Progress on our New Year’s resolution to Change the World – one person at a time

 In Blog, CEO's blog

It’s mid-January and how are you getting on with your New Year’s resolutions? It is at this point about two weeks in, on a Monday morning with rain, that many people give up on the plan to lose weight, stop smoking and have a dry January. Those that keep going have to focus on getting through one day at a time – looking beyond that just seems like too steep a hill to climb.

What do you do when the resolution is to make a difference to social mobility in east London, or to really shift the needle on diversity in employment, or making sure every young person makes a good transition from education to employment? These are all core aims for ELBA and our business members, and no matter what we do, there always seems to be so much more to do.

It’s easy to get disheartened when report after report from the Social Mobility Commission shows that despite the efforts of governments, employers, organisations like ourselves, 47% of people still believe that family background counts for more in terms of life success and earnings than individual merit and attainment of qualifications. In the face of this, there is only one way to approach such a mammoth task which is subject to so many external influences – to deal with it one person at a time.

Since 2005 ELBA members have been taking on bright graduates from east London who have missed out on graduate level opportunities because they lack the family networks to get a good start in City and Canary Wharf firms. Right now, we are recruiting for the first two cohorts of EAGLES for 2017 (see our website). 20 or so young people will get some intensive training before going into six month placements with ELBA member and partner companies. The evidence suggests that 96% will succeed to getting graduate level employment at the end of the programme. Looking back over the last 11 years of the programme, we are still in touch with the 157 EAGLES who have passed through the programme. That’s 157 people given a good start to their career. It is up to them what they make of the opportunity but at least that’s 157 helped to overcome a barrier to getting a good start in life and counted towards that big social mobility target. And that in a nutshell is ELBA – changing our bit of the world one person at a time.

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