Accountancy firm pledges to help boost life chances of Ipswich youth

Lucy Golding, of Grant Thornton, with Jordan Holder of the Careers and Enterprise Company. Picture:

Lucy Golding, of Grant Thornton, with Jordan Holder of the Careers and Enterprise Company. Picture: GRANT THORNTON - Credit: Archant

A top accountancy firm has pledged to use its extensive business network to help a new initiative aimed at boosting the social mobility of young people in Ipswich.

Grant Thornton was one of 13 Ipswich employers to back the Ipswich Opportunity Area initiative launched in January.

The town was one of 12 Opportunity Areas in England to receive a share of a £72m funding pot to help build knowledge and skills of local young people, and provide them with the best advice and opportunities to progress.

In 2017, Ipswich was identified as one of the lowest performing areas in England in a nationwide Social Mobility Index. The index assessed the chances that a disadvantaged child, measured by whether they are eligible for free school meals, will perform well and get a job. Ipswich ranked 292 out of the 324 local authority areas included.

The companies participating in the initiative - Grant Thornton, Adecco, BT Adastral Park, Barclays, Dayle Bayliss Associates, East of England Co-operative, Ipswich Building Society, Ipswich Town Football Club, John Grose, Lloyds Banking Group, Morgan Sindall, Realise Futures and Suffolk County Council - have pledged to bridge the gap between education and employers to help improve young people’s chances.

“We will be leveraging our extensive business network to raise awareness of the need to improve social mobility and increase local employers’ engagement with schools through activities such as work experience and mentoring to actively help local young people make the successful transition from education to work,” said Grant Thornton tax manager Lucy Golding, who is leading the firm’s work on the Ipswich Opportunity Area initiative.

“The Ipswich Opportunity Area drive firmly supports Grant Thornton’s wider purpose which is to get local businesses, individuals and communities working together to create ideas and actions that will help create a more productive, progressive and vibrant economy at all levels.”

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The 12 ‘Opportunity Areas’, which include Norwich and Fenland & East Cambridgeshire, have a board which works alongside national adviser partner The Careers and Enterprise Company, local employers, education establishments and providers.