Former Education Secretary Justine Greening visited Northumberland last week to talk to young people in Prudhoe and to meet employers who have signed up to the Social Mobility Pledge.
During her visit, which was hosted by Hexham MP Guy Opperman, Ms Greening visited Prudhoe Community High School, where she spoke with pupils about her own background growing up in Rotherham and the opportunities and chances available to them.
Ms Greening also visited local business Thompsons of Prudhoe, who recently became the first Social Mobility Pledge accredited employer in the Hexham constituency.
By signing the Social Mobility Pledge, which is an initiative that includes Ms Greening and Mr Opperman amongst its founders, businesses like Thompsons commit to work towards improving social mobility by accessing and progressing talent from all backgrounds.
Ms Greening said: “I think that businesses are part of the solution on developing potential and giving opportunity, not part of the problem, which is why I’m asking businesses, large and small, to commit to a universal Social Mobility Pledge. Talent is spread equally across the country but opportunity isn’t, and that’s what I want to try to put right.”
She also emphasised that it is a cross-party issue, saying that when Parliament speaks with one voice, businesses listen.
Mr Opperman said: “I was delighted to welcome Justine to the Hexham constituency and to bring her back to Prudhoe Community High School, which she opened when she was Secretary of State for Education.
“I passionately believe that businesses like Thompsons of Prudhoe are key to tackling social mobility in our area and helping to connect young people with the opportunities already on their doorstep.”