Social Mobility Business Partnership launches

Simply Business are proud to support even more opportunities for young people

London, January 16, 2018 – A unique and award-winning social mobility programme, the Legal Social Mobility Partnership, is to be expanded – with Simply Business joining over 70 other organisations to help young people from non-privileged backgrounds access the legal profession.

The Legal Social Mobility Partnership (LSMP) began in 2014, with founding organisations including ITV, Microsoft, Arnold Porter Kaye Scholar, Slaughter and May, and Harlequins RUFC (providing sports psychology led resilience training). The organisations collaborated to offer a week-long work insight opportunity for 20 London students. This was complemented by on-going coaching support for the participating students.

Since 2014, the programme has expanded to Greater Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Bristol, Brighton and Reading, bringing the total number of LSMP student places to over 300, while the the number of participating organisations offering work insight opportunities rose to 70 (including adidas, Barclays, Fremantle, Viacom, Oath, Manchester United, Manchester City, Plusnet, Virgin Atlantic, American Express, N Brown Group, Yeo Valley, EE, and Simply Business).

At a launch event today in the House of Commons, hosted by Justin Madders MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility, it was announced that the scheme is expanding further to become a registered charity – The Social Mobility Business Partnership (SMBP). It will widen its focus to promoting social mobility in business, with a particular focus on legal and accountancy professions.

The SMBP brings together professional bodies (including the ACCA, ICAEW, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and CILEx), social mobility experts, and existing profession-led movements (including The Sutton Trust and PRIME). This is alongside a number of commercial businesses, law and accountancy firms, and sports clubs, who will come together to deliver week-long, work insight and skills programmes for Year 12 students.

In 2018, the SMBP plans to expand to further areas – this year launching in Norwich and Glasgow, as well as increasing the catchment in Leeds and Manchester to incorporate nearby Department of Education Opportunity Areas.

The programme is driven by ITV’s Barry Matthews, who has acted as volunteer CEO since inception.

Kelly Harris, Simply Business Legal and Social Impact Director said:

“I come from a non-privileged background and have experienced first hand the barriers that people from that background face when going into Law. In the 23 years I’ve been in the profession, that situation has improved but, in my view, we still have a long way to go to ensure everyone has fair access to opportunities.

“We support a number of social mobility initiatives at Simply Business, so we jumped at the opportunity to get involved in the SMBP – we love the approach to blend valuable work experience at leading companies with the personal resilience students may need to overcome challenges. It’s a winning combination and we’re thrilled to play a part in the SBMP’s expansion – supporting even more young people.”

Barry Matthews said:

“Having grown up on a council estate, I know from personal experience that entering into a profession or business seems like a huge mountain to climb when you have no network or understanding of what is required. I wanted to do something to provide bright students from my background with a fighting chance of success by providing them with confidence and social capital through exposure to our world as it is now and support through their career journey.

“Resilience has been a big part of my life and it has been strengthened when other people in positions of power have shared their stories with me about bouncing back. This is why we have included a professional sport resilience training day (authored by ex-rugby professional and Olympic and business performance coach Mark Soden) as part of the SMBP package.”

Andrew Garard, Chair of the SMBP Board of Trustees said:

“When Barry came to me in 2014 with the idea of helping young students from less advantaged backgrounds gain an insight into working in the legal profession, it resonated straight away. I have a similar background to Barry and was determined to support him to grow the scheme. Through his and the team’s fantastic dedication we can now launch the SMBP.”

Notes to Editors – about the Social Mobility Business Partnership

The programme starts with an induction where students learn about the different pathways to the legal and accountancy professions, the future impact of AI on the delivery of professional services, and the facts about university finance.

Next, students participate in a week-long programme of work insight and skills experience in which they are given the opportunity to spend a day at four different high profile businesses. In addition, they attend a day run by a professional sports club to learn about the psychology of resilience and goal achievement models.

Finally, students have access to online ‘virtual coaching’ from legal, accountancy, and business professionals. Coaches are on hand to help with creating personal statements/CVs, compiling application forms, and preparing for interviews. The Social Mobility Business Partnership objectives are to:

  • Break down psychological ‘fitting in’ barriers students may experience when entering the world of business by providing them with an opportunity to experience different working environments and meet the professionals within them;
  • Develop students’ commercial awareness and skills in the following areas: interviewing, team working, relationship building, presenting, influencing, resilience, goal planning and negotiating;
  • Arm students with multiple corporate brand names to create stand out personal statements/CVs;
  • Provide engaging business-focussed work insight experiences to create anecdotes to enable students to confidently answer competency questions asked during university and job interviews; and
  • Assist students with each step of their career journey through online virtual coaching on personal statement/CV creation, completion of application forms, and interview preparation.

Student Eligibility

The students who participate must be:

  • State School educated; and
  • possess a G score of 6 and above; and Either:
  • first generation to attend University; or
  • are or have been eligible for free school meals (“FSM”) in the last 6 years; or
  • live in a household where their parent/guardian total gross annual income is equal to or less than the national average for the household expenditure in their area; or
  • live in a postcode with a Quintile 1 POLAR3 rating (Progression to HE measure: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/analysis/yp/); or
  • live in a postcode which has a Cat. 4 or 5 ACORN rating (Consumer affluence measure: http://acorn.caci.co.uk/infographic).

Student Sourcing

Students are identified in numerous ways for each cluster:

  1. Direct relationships with a local education authority and/or schools;
  2. Collaboration with other social mobility focussed charities.
  3. Professional Services Firm Gateway e.g. students attend a prior work experience placement with a professional services firm; most law firms we work with have signed up to the PRIME commitment.

SMBP is supported by 80 of the UK’s leading commercial organisations. Existing partners will be joined by SSE, Post Office, Virgin StartUp, Soreen, STV and others in 2018.

SMBP is funded by Addleshaw Goddard, Ashurst, BT plc, BLP, Burges Salmon, Buzzacott LLP, Charles Russell Speechly, Clifford Chance, CMS, DLA, Gowling WLG, ITV plc, Mischon De Reya, Osborne Clarke, Overture, Provident Financial plc, PwC, Reed Smith, Simply Business, Slaughter and May and Squire Patton Boggs.

Board member organisations: Ashurst, BT plc, Burges Salmon, Clifford Chance, CMS, ITV plc, Mischon De Reya, Osborne Clarke, Overture, Provident Financial plc, Reed Smith, Simply Business, Slaughter and May, and Squire Patton Boggs

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For more information, please contact: press@simplybusiness.co.uk

About Simply Business

Simply Business is the UK’s biggest business insurance provider, specialising in public liability insurance for SMEs and landlord insurance.

Launched in 2005, Simply Business provides an online brokerage service delivering policies tailored to individual business requirements. It has a team of UK based insurance specialists and employs almost 300 people across offices in London and Northampton.

Simply Business provides insurance to more than 425,000 UK SMEs and landlords and owing to its internal underwriting capability can cover over 1,000 trade types. It has been a Sunday Times Tech Track 100 company for the past three years and was recently named in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA. Revenues have grown from £4.2 million in 2006, to £25.4 million in 2014, and the company has been named 2015 and 2016 winners of The Sunday Times’ Best Company to Work For.

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