Justine Greening and Severn Trent launch new social mobility report

Monday 1st July 2019

Justine Greening MP visited Severn Trent last week to launch a new report on boosting social mobility across the region.

Severn Trent’s new Skills Tap report, written in partnership with the Social Mobility Pledge – a campaign co-founded by Ms Greening to challenge the UK’s poor record on social mobility, sets out how its apprenticeship programme can help to improve the trend.

Severn Trent, a founder member of the pledge, has put apprenticeships at the heart of its long-term business strategy, in a bid to support people from all backgrounds, employing young people from areas where opportunities are less readily available, known as cold spots.

Speaking at the launch, Severn Trent CEO Liv Garfield, said:

“We see apprenticeships as a crucial part of the solution to better social mobility. A third of the nation’s social mobility cold spots are in the communities we serve, so we have a great chance to make a real difference and create opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t be there.

“Apprenticeships are vitally important to help young people get experience in the work place, learn new skills, while earning and contributing to the work place. It’s our responsibility to do more, to help those in society that need these chances in life.”

Social Mobility Pledge founder Justine Greening MP said:

“Over the next few years we are going to see big changes in working patterns and the evolution of skills that people will need to have. It’s vital that as a country we prepare for that with a dynamic approach to life-long learning and routes into work.

“Severn Trent is a great example of a company that totally gets that. It was great to visit their head office in Coventry and meet Liv and her team. Their Skills Tap report sets a standard in how forward-thinking organisations use apprenticeships to broaden their talent pool. It was inspiring to see how they can transform lives for the better and to meet some of the people who began their career as apprentices and have worked their way up.”

Severn Trent signed up to the Social Mobility Pledge last year, committing to provide access through work experience and apprenticeship opportunities. As part of the pledge, the company has also committed to:

•    Partner with schools or colleges to provide coaching through quality careers advice, enrichment experience and mentoring to young people

•    Ensuring fairer recruitment practices, which promote a level playing field to people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances

The report’s release follows significant steps already taken by Severn Trent in this area. To date, almost half of new hires have come from areas identified as being cold spots.Similarly, just under half of all promotions within the company have been awarded to staff from cold spots.  

Severn Trent’s apprenticeship programme isn’t limited to engineering and operational roles either. The scheme provides opportunities in its support teams too, including its finance, legal and HR departments.

To read the Skills Tap report in full, please click here

For more information on the Social Mobility Pledge visit