Some of the SOMOs audience members
Organisations from across the UK gathered virtually for the first online UK Social Mobility Awards gala to celebrate the advancement of social mobility in the UK.
The winning entries of the fourth annual UK Social Mobility Awards were announced in the afternoon of Thursday, 8th October, in the first ever online Awards ceremony. With an amazing turn out of over 300 attendees, the ceremony recognised and honoured the individuals and organisations that are embedding social mobility into the heart of their businesses and for the incredible work they are doing to advance this noble movement. In celebrating the work being done, we hope to increase awareness about what can be achieved through these initiatives, and ultimately, encourage and empower even more organisations to share their own successes.
In what has been a unique and challenging year, we were elated with the quantity of submissions we received for the UK Social Mobility Awards 2020, from a range of industries and locations across the UK. These entries were then judged by an esteemed, independent panel of social mobility champions, which was chaired by Sir Kenneth Olisa OBE.
This year’s Awards, held in association with Capita, included a brand-new category that recognised those small businesses that, though they may only have 250 people or fewer within the organisation, are still playing a vital role in promoting social mobility in the UK.
The Awards Gala began with our host for the afternoon, the Founder of the UK Social Mobility Awards, Tunde Banjoko OBE, addressing the audience members and introducing this innovative and exciting take on our annual Awards ceremony and highlighting the agenda for the afternoon.
Then, before the winners of each of the 12 categories were announced, we heard some brilliant inspirational speeches. Firstly, we heard from Jon Lewis, the CEO of the Headline Sponsor, Capita, who delivered a powerful message on why this year especially, the advancement of social mobility in all organisations across the UK is so crucial to moving forward. On Capita’s role as Headline Sponsor for the Awards over the last few years and their support for the social mobility movement, Jon stated that “It is only right that we continue to shine a light on social inequalities and recognise and celebrate all of you here [this afternoon] who have continued to spread your net to recruit from the widest possible talent pools, to welcome young people from all walks of life into your organisations on work experience, paid internship, or apprenticeship programmes, to mentor and support disadvantaged young people, giving them a chance to create a future that has not been predetermined by the circumstances of their birth… I applaud you all.”
The attendees at the ceremony then heard from Nadhim Zahawi MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. While reinforcing the need for the progression of the social mobility movement, now so more than ever, the Minister gave his support for the Awards and what they are doing, stating, “It is fantastic to be back here at the UK Social Mobility Awards for another year. These Awards are a testament to the power of business to create and deliver real change, and proof of the positive role business can play in society.”
The winners were then announced, with each finalist from each category showcasing a short video to highlight the fantastic social mobility initiatives they have embraced within their organisations. The final video message of the afternoon was from Christine Hodgson, Chairman of Severn Trent PLC, who was honoured with the prestigious Outstanding Contribution to Social Mobility award. Christine is an advocate for the social mobility movement and stated, “I am honoured to receive this award, as you know, social mobility is something I am really passionate about and have been for many years.”
We then returned to our host, Tunde, who gave a final address of the afternoon to those in attendance: “The fact is wherever you are on your organisation’s social mobility journey, you can do more. But don’t be shy about anything you have done, be proud about it, wear your social mobility credentials as a badge of honour and be an example to others. The SOMOs are vehicle for just that, whether as a sponsor, a supporter or an entrant. Get involved with this movement and year on year, let’s make a difference, let’s make things better and let’s make we sure that we fully harness the true wealth of our of country, our people.” With this strong call of action for organisations to increase their already impressive performances to expand upon social mobility, the 2020 UK Social Mobility Awards were concluded.
After another successful SOMOs gala, we want to say the biggest thank you to everyone who made the awards possible this year. Every year, we are so grateful to be able to do what we do and celebrate those working hard to forward this important movement, but this year we are especially grateful – to the attendees, the judges, the sponsors, the finalists, and the supporters and friends – we couldn’t do this without you! We look forward to an even better Awards next year, where hopefully this time we can all celebrate in person.
To view the 2020 winners, click here.
To view the #SOMO2020 Twitter Moments, click here.
Follow the UK Social Mobility Awards on social media for all the latest news and updates.