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Pub group set to work with ex-offenders in bid to break down social barriers

PUBLISHED: 11:16 30 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:19 30 January 2019

The brewery became established in 1799. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The brewery became established in 1799. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Archant

A Suffolk-based pubs and brewing giant has signed up to ambitious plans to help improve social mobility in its own business, including supporting ex-offenders.

Tyler, who joined Greene King following a 12 month prison sentence but was determined to turn this around and so sought out an apprenticeship. He’s now working hard to achieve his Level 2 qualification  Picture: GREENE KINGTyler, who joined Greene King following a 12 month prison sentence but was determined to turn this around and so sought out an apprenticeship. He’s now working hard to achieve his Level 2 qualification Picture: GREENE KING

Greene King has produced its own study, The Stepping Up Report, challenging the barriers to mobility and providing a commitment to help people from all backgrounds to succeed in the hospitality sector.

Among its undertakings is a commitment to support 20,000 apprentices and to a new recruitment programme for ex-offenders.

The report, launched in parliament on Wednesday, January 20, and supported by education secretary Damian Hinds, sets out its own five ambitions, alongside a call for action for the government and wider industry to do its part.

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The 2018 Social Mobility Barometer, a survey of 5,000 people carried out by The Social Mobility Commission, showed that 40% of respondents think it is getting harder for people from less advantaged backgrounds to move up in British society – almost twice as many as those who think it is becoming easier. Nearly half of respondents believed that where you end up in society is heavily influenced by who your parents are.

Greene King, whose own founder, Benjamin Greene, started out as an apprentice before establishing the business in 1799, is hoping to address some of the issues with a five-point plan, including working with the Ministry of Justice, charity Only A Pavement Away and partners Novus, Clean Sheet and Sodexo, to support 50 ex-offenders in the first year – initially working with prisons in the north west and London.

It has also committed to supporting 20,000 apprentices by 2022, and has also become the first hospitality company to sign up to Business in the Community’s Race at Work Charter, which aims to support career progression for ethnic minorities.

Chief executive Rooney Anand said the hospitality industry had propelled social mobility “time and time again”. “Of course, promoting and engendering social mobility isn’t easy and there’s no magic formula - it needs commitment and effort and we all need to play our part, but I hope that through sharing our efforts, we can encourage others in hospitality to help the cause.”

Mr Hinds said: “Businesses like Greene King are playing a critical role in promoting social mobility. This scheme is supporting in-house training, offering apprenticeships and helping ex-offenders get back into work, making sure people have skills and qualifications needed for success.”

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