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One of top 50 UK employers for social equality

Barts Health NHS Trust is one of the UKs top 50 employers for taking action to improve social equality in the workplace; the only NHS Trust to make the list.

The results have been published in a joint initiative between the Social Mobility Foundation and the Social Mobility Commission, in partnership with the City of London Corporation, in what is believed to be the world’s first-ever Social Mobility Employer Index.

It ranks Britain’s employers for the first time on the actions they are taking to ensure they are open to accessing and progressing talent from all backgrounds to recruit fairly, showcasing progress towards improving social mobility.

Research has consistently shown that people from more affluent backgrounds take a disproportionate number of the best jobs and that employers tend to disproportionately employ graduates who went to private schools and elite universities.

To tackle this and improve the health and wellbeing of its local population, Barts Health’s Public Health team has launched a number of programmes to support people from disadvantaged communities in east London to gain access to training and employment. Its innovative Community Works for Health programme has since 2012 provided more than 8,000 people with structured work placements and training opportunities in its five hospitals, working with community partners to offer careers guidance and interview skills.

The Trust is also working with local organisations to increase career opportunities for young people with learning disabilities through its youth training programme, Project Search. This supports young people with learning difficulties and learning disabilities with extended internships leading to permanent employment where possible, and supports others attending college to gain vital experience.

Alwen Williams, Chief Executive at Barts Health NHS Trust said: “We are proud to be recognised for taking positive action to tackle and remove hurdles for people from lower socio-economic backgrounds who have talent, but lack a network of guidance, support and connections to get ahead. With employment linked to improved health outcomes, it is equally important that people living in deprived communities are supported to have the best possible career opportunities.”

The aim of the Index is to encourage firms to share their initiatives and progress in becoming more inclusive employers and to reveal which sectors and companies are taking the issue of social mobility most seriously. The final rankings were decided by a panel of experts and all firms will receive a report with recommendations for areas for improvement.

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chairman for the City of London Corporation, said: “These firms have shown real ambition in their approach to tackling social mobility. They are leading the way in removing the barriers which are holding back the best and brightest candidates in our society. Statistics show that people from more prosperous backgrounds, who attend private schools and elite universities, often take a disproportionate number of the best jobs.

“But more companies are making progress on social mobility, casting the net wider in the search for talent and recognising that a level playing field is in the best interests for all businesses. The Index is an effective incentive to UK businesses to demonstrate the progress they are making in this vital area.”

David Johnston, chief executive of the Social Mobility Foundation, said: “All the Top 50 firms in the Social Mobility Employer Index should be applauded for the progress they are making towards ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to get in and get on – regardless of their background. 

“While no one firm has cracked the issue and there is still progress to be made, they should be congratulated both for having prioritised social mobility and for being prepared to have their processes and practices independently scrutinised.”

The Rt Hon Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility Commission, added: “Improving the UK’s dismal social mobility record requires new action by employers and not just governments. It is very welcome that more employers are changing their workforce strategies to ensure they don’t lose out on talented people from less privileged backgrounds. The top 50 are paving the way and I thank them for their efforts. Where they are leading, I hope others will follow.  

“The annual publication of this Index aims to shine a light on how and where progress is being made. Employers that have employees at all levels from a rich variety of social backgrounds are better placed to meet the demands and uncertainties of today’s world. Social mobility is good for employers. And employers can make a major contribution to creating a more mobile society.”

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Barts Health NHS Trust
With a turnover of £1.4 billion and a workforce of around 16,000, Barts Health is the largest NHS trust in the country, and one of Britain’s leading healthcare providers. The Trust’s five hospitals – St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City, including the Barts Heart Centre, The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, Newham University Hospital in Plaistow, Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone and Mile End – deliver high quality compassionate care to the 2.5 million people of East London and beyond.


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