Embargoed until 00.01 Wednesday 12th July

Sutton Trust Report: Improving social mobility is essential to UK’s economic performance

Director of Education, Peter Wylie, responds

[Comment, interviews and case studies available]

Today’s report by Oxera for the Sutton Trust says a major factor driving the relationship between improving social mobility and national economic performance is better matching between people and their jobs.

Economics Consultancy Firm, Oxera explains that better social mobility means that the talents of all young people are recognised and nurtured and that some barriers to jobs - biases in recruitment processes or inequality of educational opportunity - are reduced.

Peter Wylie Director of Education, Baker Dearing Educational Trust agrees, he adds that the destination of students and their employability skills when they leave school should be considered as important as the exam results they achieve.

Peter comments on the success of University Technical Colleges, which aim to connect students to employees early to ensure they have the skills to succeed in their chosen career. He says, "University Technical Colleges (UTCs) give students exposure to the workplace and contact with employers from the age of 14. We find this helps them develop job confidence, a mature attitude and their own professional contacts.

"Students at UTCs are positive about their life chances because they are confident they know they have the skills employers are looking for. In a recent survey of more than 1500 UTC students 78% said links with business were better at their UTC than their previous school. 68% said the UTC helped them develop employability skills and a similar number (69%) said they are confident of getting a job when they leave education."

Impartial, one-to-one careers advice is essential to help young people map their education pathway to the careers they want. Students at UTCs choose a technical education that has a clear route to University, an apprenticeships or work. In 2016 97% of UTCs stayed in education, started an apprenticeship or started a job.

Peter says: “If we are to improve social mobility and productivity education providers need to work more closely with employers to ensure students are developing the skills they need and that young people have contact with the world of work while they are at school.”