The UK Social Mobility Awards 2018 – thoughts from the 2017 winners

Jun 26, 2018

UK Social Mobility Awards

In the second year of the pioneering UK Social Mobility Awards, organised by Making The Leap, we are taking a look back at some of last year’s winners to find out why social mobility is so important to them, how their initiatives are moving forward and why organisations should submit for the awards.

The deadline to make submissions is Friday, June 29th.
Find full category information and make your submission here.

Representatives of the Gold Sponsor, the RAF, and our host for the evening, Steph McGovern

It is always a risk to launch an awards ceremony that no-one has done before. You do not know if you will get the required sponsorship – if you will be able to gather a credible judging panel – how it will be received – how many submissions you will get or, most importantly, whether those submissions will be any good.

Thankfully, after months of hard work, the awards came together. We had fantastic sponsorship, with most organisations returning to sponsor again in 2018, including the RAF, PwC, Foxtons and BNP Paribas. Our judging panel was full of social mobility trailblazers and advocates and was chaired by business leader, Sir Kenneth Olisa OBE, who is also returning to his post this year. Our incredible venue, the London Marriott Hotel, provided the perfect backdrop for representatives from our crop of over 100 submissions, organisational and individual, to mingle and share social mobility best practice. And the submissions, well, check out some of our winners and what they had to say below…

Wates Group – Organisation of the Year

One of the biggest triumphs was the variety of submissions we received, which came from a range of industries and locations across the UK. Construction, development and property services powerhouse, and our ‘Organisation of the Year’ winners, Wates Group, were “delighted to be crowned at the inaugural UK Social Mobility Awards,” says Rachel Woolliscroft, Sustainability Director. They were rewarded for their “company-wide, formalised approach to social mobility and inclusive workplaces through a framework called Reshaping Tomorrow – prioritising the issues most important to us, our customers, suppliers and wider stakeholders.”

Allen & Overy’s Smart Start programme won ‘Community Programme of the Year’. Pro Bono & Community Investment Manager, Sue Wisbey, explains that the work experience programme, established in 2009, aims to “change the social mobility landscape of the legal profession”. For Allen & Overy, “the success of the programme is evident in the figures: 93% of participants felt more confident; 90% felt more ambitious and 80% felt more prepared for the world of work.” It is clear that for some organisations, talking about social mobility is not enough – they are willing to make monumental shifts in working practices in order to get the best results.

Allen & Overy – Community Programme of the Year

Sometimes, though, it only takes one inspirational person to make the difference. Chris Rix, a Tax Partner at Deloitte in Manchester, highlighted the breadth of the submissions received as he became one of our individual winners. Chris “led a group of 150 Deloitte volunteers who made an impact at schools in the North West region with 300 students per term. The students benefitted from CV writing skills, inspirational talks and weeks of work experience at Deloitte.” Adhering to Deloitte’s maxim, “we judge our people based on the value they can – or do – bring”, Chris well and truly demonstrated the difference that social mobility trailblazers can make.

Deloitte – Social Mobility Champion of the Year (collected by Ben Jackson, on behalf of Chris Rix)

With the submission deadline for the UK Social Mobility Awards 2018 now drawing close, we look forward to receiving more fantastic submissions and sharing the incredible initiatives that organisations and individuals are launching to advance social mobility. For Rachel Woolliscroft, “the awards are a great way to recognize and showcase companies who are promoting and increasing social mobility. So many great examples were celebrated and this year it could be you!” In agreement, Chris Rix is clear on how important having these awards is for the UK: “The UK Social Mobility Awards are recognising a very important issue facing our society and highlighting the fantastic work that so many organisations are doing to combat the issue. It is inspiring to hear of the other initiatives firms are deploying and great to hear of so many success stories on the night of the awards.”

So, now that you’ve heard from last year’s winners, make sure not to miss this opportunity to showcase your achievements in this crucial area and, in doing so, share best practice with the nation. With opportunities to sponsor, enter and attend this inspiring event, we invite you to find out more about this initiative.

The deadline to submit for the second instalment of the only awards dedicated to social mobility in the UK is on Friday, 29th June.
Submit here.

The Making The Leap team, organisers of the UK Social Mobility Awards

Follow the UK Social Mobility Awards on social media for all the latest news and updates.


The UK Social Mobility Awards is a fundraising initiative for the registered charity, Making The Leap.

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