Social mobility strategy

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced the launch of the Government’s social mobility strategy today.

Stating that no-one should get an unfair advantage purely because of “who they know”, the Liberal Democrat leader criticised Labour’s record in improving social mobility as he outlined how the Coalition intends to make Britain more meritocratic.

Clegg says that “fairness is one of the fundamental values of the Coalition Government”, with this new strategy aiming to create fair access to jobs and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to fulfil their potential. As a result, the Deputy Prime Minister says the scheme will make career progression less dependent on “who your father’s friends are”.

In advance of the strategy’s launch, Clegg says “We want a society in which success is based on what you know, not who you know or which family you are born into. So our social mobility drive is aimed at helping the majority of people to move up the rungs of the ladder of opportunity.”

A major part of the policy focuses on making work experience and internships a driving force in widening access to professions. The Coalition believes practical experience can provide young people with valuable opportunities and skills, as well as increasing their understanding of an industry. Most importantly, obtaining an internship can really boost employment chances.

They recognise, however, that internships can often be the preserve of those with existing connection within an industry. This is particularly true of popular sectors such as journalism, law and banking. The strategy aims to open up internships to everyone, not just the “well-connected”.

Employers and businesses will be encouraged to make their employment methods more transparent and offer internships on merit rather than through informal channels. They will also be expected to provide some kind of financial support to interns, with reasonable out of pocket expense to be reimbursed as a minimum. Both these measures match Inspiring Interns’ own commitment to fair internships. We advertise all our vacancies widely, so that it is not just those ‘in the know’ who can apply for our schemes, and our remuneration policy is one of lunch and travel expenses as a minimum.

We welcome the Government’s social mobility strategy and their support for fair and open internships. With ever increasing numbers of graduates entering a hugely competitive job market it has become crucial for university leavers to have meaningful work experience. Securing this experience should be about what you know, not who you know.