I read with interest your story about the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission’s report about large successful professions such as law and accountancy employing only young people with ‘posh’ accents.
What such a policy does is exclude real talent. We live in a society where equality of opportunity has been promoted tirelessly. Universities have been pushed to recruit young people from state schools to give them equal opportunity of access to a profession.
Surely our focus as employers should be on ‘talent’ and the ability to excel. How we speak is not the most essential qualification.
I chair the BLD Foundation. Our aim is to find people from black and minority ethnic or socially disadvantaged backgrounds and help them follow a career in law. We start with 13-year-olds in schools. By providing mentoring, work experience, and training contract and pupillage opportunities, we nurture these people through to 30.
We have very intelligent, rounded students who are hungry for success. We have been supported by major law firms and other organisations, including Barclays, Slaughter and May, Pinsent Masons, University of Law, BP and No 5 Chambers. They all believe in providing equality of opportunity to every young person, including BME and socially disadvantaged young people. We are also privileged to be supported by a high-profile patron, Dame Linda Dobbs, who believes in helping others climb the social ladder.
BLD Foundation was established through the vision and passion of our founder Debo Nwauzu, who wants to make a difference to the lives of young BME people and socially disadvantaged groups. If firms support such initiatives they will engage bright and diverse people and reap the rewards of a talented workforce.
Gifty Edila, solicitor-advocate; chair, BLD Foundation, London E8