GCSE-aged pupils at some of the most-deprived schools in the UK will learn work and life-related skills in bespoke sessions designed to drive social mobility, in an initiative launched today by chartered accountancy body ICAEW and five of the larger professional services firms.
The programme, called Rise, will teach communication, problem-solving and teamwork skills to pupils in workshops at schools across the country. The scheme was founded by ICAEW, EY, KPMG, PwC, BDO and Grant Thornton and will be unveiled at a virtual event today. Deloitte and Mazars have also signed up to support Rise.
Rise was set up to raise the aspirations of young people from low socio-economic backgrounds by ensuring they have the skills required to succeed in life and work, irrespective of their background and future career choices.
Rather than simply encouraging young people to become accountants, Rise will focus on building a talented workforce for the future economy, and will be rolled out following a successful pilot scheme over the last year.
The initiative was also designed to help overcome the impact of the pandemic on education. Many pupils have had to catch up on their studies and missed out on important career development opportunities, such as work experience placements.
Rise aims to reach 3,000 pupils across 50 workshops in the 2021/22 academic year, with up to 60 young people participating in each session. The workshops, which will commence next spring, will be targeted at more-deprived schools in disadvantaged areas with fewer opportunities.
A report by the National Audit Office earlier this year found that funding for deprived schools in England had shifted to wealthy areas.
Rise will be delivered in collaboration with the educational charity Talent Foundry and some of the UK’s top accountancy firms.
The first workshops will be delivered by the Talent Foundry and volunteers from the partner accountancy firms.
Michael Izza, ICAEW Chief Executive, said:
“We’re pleased to launch our new social mobility initiative Rise, which will make a real difference to young people, especially those from low socio-economic backgrounds who have been left behind.
We know that many pupils are trying to catch up after the major disruptions to their education caused by the pandemic, and that’s why we want to ensure they have the skills they need for the future.
By focusing on key areas like problem-solving and working in a team, we hope Rise will have a big impact on social mobility. We’re grateful for the support from our Rise partners and we hope this inspires organisations across the economy to get involved.”
Sarah Atkinson, CEO of The Social Mobility Foundation, who is speaking at the launch event, said:
“Social mobility is not a problem we can fix with just one intervention. Rise promises to make a real difference by investing in young people, and will help to build their confidence, skills and aid their development.
The work employers were doing in outreach and support for schools was not evenly spread across the country before the pandemic, so to be a success, Rise will need to identify those young people who need it most – in areas where opportunities are simply not on offer.
The ambition of Rise and the focus on making sure it doesn’t duplicate the good work already done in this area is also what’s really exciting about this programme. I’m excited to see what becomes of it and we’re very supportive of what it is trying to achieve.”