UCLan's plan to get nation back on feet

Former Education secretary Justine Greening is joining forces with university chiefs in Preston to help with a post Covid-19 recovery plan.

Tuesday, 23rd June 2020, 8:26 am
UCLan vice- chancellor Prof Graham Baldwin

The partnership with the University of Central Lancashire is intended to build on the Social Mobility Pledge she set up in 2018 and comes as comes as research shows 80 per cent of people are worried that there will be fewer available job opportunities for young people nationwide over the next year.

Meanwhile separate analysis reveals some communities already suffering most from a lack of social mobility now look set to be hit hardest by the economic fallout f the coronavirus pandemic.

UCLan is one of the organisations that signed the initial pledge and the partnership between will include the development of an Opportunity Action Plan to level up Britain in the wake of Covid-19.

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The plan will share the university's work to level up opportunities within its organisation and local communities and will set out how UCLan plans to go further and play its role in the national recovery from Covid-19 amid warnings of a rise in youth unemployment.

This will range from working with school and colleges, to helping provide structured work experience and/or apprenticeship opportunities to people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances.

With a million young people due to enter the workplace this summer, many are seeing their life prospects drastically downgraded, with jobs and job offers disappearing. Meanwhile, massive demand for re-skilling and career shifting support is building up.

“Well defined purpose together with a strong culture and leadership have marked out those organisations which have taken the right decisions in response to the crisis, from those which have not. The challenge now, and one that the University of Central Lancashire has stepped up to, is for Britain’s businesses and universities to play their role in boosting opportunity and social mobility as part of our national recovery.

“I’m looking forward to working with the University of Central Lancashire on their Opportunity Action Plan. They are committed to making a difference and levelling up Britain. I hope many others will follow their example."

Vice-chancellor Professor Graham Baldwin said: "We have been transforming lives since 1828 and we have always prided ourselves on being an open and accessible institution for people of all ages and all backgrounds.

"We strongly believe in the power of higher education to promote social mobility and this is reflected in our extensive widening participation activities with schools, colleges and community groups.

“We are extremely pleased to have made our Social Mobility Pledge, and to be working in partnership with Justine Greening. We are now in a vital period of recovery for the country and for the region, and we have a central role to play in helping to ensure future prosperity. We have a responsibility to help reduce opportunity gaps that exist for people from disadvantaged backgrounds by offering fairer access to formal education, coaching, careers advice and work experience."

Justine Greening, the first education secretary to have attended a comprehensive school, added: "With a million young people due to enter the workplace this summer, many are seeing their life prospects drastically downgraded, with jobs and job offers disappearing. Meanwhile, massive demand for re-skilling and career shifting support is building up.

"Well defined purpose together with a strong culture and leadership have marked out those organisations which have taken the right decisions in response to the crisis, from those which have not.

"The challenge now, and one that the University of Central Lancashire has stepped up to, is for Britain’s businesses and universities to play their role in boosting opportunity and social mobility as part of our national recovery."

She added: "I’m looking forward to working with the University of Central Lancashire on their Opportunity Action Plan.

They are committed to making a difference and levelling up Britain. I hope many others will follow their example."