Social Mobility is at the heart of what we do, but we can and must do more.

Thank you once again for your ongoing support and, in a challenging political environment with much uncertainty, our role in collectively supporting unemployed young people is more vital than ever.  The uncertainty is clearly affecting young people’s happiness and confidence – the 2019 Prince’s Trust Ebay Youth Index (a national survey that gauges young people’s happiness and confidence across a range of areas from their working life to physical and mental health) found the overall Index score has flat-lined at its lowest level in a decade at 69.

On top of this, social mobility is a real challenge, as young people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds do not have the same access to opportunity. The recent Impetus report showed that disadvantaged young people are twice as likely to be NEET as their better-off peers, and this correlation remains consistent across all levels of qualification.  Additionally,  the Social Mobility Commission’s report talked about the two-tier apprenticeship system with the lack of access across society to good quality apprenticeships, meaning that “those from lower socio-economic backgrounds are clustered in lower-returning and lower level apprenticeships, and are thus not benefitting as much as their affluent peers”. When you combine this with a 35% drop in placement availability and a 53% drop in Level 2 Apprenticeships across the UK, you uncover  a challenging landscape for unemployed young people.

As I said in my opening, the work we are doing is more important now than ever and we should be proud of the positive impact we are implementing.  The number of opportunities we created increased by 5% in 2018, with over 13,000 young people supported and over 55% of those completing placements going onto jobs or back into education. However, there is a large  opportunity set out there and we can and must do more

We’re focussing our energy on ensuring what we do has the maximum impact on social mobility. We are pushing  to make our opportunities more accessible for all, through our talent platform. We want to ensure that we are reaching into the right communities across the UK by continuing to build on our network of over 30 brilliant youth outreach and training providers, as well as making connections with local and regional authorities like  we have in the West Midlands.  By innovating to create the right offering of support for young people,  we are must ensuring that every young person we interact with moves onto a positive pathway. Supporting all of this is driving the policy changes needed to unlock funding for the youth sector.

Better connectivity, visibility and accessibility will help drive some of this change, but it will also take our focus, energy and desire to ensure that every opportunity we create can be made available to those young people most in need of our support.  It’s core to our collective mission and we are dedicated to supporting you in this.

Finally, I’d love to finish on a note of celebration. Our Social Mobility Awards are open and we’d encourage early nominations. The shortlist of nominees will be invited to parliament for our Youth Summit event in early November, with the Awards Ceremony at our Annual Celebration Event on the Tuesday 4 February 2020.

Thanks again everyone.