Social Mobility Business Partnership Launches

Multi award winning social mobility project expands offering opportunities to even more young people

A unique and award-winning social mobility programme that ITV are founding members of, the Social Mobility Business Partnership (SMBP), has expanded its remit to promoting social mobility in business, especially in the legal and accountancy professions.

At a launch event on Tuesday 16th January in the House of Commons hosted by Justin Madders MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility, the newly named Social Mobility Business Partnership was announced. Our very own Barry Matthews, our Director of Legal and Third Party Sales, is voluntary CEO of SMBP, and Andrew Garard, our Group Legal Director and Company Secretary, is Chair of the SMBP Board of Trustees. Both were in attendance, as well as representatives from our Responsibility and Public Affairs teams.

The Partnership, that we are founding members of, brings together professional bodies (including the ACCA and the Solicitors Regulation Authority), social mobility experts (including The Sutton Trust), commercial businesses, law and accountancy firms, and sports clubs in different regions to deliver week-long, work insight and skills programmes for Year 12 students.

Getting access to career enhancing opportunities can be difficult for any young person about to enter the world of business. It is especially hard, however, for those who don’t have the network or role models to advise on what options are open to them and how to go about pursuing a career.

That’s why in 2014 we helped establish the Legal Social Mobility Partnership (LSMP) to encourage young people of all social backgrounds to enter into the law profession. LSMP spread to Greater Manchester in 2015, Leeds and Birmingham in 2016, and in 2017 to Bristol, Brighton and Reading, bringing the total number of LSMP student places to over 300 and the number of participating organisations to 70.

The registered charity, now relaunched as SMBP, has extended its remit to include accountancy and has expanded to new areas – this year launching in Norwich and Glasgow. 80 business are now offering work insight opportunities to students.

At the work insight programme students learn about the different pathways to the legal and accountancy professions and about university finance. Over the week they spend a day at four different high profile businesses and a day run by a professional sports club to learn about the psychology of resilience and goal achievement models. Students also have access to online ‘virtual coaching’ from legal, accountancy and business professionals to help with Personal Statements/CVs, compiling application forms and preparing for interviews.

Having grown up on a council estate, I know from personal experience that entering into a profession or business seems like a huge mountain to climb when you have no network or understanding of what is required.  I wanted to do something to provide bright students from my background with a fighting chance of success by providing them with confidence and social capital through exposure to our world as it is now and support through their career journey.

Barry Matthews, volunteer CEO of SMBP

For more information please email our Scheme Director, Deborah Hill at