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“We need diversity to survive into the future”

                 - Vondo Nkomo, Invesco Perpetual

The 24th May saw the second breakfast in our annual Power of Diversity series – this time focussing on social mobility (or the lack of), and how the city can attract and retain more talent from this neglected community. Our Chair Paul Jardine recounted a recent visit he had made to a school in Tower Hamlets where they told him Minories Road effectively felt like a border- for them The City is a completely different country. The above quote from marketing trainee Vondo was the message that ran through all the talks from our speakers:

  • Adrian Johnson, Aon, shared highlights from the innovative 8 week traineeship programme they are piloting with young people not in education employment or training. Although only just over halfway through the initiative, participants are already confident and capable enough to talk to clients – great evidence of its success.

  • Karis Stander, Investment 20/20, challenged us to reconsider what we view as "relevant work experience". Their experiences working with young people have shown that requirements such as these create barriers for untapped and underutilised talent.

  • Kulbir Shergill, Grant Thornton, shared two key findings from research on graduate and non-graduate routes into the organisation: about 20% of the firm’s annual intake is now made up of graduates who previously would have been screened out by minimum entry requirements; and what's more their performance was as equally high as more traditional candidates.

  • Vondo Nkomo, Invesco Perpetual, shared three key ways to create change in the social mobility space:  1) We need to change the tone, to ensure a wider audience understands us 2) We need to increase visibility 3) We need to create support networks such as buddy networks and mentoring to nurture non traditional candidates once they arrive into what will be a new environment.

The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor, Alderman Charles Bowman and the Lady Mayoress attended the breakfast session. He observed that “there is no silver bullet – but social mobility plays a critical role” in ensuring we have the diverse workforces that drive innovation and growth.

Excellent breakfast – best I’ve been to” and “great event! Please do more” were just some of the comments received from attendees.

If you would like to join the next Power of Diversity Breakfast “BAME Leaders of tomorrow“ on June 19th , please email diversity@thelordmayorsappeal.org

You can see the full year’s Power of Diversity series here