Balfour Beatty boss wants action to boost social mobility

Leo Quinn

BALFOUR Beatty chief executive Leo Quinn has urged the UK Government and business leaders to address a lack of social mobility in the country.

Mr Quinn is founder and chairman of The 5% Club, which focuses on the recruitment of apprentices and graduates into the workforce.The organisation has issued a report titled “Playing to our strengths: Unlocking social mobility for economic good”.

The report makes a series of recommendations to drive social mobility, whilst also ensuring inclusive growth.

Leo Quinn said, “Business leaders and government urgently need to join forces to address the lack of social mobility in the UK today. Central to this is raising awareness amongst young people from less advantaged backgrounds about going down the route of ‘earn and learn’ to start building long-term careers while being paid. Many of our key industries are crying out for skilled workers to train on the job – so it’s a tragedy if we fail to reach those who desperately need this chance.

“As employers we must ensure that traditional recruitment methods are not inherently discriminatory. We must open up early work experience or internships to all – the first vital step into the world of work. Equally, positive careers advice in schools can tear down the perception that apprenticeships are ‘second best.’ And we must all press government to transform the apprenticeship levy into a broader skills levy.

“If we really want to unlock social mobility, we must work together to open the gates on a flood of untapped talent, helping society as a whole but also dramatically improving Britain’s economic prospects.”