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Norwich’s major employers have announced an ambitious plan to promote social mobility in the city by connecting thousands of young people to the world of work.

KPMG, Aviva, Norwich City FC, Grant Thornton and Norfolk County Council have all signed up to a ‘Cornerstone Employer Commitments’ plan launched today at an event at the Open Academy in Norwich. The event was hosted by KPMG and joined by Norwich North MP Chloe Smith and senior representatives from Norfolk County Council and Grant Thornton.

The plan sets out how the employers in Norwich will help prepare young people for the world of work and promote social mobility. It includes activities they will take to mobilise local businesses to meet an ambitious target of delivering over 36,000 encounters with employers for young people in the area by 2020.

Norwich is one of the government’s 12 Opportunity Areas across England, designed to promote social mobility and open-up opportunities for young people. We are a national organisation that helps prepare young people for the fast-changing world of work, and have worked together with the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership to recruit ‘Cornerstone Employers’ to help support the Opportunity Area’s work. 

Cornerstone Employers work together with the wider business community, schools and colleges to ensure all young people in the area are inspired and prepared for the world of work.  They range from large to small employers, operating at a local or national level. Cornerstone Employers help give young people direct experience of the world of work through ‘employer encounters’ and act as champions to encourage new businesses in the area to get involved.

They also encourage their own staff to become volunteer ‘Enterprise Advisers’. Enterprise Advisers are senior business volunteers who work closely with a local school or college to help develop a careers plan and improve careers education for young people, so they can make informed choices about their futures.

Grant Thornton have also announced today that they are supplying three new Enterprise Advisers for the New Anglia Enterprise Adviser Network. Grant Thornton’s contribution means that every school in the Norwich Opportunity Area will now be benefiting from an Enterprise Adviser.

Chloe Smith, Norwich North MP and Minister for the Constitution said:

“Improving social mobility for young people in Norwich is an important part of my ongoing work. As chair of the Norwich Opportunity Area Youth Board, I know first-hand from young people about how they aspire to reach their goals; I am working hard across the city to make that happen. I am delighted to see local businesses in the area come together to support young people, we all have a responsibility to work together to improve the lives of young people in our city. Businesses, like those attending this event, share my belief that It is really important to help prepare and inspire young people for the world of work.”

Steve Muncey, KPMG’s East Anglia Chairman said:  

“One of the ways we, as a firm, promote social mobility is by addressing the geography of disadvantage. That is why we signed up to become a Cornerstone Employer in Norwich last year. I welcome the Cornerstone Employer Commitments plan, and am proud that KPMG has committed to supporting schools, colleges and young people locally through 250 volunteering hours and over 1,000 employer encounters”.

“I was really pleased that our roundtable included a diverse range of organisations and sectors committed to driving social mobility collaboratively and improving outcomes in Norwich.”

Robin Shore, Senior Tax Manager from Grant Thornton’s Norwich office said:

“Norwich is a fantastic, vibrant city and ensuring young people are equipped with the skills and experience to succeed is vital to creating a sustainable future. In support of this ambition, and as part of our wider role in the community, we will be providing hands on support through coaching, career guidance and mentorship to young people across the city. At Grant Thornton we believe that every individual, regardless of their background, should have the opportunity to reach their full potential and we are excited to be part of this valuable initiative.”

Anna Frazer, Head of Employer Engagement at The Careers & Enterprise Company said:

“We are very grateful to the Cornerstone Employers for their ongoing support and commitment to the young people of Norwich.  Their leadership is vital in making sure that local schools and colleges get the support they need from the local business community, so that every young person in Norwich has the opportunities they need to prepare for their future careers.”