Are you Ready to ELBA? The first in a series of blogs from new CEO, Ian Parkes

 In Blog, CEO's blog

Dear Friends,

This is my first blog as ELBA’s new CEO. One week in I can say I have had a really warm welcome and I reach this first milestone even more impressed with the work ELBA business partners do in the community – and the extraordinary talent the community offers back in return.

At ELBA, where we marry talent at all levels to jobs with our business partners and in the community and act as a bridge between education and business, we were fascinated to see on Friday that the House of Lords Social Mobility Select Committee published its report  –  “Overlooked and left behind: improving the transition from school to work for the majority of young people”. #HLSMC. If you ever had doubts about the relevance of the Second Chamber, and whether its denizens are in touch with contemporary issues, this report will give you reassurance. It gets stuck right into the heart of how many young people who cannot, or do not want to follow an academic route from education to work are getting left behind. Any upward mobility is limited. The report finds non-academic routes into employment are confused and confusing – for young people and employers alike, and it recommends fresh initiatives on careers advice, qualifications, apprenticeships and training.

What particularly struck a chord with me is that the report says that too often the background of candidates plays a greater role in recruitment than their talents, attributes and hunger to succeed. Often, non-academic young people do not have the networks and contacts to be able to organise their own work experience and internships and as a consequence are always one step behind. Some young people know from a very early age that they will struggle to get on. It is so limiting, and at such a young age.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. As the report says the role of employers is fundamental to changing the pattern – and we are lucky to work with business partner companies who already buy into that principle. Coincidently, also on Friday, ELBA partner Accenture published its 2015 Corporate Citizenship report. #AccentureCmtyUK. Their Skills to Succeed programme has already equipped 1.2m people worldwide with workplace and entrepreneurial skills. ELBA is really proud to have been a collaboration partner with Accenture, and we are currently working on new ideas with them.

What’s ELBA’s approach to tackling social mobility barriers? Find some great employers – they just happen to be our partners (it’s no coincidence); find some hungry talent; work hard on the match and make sure everyone is prepared and ready to make it work. It’s not rocket science, but it is ELBA.



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