Professional bodies support social mobility

PARN Global News Article - 30 May 2012

Professional bodies support social mobility

Professional bodies support social mobility

Alan Milburn, who chaired the Panel that inspired, is today releasing a report on social mobility. Milburn acts as an independent reviewer of social mobility for government.

What does social mobility have to do with the professions?

Some professions, for example the medical profession as cited by Alan Milburn in interviews this morning, are more difficult for people from all socio-economic backgrounds (classes) to enter. In other words, professions such as these do not make it easy for poorer students to train, because they or their families cannot afford the training, or because they have not been to the high performing schools and gained the grades that the universities are looking for. Milburn said to the Guardian today,

'In a perfect world where all schools are equal you'd simply select on the basis of academic attainment … We won't get a more mobile society unless we create more of a level playing field of opportunity. I wouldn't view it as positive discrimination … I view it as widening the pool of talent from which medicine recruits.'

Milburn’s report shows that just 7% of new medical students came from the bottom three socio-economic groups in 2010-11. This figure remains the same as it was ten years ago.

What are professional bodies doing to help?

Some professional bodies are actively promoting fair access to the professions, and working hard on initiatives to welcome people from all backgrounds into professional careers.

The Professional Associations Research Network (PARN) set up as a portal site to recognise the achievements of professional bodies and build on fair access initiatives in the professions.

The site provides a wealth of information to help aspiring professionals looking for a future career or a change, as well as those currently studying, or already working in their chosen field.

What many people don't realise is that they can contact the professional body in their sector (using our Profession Finder) to ask them what opportunities are available, and what they are doing to promote fair access and allow a wider representation of society to enter the professions.

Which sectors are changing?

Here are just a few examples of ways that professional bodies are working hard to improve access to their fields:

Find out more...

Written by Amy Hannington - Editor of and Research Assistant at PARN.