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Last month we hosted our first gathering of the Cornerstone Employers from across all 12 Opportunity Areas, kindly hosted by Lord Young at the House of Lords.

Despite the weather, the Cornerstone Employers came out in force to celebrate the work they are undertaking and discuss the need to drive engagement with employers across each of the Opportunity Areas. It was standing room only, demonstrating the value that is placed on this agenda.

Support from employers from across the country

There was a huge variety of employers present; from micro businesses such as Askew Brook from Scarborough and BurntheBook from Derby, to the large global organisations such as KPMG, Rolls Royce and PwC

Employers from around the country were represented, showcasing the geographical spread of the Cornerstone Employers. There was an especially strong contingent from Yorkshire who gave compelling accounts of the breadth of activity they are undertaking and why this agenda matters to them – surely this must be a rallying cry to the other counties to rise to the challenge and see if next year they can match the Yorkshire folk with their presence and commitment? 

Helping young people make informed decisions

It is fair to say that the star of the show was apprentice Hannah Magowan from Dale Power. Hannah, who is one of the top three advanced apprentices in the country having recently been highly commended at the National Apprenticeship Service Awards, spoke about her own journey from school to engineering apprenticeship. She emphasised the importance of sharing high-quality information with students, parents and teachers to enable young people to make more informed decisions about their careers.

The feeling in the room was one of optimism that this is a problem we can solve, and determination that we should all do more. The Federation of Small Businesses pointed out that, with 160,000 members, if each one committed to just one encounter they could make a huge difference.

Our task now is to galvanise the energy of the event and ensure that employers from all industries and all sizes support social mobility across the Opportunity Areas so that young people can have the best start to their working lives.


Read more

News - Opportunity Areas plans launched
Gov.uk - Opportunity Areas and Social Mobility
Our Opportunity Areas Fund