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Compass Group UK and Ireland unveils plan to close Opportunity Gap

In partnership with former Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Justine Greening, the food and support services company has unveiled an action plan to increase access to career opportunities across the UK.

The plan sets out a series of ambitions that Compass will work towards in the wake of Covid-19 with the aim of ensuring that more people are able to progress in careers, unhindered by their background or lack of connections.

The hospitality and foodservice industries are uniquely positioned to affect positive change because they don’t have the educational barriers of other industries. Compass has the scale and geographic breadth to help and offer thousands of opportunities across the country.

Social Mobility

Compass is one of a pioneering group of UK businesses and universities aiming to set a new and higher standard on boosting social mobility in Britain. As a Recognised Living Wage Service Provider, Compass has a strong advocacy position on pay in partnership with clients, and later this year they will become one of the first companies to begin measuring social mobility in the workforce.

The company was also among the early signatories to the Social Mobility Pledge, cofounded by Justine Greening in 2018, after she left the Government, alongside UK entrepreneur David Harrison, chair of the Harrison Centre for Social Mobility. The pledge is a commitment to levelling up Britain by partnering with local schools, offering apprenticeships and using open and fair recruitment practices.

More than 550 organisations representing over seven million people have now signed the Social Mobility Pledge.

The launch of Compass’ Opportunity Action Plan, entitled ‘Essential Career Path Guarantee’, is the culmination of months of work with the Social Mobility Pledge team, who identified Compass as a trail blazer in social mobility.

Rt Hon Justine Greening said: “True social mobility in Britain has been lacking for far too long. Levelling up our country is a challenge that needs a national effort and it’s one that businesses are increasingly rising to.

“Compass Group UK and Ireland has shown how to deliver essential worker careers, providing fantastic careers for people who were not necessarily even looking for one initially, and who may have started off their time with Compass with little confidence to pursue one. Through their approach, Compass has shown how a business can not only build the chance for careers and progress but make that reality by matching it up with ensuring employees get the support and confidence they need to make the most of those opportunities. Compass has shown that there are no dead-end jobs, only companies who haven’t thought through how to deliver a career path guarantee like this for their employees.

“By publishing this action plan, Compass is part of a coalition of businesses and universities working to deliver a set of levelling up goals that are raising the standard of the environment, social and corporate governance agenda. I look forward to working closely with them in the important months ahead for our country.”

Donna Catley, Chief People Officer, Compass Group UK and Ireland commented: “We can offer the precious “First Rung” on the ladder – the first job that enables a colleague to gain confidence and skills – as well as the chance to progress through our ranks.

“Every day across thousands of sites we see people whose career has grown with us and our business. Every job is an opportunity to develop skills and confidence – there is no dead-end job. Our ‘Essential Career Path Guarantee’ action plan details steps we must take to help the UK to build back better from the effects of Covid-19.”

Social Mobility Pledge

The Social Mobility Pledge is a commitment from businesses and universities across Britain to become a social mobility employer by taking the three steps below:

1) Partnering directly with schools or colleges to provide coaching through quality careers advice, enrichment experience and/or mentoring to people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances. Businesses can work through the many social mobility charities and organisations, such as Speakers for Schools, Inspiring the Future, the Princes Trust, the Careers and Enterprise Company, that are already there to help businesses and employers do more on the ground.

2) Access – providing structured work experience and/or apprenticeship opportunities to people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances.

3) Recruitment – adopting open employee recruitment practices which promote a level playing field for people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances, such as name blind recruitment or contextual recruitment.

Employers can sign up today to be a social mobility employer at www.socialmobilitypledge.org

About Sarah OBeirne

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