Jessica Fino 13 Oct 2017 01:41pm

Accountancy firms win first social mobility awards

KPMG and Deloitte have been recognised for their social mobility work in the first awards ceremony of it’s kind

KPMG won the leadership of the year award and its director of client council Lorcan Lennon was named mentor of the year.

Deloitte partner Chris Rix was named the social mobility champion of the year, while KPMG’s vice chair Melanie Richard received a highly commended award in the same category.

The awards was organised by the charity Making the Leap and sponsored by PwC and the RAF.

It celebrated forward-thinking organisations who were developing initiatives to promote social mobility both internally and externally.

The construction company Wates Group received the organisation of the year award, while the Civil Service Fast Stream and Early Talent received a highly commended award.

Wates Group was praised for its early careers programme which supports school leavers, apprentices and graduates.

Barclays was recognised with the recruitment programme of the year award, while car rental company Enterprise was highly commended thanks to its recruitment opportunities.

Other awards included Metro Bank’s progression programme of the year and UpRising’s impact management programme.

The ceremony, which took place at the Marriott Hotel in London, included speeches by Tunde Banjoko, CEO and founder of Making the Leap, and Laura Hinton, PwC’s head of people. They both talked about diversity, inclusion and how backgrounds still influence people’s careers.

Hinton said, “Business can, and should, be a force for good. It is only by sharing and learning from each other that we can take a bigger stride towards solving this important problem and making sure that every person in the country has a fair chance to succeed, regardless of their background.”

Meanwhile, Banjoko said the awards were created to encourage UK businesses and organisations to tackle the issue of social mobility.

“Our hope is that they inspire companies and organisations across the country to think about the social mobility programmes that they are currently running, and do good enough work so that they may win in UK Social Mobility Awards 2018”.

KPMG deputy chair Melanie Richards said the firm’s award was recognition of their work to make the profession more accessible but acknowledged it had a continuing part to play in “bridging the inequality that exists across our country".

Deloitte partner Chris Rix said social mobility was very important to him and winning was a team effort. 

 "I am honoured by this recognition, but it really is a team effort. I manage a team of 150 Deloitte volunteers and I have strong relationships with local charities, social enterprises, and schools in the North West. These volunteers all work to help individuals overcome barriers to education and employment as part of Deloitte’s social impact programme, One Million Futures.”

In a letter sent to Making the Leap, prime minister Theresa May said, “Too often, it is family background that determines success in life, rather than talent and hard work.

“As the businesses showcased tonight can testify, employers can reap huge benefits from increasing the diversity of their workforce.

She added “the best” employers were already improving but there was more to do to ensure someone’s background was not a barrier to a good career.