The UK has one of the lowest social mobility rates in the developed world. Although only 7% of the population is educated at private schools, 70% of High Court Judges, 54% of FTSE 100 chief executives, and 32% of MPs come from this privileged background (Opening Doors, Breaking Barriers: A Strategy for Social Mobility 2011).
In order for businesses to attract the very best talent from diverse backgrounds reflecting their target demographics, and if the UK is to remain internationally competitive, we need to ensure that talented people are able to achieve their aspirations of getting a job in the professions, whatever their backgrounds.
“There is nothing more tragic than someone having the ability or the talent, but not the encouragement or opportunity to realise their potential.” —Unleashing Aspiration: Government Response to the Milburn Report Recommendation, 2009.
The BLD Foundation aims to make a real difference on diversity and social mobility in the legal and other professions. Black, Asian and other minority ethnic lawyers are less likely to reach the highest levels of the legal profession and are therefore disproportionately disadvantaged in obtaining training contracts and future opportunities to work in the field.
We work with schools and school aged children to raise their aspirations and awareness of opportunities that exist within the legal and other professions as well as with universities, business and undergraduates and provide access to:
- Information – through our online learning resources and vodcasts
- Real life experiences – through open days and work experience at Top UK 100 companies and
- Life skills and soft skills development – through events, workshops and open days
- Guidance – through mentor relationships and access to diverse role models and senior professionals.
We have seen enormous benefits and further potential for closer working between ourselves, schools, universities, law firms and other businesses – particularly where there is an understanding and a willingness to engage in improving the diversity and opportunities for social mobility within their organisations.