Greene King Sets Out New Commitments To Help Improve Social Mobility

Greene King has launched The Stepping Up Report, challenging the barriers of social mobility and providing a commitment to create the best opportunities for individuals from all backgrounds in the hospitality sector. The report sets out five ambitions to encourage greater social mobility alongside a call for action for the Government and wider industry to do its part.

Launched at a reception in Parliament today and supported by Education Secretary Damian Hinds, The Stepping Up Report comes as the prominence of social mobility as an issue continues to rise in the UK. The 2018 Social Mobility Barometer, a survey of 5,000 people carried out by The Social Mobility Commission, showed that 40% of respondents think it is getting harder for people from less advantaged backgrounds to move up in British society, almost twice as many as those who think it is becoming easier. Nearly half of respondents believed that where you end up in society is heavily influenced by who your parents are.

In the report, Greene King sets out five ambitions to encourage greater social mobility:

  1. Releasing Potential, a new employment programme for ex-offenders. Working with the Ministry of Justice, the charity Only A Pavement Away and partners Novus, Clean Sheet and Sodexo, we will support 50 individuals in the first year – initially working with prisons in the North West and London.
  2. A new commitment to support 20,000 apprentices by 2022.
  3. The first hospitality company to become a signatory to Business in the Community’s Race at Work Charter. This will see the appointment of an Executive Sponsor for Race, working towards the capturing of ethnicity data and acting to support the career progression of ethnic minorities.
  4. Pledge to increase internal appointments to pub general manager from 64% to 80%.
  5. Extending the company’s partnership with The Prince’s Trust for a fourth year with a target to increase the number of people being offered a permanent role after successful completion of the ‘Get Into Hospitality’ programme from 61% to 75%.

Launching the report, Rooney Anand, Chief Executive Officer of Greene King said: “Having served the nation for over two hundred years, we’ve witnessed the hospitality industry’s ability to propel social mobility time and time again. Starting and growing careers from the pub floor to senior leadership, our industry backs individuals from all walks of life, offering folks the chance to turn a short-term shift into a life-long career and improve their and their family’s standard of living.

“Of course, promoting and engendering social mobility isn’t easy and there’s no magic formula – it needs commitment and effort and we all need to play our part, but I hope that through sharing our efforts, we can encourage others in hospitality to help the cause, step up to the challenge and help make a real difference.”

Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, who provided a foreword for the report and will give a keynote address at the reception, said: “Everyone should have the chance to fulfil that spark of potential that exists in all of us. That is why creating opportunities and real change in the lives of young people is a shared responsibility. Alongside the Government’s work to transform technical education and promote apprenticeships through our new ‘Fire it up’ campaign, businesses like Greene King are playing a critical role in promoting social mobility. This scheme is supporting in-house training, offering apprenticeships and helping ex-offenders get back into work, making sure people have skills and qualifications needed for success.”

Robert Halfon MP and Chair of the Education Select Committee said: “I congratulate Greene King on rising to the challenge of boosting the number of apprenticeships in the hospitality sector. Their apprenticeships offer quality training in a supportive environment, allowing individuals of all ages to engage in lifelong learning. Such a commitment to vocational education is vital for the future health of the economy and ensuring everyone, wherever they are from, has the chance to climb the ladder of opportunity.”

Dame Martina Milburn DVCO CBE, Group Chief Executive of The Prince’s Trust and Chair of the Social Mobility Commission said: “I encourage all employers in the hospitality industry to challenge themselves about how they can help give a step up to more young people through schemes like ‘Get into Hospitality’. Greene King’s ‘Get into Hospitality’ programme, run with the Prince’s Trust, is a brilliant initiative, helping each young person gain industry qualifications, the potential of a job offer and if they wish, the opportunity to enrol in the Greene King apprenticeship programme.”

The Stepping Up Report argues that through working together there is much more that can be done to help ensure where you start in life doesn’t predetermine your future. In the report Greene King calls for the Government to focus on the following:

  • Provide greater support in promoting hospitality as a skilled profession and valued career route within national careers guidance
  • Recognise the importance of social mobility as a cross-government priority by appointing a Cabinet Office Minister with specific responsibility for Social Mobility
  • Encourage the Social Mobility Commission to proactively work with businesses to identify a metric by which companies can declare levels of social mobility annually, and consequently be held publicly accountable for
  • Continue to champion apprenticeships and ensure that new T Levels are designed to complement and enhance – rather than replace or duplicate – existing programmes
  • Redistribute unused company Apprenticeship Levy funds to those employers with capacity to deliver further quality apprenticeships, including the option to pay 10% via in-kind contributions after Levy funds have been spent
  • Encourage devolved governments to move quickly in transitioning to Apprenticeship Standards, in line with England, to allow companies to fully draw down on Apprenticeship Levy funds and ensure a level playing field for young people across the UK
  • Ensure that the hospitality sector retains access to the people and skills it requires, building a future immigration policy that meets the needs of the industry
  • Back the hospitality industry in its ambition to help ex-offenders return to the workplace.