Alan Milburn to speak at Gordons event on social mobility in Leeds

Wednesday 31st October 2012

Alan Milburn, the recently-appointed chair of the new Commission on Social Mobility and Child Poverty, is to speak at a Leeds seminar organised by Yorkshire law firm Gordons.

The former Health Secretary will address the event, which will take place at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Granary Wharf, on Wednesday 7 November and be attended by senior figures from Yorkshire industry. The seminar will focus on what private sector organisations can do to break down the barriers which see capable people denied rewarding careers because of their backgrounds.

Also featuring at the event will be leading entrepreneur Lawrence Tomlinson and Gordons’ managing partner, Paul Ayre. Mr Tomlinson is chairman of LNT Group, which employs 2,000 people across five core businesses covering areas including care homes, software, construction and cars. Earlier this month, he won the Institute of Directors national Director of the Year award and Mr Ayre was named Managing Partner of the Year in the Yorkshire Lawyer Awards.

Mr Milburn said: “I’m grateful to Gordons for this opportunity to brief Yorkshire business leaders on the current position regarding social mobility and how I feel they can help improve things. There need to be more opportunities for young people to develop successful careers in Yorkshire and the rest of the north of England. I’m looking forward to hearing what business leaders have to say and then feeding back their views to government.”

As Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Health Secretary and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster between 1998 and 2005, Mr Milburn was a key Cabinet minister in the last Labour government.

In May this year, he published Fair Access to Professional Careers: A Progress Report. This assessed the opportunities available to people from different backgrounds to enter and progress careers in the professions and considered how these chances had changed since his previous report on social mobility in 2009.

Gordons last year became one of the first law firms to unveil an annual apprenticeship scheme of its type. This provides careers in the law to bright local school leavers who would otherwise find it difficult to access the profession. During their four-year apprenticeships, Gordons pays the youngsters’ salaries and course fees, as they study to become chartered legal executive lawyers, via day release, meaning they do not qualify with student debt.

Mr Ayre said: “We’re delighted Alan Milburn and Lawrence Tomlinson have accepted our invitations to speak at the event. It will be fascinating to hear what they say and we’re confident those attending will learn a great deal of practical value on the issue.

“We’re staging the event and have implemented our apprenticeship scheme because we’re firm believers that society should be a meritocracy. Opportunities in life should be dictated purely by ability and willingness to work hard, not background.”

One of the UK’s most successful law firms with offices in Leeds and Bradford. Gordons has been established for over 168 years, currently employs 280 people and has a turnover of over £25m. Gordons’ excellence has been recognised in a number of award schemes this year:

  • Yorkshire’s Best Business with a turnover between £10m and £50m at the Yorkshire Post’s Business Excellence Awards
  • Private Client Team of the Year and Managing Partner of the Year in the Yorkshire Lawyer Awards
  • UK and Ireland Regional Team of the Year in the STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) Private Client Awards
  • Property Law Firm of the Year category in the Yorkshire Property Industry Awards
  • Highly Commended in the Excellence in Community Investment category of the Law Society Excellence Awards
  • Runner-up in the Regional Law Firm of the Year in the Lawyer Awards
  • Shortlisted Outstanding Employer of the Year at the Yorkshire Post’s Business Excellence Awards.
  • Shortlisted for Diversity Initiative of the Year at the British Legal Awards
  • Shortlisted for the Excellence in the Learning and Development Award category at the Law Society Excellence Awards

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