28/10/2013

Government tsar Alan Milburn returns to speak at Gordons’ annual social mobility event in Leeds

Yorkshire business people are being invited to hear Alan Milburn, chair of the government’s Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, speak at a Leeds seminar.

Mr Milburn will talk about his commission’s inaugural annual State of the Nation report on social mobility, published earlier this month, at the event, organised by Yorkshire law firm Gordons. It takes place at the Queen’s Hotel, on Wednesday, 6 November, and is set to be attended by senior figures from the region’s private and public sectors.

Attendees, who must pre-register with Gordons, are invited to be present from 5.30pm for a 6.00pm start. The event will finish around 7.15pm and be followed by drinks and canapés until 8pm.

Gordons’ event is expected to be one of the first occasions on which Mr Milburn will speak about his commission’s report outside London. The report examines the progress government, employers and schools are making to put social mobility higher up their agendas. One key warning was that social mobility – having risen in the middle of the last century and then flat-lined towards the end – could now go into reverse.

Mr Milburn’s appearance represents a return visit, as he spoke at a similar Gordons event in Leeds during November 2012.

Gordons’ own main contribution to tackling social mobility issues is its multiple award-winning annual apprenticeship scheme, launched in 2011. This provides careers in law to bright local school leavers who would otherwise find it difficult to enter the profession.

During their five-year apprenticeships, the youngsters study to become chartered legal executive lawyers, with Gordons paying their salaries and course fees, meaning they qualify without student debts. The firm currently has 10 apprentices, who are all performing well.

Commenting on the scheme, Mr Milburn said: “Through its innovative apprenticeship scheme, Gordons is leading the way on social mobility in the legal profession.”

In the past 18 months the scheme has won numerous awards including Most Effective Diversity Programme of the Year category in the Lawyer Management Awards and Apprenticeship Ambassador of the Year at the Leeds Apprenticeship Awards.

The scheme was also recognised in the National Apprenticeships Awards and the Best Training and Best Job Satisfaction Awards in the annual Top Employers for School and College Leavers Awards.

Gordons has also been shortlisted in the Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion category at The Law Society Awards which take place in London on October 22.

Gordons managing partner, Paul Ayre, said: “We are delighted that Alan Milburn has again agreed to speak at our event. It is a real coup for the region to have him here to discuss his commission’s first- ever report.

“It will be fascinating to hear his views on how things have changed in the last year and what remains to be done. We’re sure people attending will take away some important advice on how they can help things along in their own organisations.

“We stage these events, and have implemented our apprenticeship scheme, because we believe firmly that life choices should depend on ability and hard work, not personal or family circumstances.”