Employers and recruiters interested in creating a fairer society gathered together for Prospects' first ever event dedicated to social mobility
The 'Prospects Luminate Social Mobility and Recruitment' event saw NUS president Shakira Martin take to the stage: 'A working class background is the single biggest barrier to getting an education. Until this is solved it will always be for the privileged. It's a product of years of neglect from previous governments.
'It's about pressing the reset button and talking about fairness. We need a meaningful discussion about barriers faced and to move past 'targets'. It's OK to widen university student participation, but how do we stop them dropping out? How do we support them long-term?
'I am proud to be working on the NUS Poverty Commission. Universities alone can't erase social mobility. We need help from governments and communities too. Private landlords need to reduce rent over summer. We need 50% reduction in rail fare cards. They need maintenance grants and increased student income.'
A panel of experts from Fujitsu, RECLAIM and Stafford Long discussed ensuring equal opportunities at work, the impact of technology and how universities can better work with employers.
Mark Jackson of Fujitsu said: 'We have looked at the areas people come from, what university they went to and what their grades were. There was no real difference between area or university and grades when related to future performance. Therefore, employers need to restrict the unconscious bias in recruitment. We changed our recruitment process to include diverse assessment panels, which have had a profound effect on our business as a result.'
This is the second in Prospects' series of Luminate events. The first tackled the diversity challenge, with Femi Bola MBE.
For more information visit luminate.prospects.ac.uk/events