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Yorkshire: How Your Business Can Boost Social Mobility

3 mins read time

By Crispin Read

With the Government's Levelling Up White Paper due to be published shortly, I’m calling on Yorkshire businesses—big and small—to play their part in being a force for good.

The economic gap between the North/South divide is growing. Research by IPPR North found that for every job created in the North, just under three were created in London and the 'Greater South East’. This has real, significant consequences for people: ‘in-work’ poverty has risen in the North from 3.4 million people in 2009/10, to 3.5 million in 2019/20.

No-one would say this is a good thing - and more must be done to address this. The scarring effect of unemployment on young people in particular will last many years.

Making a difference is what drives The Coders Guild - with a social mission to create a positive impact on society by creating equal career opportunities for people of all backgrounds.

We’re focused on digital skills where we know there is a growing demand for people - more tech companies are opening in Yorkshire all the time and they need to access the best skills - but many also want a diverse workforce.

Now is the time for all Yorkshire businesses to step up and take responsibility to improve work opportunities for everyone and to create a more diverse and representative workforce in the region.

Everyone deserves the opportunity to fulfil their potential. And employers have a vitally important role to play - by recruiting a diverse workforce they can help create a fairer and more equal society.

Active steps to support those from a more disadvantaged background is a win for everyone - allowing those who might not have had the best life chances the opportunity to gain skills and progress in work, benefitting their families and their communities. Employers benefit from a more representative workforce who can also bring fresh ideas and new thinking. Cognitive diversity in teams is proven to bring huge benefits to problem solving and creativity.

Employers need to embrace what might be new sources of talent. Working with organisations such as ourselves we can help them access motivated people. We have been involved with delivering apprenticeships and other technical and vocational training across Yorkshire and the North West— helping over 500 people gain the digital and employability skills vital to individuals and what employers are looking for.

There needs to be good alignment between employers and regional governments - and with the combined authorities and mayors in our region we have this especially with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. The levelling up white paper needs to define more about what levelling up means but it also provides a chance to ensure that employers are aware of the role that they can play and that there is investment in our communities, investment in infrastructure and investment in jobs and skills.

One of the ways The Coders Guild plays their part in ‘levelling up’ is by partnering with local businesses who share the same values and who commit to making a positive contribution to society.

Dedalus UK, a leading healthcare software provider based in Leeds chose The Coders Guild to kick start their apprenticeship scheme because their mission is driven by diversity and inclusion.

Richard Lilley, Director of Services at Dedalus said: “We are open to hiring people from varied backgrounds and different qualifications. The Coders Guild gave us the opportunity to choose from a high quality pool of talent, who are screened, tested and pre-selected based on their aptitude and enthusiasm. We also believe that as long as people have a willingness to learn and a desire to work then they are a good fit for our company.”

Piotr Pacewicz was working for the NHS, doing night shifts in a low-skilled job. After career support and job matching from The Coders Guild, he is now a software developer apprentice at Dedalus.

Piotr said: “My new job is my biggest dream. It’s changed my life and I look forward to experiencing my new career path. It's not only a job, it's changing both mine and my family's lifestyles. I've been waiting for this day for 14 years, almost half of my life. It's so hard to describe how important it is to me.”

What can your business do to ‘level up’ Yorkshire?

  1. Make your recruitment processes more diverse and inclusive to remove the barriers of entry into the tech industry
  2. Engage in Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for you and your teams to support employability and to gain on-the-job skills
  3. Measure your social mobility through the Social Mobility Employer Index

The Coders Guild is also committed to upskilling underrepresented groups in digital across Yorkshire and Greater Manchester—engaging with communities through an outreach programme across social mobility cold spots.

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