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DWF helps The Social Mobility Foundation raise awareness across the North West

Last night, national business law firm DWF welcomed over 40 delegates to The Social Mobility Foundation’s (SMF) inaugural North West event which raised awareness of the issue of social mobility and celebrated high achieving young people from across the region.

The event, held at the firm’s Manchester office, was attended by SMF graduates, teachers and professionals from across the North West who heard from Stephanie McGovern, BBC breakfast business presenter, as she discussed her own experiences of social mobility throughout her academic and professional career. Simon Price, associate solicitor and pro bono manager at DWF, also discussed the firm’s commitment to social mobility and its award-winning 5 STAR Futures education programme. 5 STAR Futures is an innovative self-leadership and aspirational development programme that aims to improve students' employability skills, boosting their chances of securing jobs.

David Johnston, SMF Chief Executive and member of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, thanked guests for their continued support and spoke about the charity’s recent successes – including the opening of the SMF’s first ever regional office on Great Ancoats Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter – and future plans, including the SMF’s aim to gain further backing from professionals working across all sectors in Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds.

The Social Mobility Foundation is a charity which aims to make a practical improvement in social mobility for young people from low-income backgrounds, providing opportunities and networks of support which help individuals to secure a place at university and begin a career in their chosen profession. The charity achieves this with the support of professionals across the UK who mentor and provide work placements for young people, all with the aim of increasing their knowledge and understanding of their chosen profession.

Simon Price, who founded DWF’s 5 STAR Futures programme, commented: “Social mobility is an important challenge facing the professions and as a business we are passionate about creating opportunities for young people from low-income backgrounds to further enable their potential. 5 STAR Futures enables us to provide young people with the opportunity to work with professionals and develop key employability skills, ultimately helping them to become more work ready. It was developed in partnership with educational institutions and helps bridge the gap between education and employment. The event was an excellent step forward in raising awareness of the issue of social mobility and showcased the bright futures of the next generation.”

Fiona McCourt, Regional Development Manager at The Social Mobility Foundation, added: “As a charity, we are aware of the disparity in support high achieving disadvantaged students in London receive, as opposed to their non-London peers. In London, these young people are twice as likely to go to university, and quite often they are on one, if not more, after school programmes helping them with university applications and soft skills needed for the work place. By opening an office in Manchester – the first in a long line of regional offices – we’re able to do something practical to address this inequality. We have a team of two – Isobel and Elsie – based in the city who will be encouraging more students to take up our free support and engaging with more professionals in the hope that they will support a young person with their future career. We are delighted to have the support of DWF, and all of those who attended last night, and look forward to establishing a strong base in Manchester.”

If you are a professional who would like further information about The Social Mobility Foundation please visit www.socialmobility.org.uk, email elsie.wraighte@socialmobility.org.uk or call the charity’s Manchester office on 0161 850 2809.