A report brought by the Panel on Fair Access to the professions has been published. The findings of this report, highlighting gaps in social mobility, will be presented to Gordon Brown by Rt Hon. Alan Milburn.
This follows the New Opportunities White Paper, which examined the importance of social mobility for the economy and social justice.
Amongst the 88 recommendations, employers should monitor the socio-economic backgrounds of their workforce to help address the ‘closed shop’ mentality of many professions, including law, medicine and the senior civil service.
The report also suggests the creation of a code of practice for internships which would establish a “fair and transparent” system, to ensure opportunities are opened up by employers. Access to internship should also be widened via the creation of a portal for pre-graduate schemes.
Chairing the panel of 18 members, Alan Milburn said: “It is not that many young people do not have aspirations. It is that they are blocked. To coin a phrase, Britain’s got talent – lots of it. It is not ability that is unevenly distributed in our society – it is opportunity.”
The report also suggests skills training vouchers, worth up to Ã‚Â£5000, to offer for courses such as apprenticeships to those wishing to improve their skills. The system would be guided more by individual demands rather than current framework – not unlike the previously attempted Individual Learning Accounts, which collapsed in 2001 amid abuse, mis-selling and fraud – Milburn acknowledged. Such a system would require the introduction of a list of training providers, to avoid past mistakes.
The cross-party report was welcomed by most politicians and is likely to end up on most main parties’ agenda for the general election.
The CIPD stated that HR professionals and appropriate management would play in important part in realising the panel’s recommendations.