools S4SNextGen will begin with ‘digital pilot employers’ in select locations during 2017.
Speakers in the 2017 Bridging the Gap talk series include: