Justine Greening meets apprentices at Severn Trent and finds out more about company’s commitment to Social Mobility Pledge

8th January 2019

Social Mobility Pledge co-founder Justine Greening MP has visited Severn Trent to find out more about what the water company doing to support people from all backgrounds as they look to progress further in their careers than they might otherwise.

Ms Greening, who founded the pledge with entrepreneur David Harrison to encourage companies to challenge the UK’s shamefully poor record on social mobility, visited the company’s Coventry HQ to meet CEO Liv Garfield and to talk to apprentices, while also finding out more about what the company is already doing to help social mobility.

“A third of the nation’s social mobility cold spots are in the communities we serve, so we’re absolutely committed to doing everything we can to help improve the situation,” said Liv.

“In fact, almost half of our colleagues come from social mobility cold spots already but we really want to go that extra mile and to do even more.”

Justine Greening MP said: “It’s fantastic to see what Severn Trent is doing, driving more opportunities for people across the region. The apprentices that I had the chance to hear from were hugely impressive and it’s great to have Severn Trent on board the Social Mobility Pledge.

“Social mobility really is at the heart of how we will make sure Britain is a fairer, more productive country with opportunity spread more evenly. Getting to grips with it means understanding the issues at a community level and I’m delighted to have the chance to work with businesses like Severn Trent hand in hand to tackle them.”

By signing the Pledge Severn Trent has committed to:

  • Partner with schools or colleges to provide coaching through quality careers advice, enrichment experience and/or mentoring to people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances;
  • Provide structured work experience and/or apprenticeship opportunities to people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances; and
  • Adopt open employee recruitment practices which promotes a level playing field for people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances.

Of the Severn Trent employees who come from cold spots, around a third have been promoted at least once in their career with the FTSE 100 company.

The Pledge is a response to Britain’s widespread lack of social mobility – the progress of individuals through the so-called ‘class ceiling’ or further in life than their parents.

In its 2017 ‘State of Social Mobility’ report, the Sutton Trust found that the UK is among the worst of the 37 OECD nations for income mobility.The paper reports that only one in eight children from low-income backgrounds is likely to become a high-income earner as an adult.

For more information on the Social Mobility Pledge go here.