Melanie Richards, KPMG’s Vice Chairman reacts to today’s speech by the Education Secretary Justine Greening MP.
Reacting to today’s speech by the Education Secretary Justine Greening MP, where she announced a range of measures designed to raise standards in the most disadvantaged areas of the country, Melanie Richards, KPMG’s Vice Chairman said:
“As a Social Mobility Champion, addressing the geography of disadvantage is one of KPMG's key priorities and it is encouraging to hear the Education Secretary set out her plan for action across some of the UK’s most deprived areas.
"Particularly welcome was the call for more disadvantaged young people winning places on apprenticeships and entering the top professions. Our flagship apprenticeship programmes, KPMG360° and the Business Support Academy, have shown that through targeted outreach and an apprenticeship strategy that has social mobility at its core, it is possible to recruit a more diverse talent pipeline. This is backed up by our data. Over the last three years, we have year-on-year recruited more school leavers from a disadvantaged background. In 2014 12% of school leaver recruits were eligible for Free School Meals rising to 18% by 2016.
“It is crucial that we not only provide academic opportunities for young people in disadvantaged parts of the country, but also open up access to high-quality employment opportunities in these areas ready for when they leave the education system. This will mean the government, business and third sector working together to strengthen the link between education and employment across the country, to ensure that every young person can fulfil their potential.
“Like the Education Secretary, we believe a targeted approach is key, which is why we have forged strong relationships with disadvantaged schools local to our 22 offices across the UK. We are also working with the Social Mobility Foundation to offer residential work placements to students in harder to reach areas where opportunities are limited, including 'cold spots' identified by the Social Mobility Commission.
“Using this experience, we have pledged to support the Government on 'Opportunity Areas', share our experience in the field and work to ensure geography does not dictate access to opportunity.”
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KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 13,500 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a revenue of £2.07 billion in the year ended 30 September 2016. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 152 countries and has 189,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.