Teenagers visit City firms to launch Clegg’s social mobility awards

More than 100 teenagers will visit City law firms and businesses today as part of deputy prime minister Nick Clegg’s Social Mobility Business Compact (SMBC).

The SMBC, which launched in 2011, holds businesses to account, requiring them to give young people opportunities, regardless of background or circumstance.

Magic circle and City firms which have signed up the scheme include Addleshaw Goddard, Allen & Overy, Ashurst, Baker& McKenzie, Clifford Chance, Eversheds, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Irwin Mitchell, Linklaters, legacy Norton Rose, Simmons & Simmons, SJ Berwin and Slaughter and May (12 January 2012).

The SMBC will hold the Opening Doors Awards at Brixton Academy in October, awarding companies, organisations and students aiding social mobility in the UK.

To help launch the event, 120 teenagers have been selected to tour London today on three double-decker buses visiting businesses Barclay’s, Channel 4, Fujitsu, Random House, Siemens and Telefonica Digital and law firms CMS Cameron McKenna and Slaughter and May.

Robert Powell, social responsibility manager at CMS, said: “We signed up in January 2012. Like many firms, we have been doing lots of other work in the field of social mobility for many years, but this is a really powerful way of businesses coming together from different industries, engaging students and developing their soft skills by bringing them into the workplace.”

Eight CMS lawyers will run through legal case studies such as that of Paul Chambers, who jokingly threatened on Twitter to blow up Robin Hood Airport in Nottingham.

Powell added: “There are some really talented students out there who do not have the support networks they need at home or school.”

By signing the compact, the firms agree to support communities and schools to raise aspirations; open opportunities to all young people by advertising their work experience places; make access to internships open and transparent and provide financial support and recruit fairly and without discrimination.