Wednesday, 03 September 2014

Organisations agree to end 'who you know' culture

A group of leading organisations in the housing sector have signed up to the government’s pledge to end the culture of ‘who you know, not what you know’.

One landlord, three contractors and two industry bodies have agreed to open their doors to people from all walks of life.

Anchor Trust, Carillion, Mears Group, Wates Group, Royal Institute of British Architects and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors have today all signed the government’s business compact on social mobility.

The organisations must now agree to:

  • support communities and schools to raise aspirations through, for example, reading and mentoring schemes or encouraging their staff to go out to schools and inspire pupils about their careers.
  • open opportunities to all young people by advertising their work experience places through schools, online and in other public forums, rather than just giving places to informal contacts.
  • make access to internships open and transparent, with financial support such as providing expenses or accommodation, or by treating the internship as a job that can be paid under National Minimum Wage law.
  • recruit fairly and without discrimination, using application forms that don’t allow candidates to be screened out because they went to the wrong school or come from a different ethnic group (including through using name-blank and school-blank applications where appropriate).

The organisations join big-hitters such as BP, the BBC and Sony in signing the agreement.

Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister, said: ‘This is an important step towards a society where it’s what you know, not who you know, that counts. 

‘Working with the coalition, the biggest hitters in British business are helping lead the way to a fairer, more open society.

‘By opening their doors to young people from all walks of life, this marks the start of a culture shift among major employers, driven by the belief that ability and drive should trump connections and privilege.

‘I’d like to thank the companies and organisations who have already signed up to the business compact.

‘Today’s success makes me even more ambitious. This great news is just the beginning – I will be doing everything I can to bring even more businesses on board.’

David Miles, chief executive, Mears Group, said: ‘Mears has a long standing commitment to strengthening the communities where we work. Businesses have a phenomenal capacity to help break the cycles of disadvantage faced by some of the poorest members of our society.

‘This is why Mears is supporting the social mobility business compact and are encouraging others to see what they can do to create a more productive and socially mobile society.’

Readers' comments (3)

  • Rick Campbell

    For some reason, I cannot find this in the least interesting -- coffee might help.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Fear & Loathing

    Perhaps now the over 55s can be treated fairly and without discrimination. They are quite a few of us highly experienced, highly qualified housing staff on the silver scrap heap. Even knowing the right people doesn't help.

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  • We have the view that many internships where the intern / volunteer is anyone other than say a wealthy person / supporter who is doing it for social / charitable reasons, then such internships should be made illegal.
    If someone does work for you, then pay them a fair rate.
    Anything else seems to have a whiff of exploitation to us.

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