Gateways to the professions
The Government's Gateways to the Professions initiative was set up to tackle the full range of issues and barriers faced by talented students from low income families seeking to enter the professions through higher education
The Gateways to the Professions Initiative was set up in response to the Langlands report in 2005, which examined the potential impact of variable fees on entry to the professions. Sir Alan Langlands’ report and the Government’s response are available to download here:
The report identified a number of barriers to access to the professions. To address these the Government made funding available through the Gateways to the Professions Development Fund, aimed at improving access to graduate jobs in the professions for people from a wider range of backgrounds. Over the two years 2006-2008, £4million was provided for 24 projects. Details of the projects can be found in the following document:
Professions Collaborative Forum
After the funding period ended, the Gateways to the Professions Collaborative Forum, with members drawn from 27 professional organisations, was established to carry the work forward. The forum encouraged joint working between professional bodies, Sector Skills Councils and higher education institutions and also monitored progress against the Langlands recommendations. The Gateways to the Professions Forum worked closely with the Panel on Fair Access to the Professions, chaired by Alan Milburn, during the preparation of their report in 2009:
The Panel recognised that carrying out its recommendations would “…require close cooperation between Government and the professions” and that “A mechanism for continued dialogue between government and the professions is needed to ensure implementation.” It recommended that ‘The Government and the professions should agree to continue the Gateways to the Professions Collaborative Forum in the form of a UK Professional Forum. The new Forum should be chaired at ministerial level and should comprise senior representatives from a diverse range of professions.
The Forum was re-launched in January 2010, with an expanded membership of around 60 professional bodies and related organisations. Its Terms of Reference and Membership are detailed below:
It is led by an Executive Group chaired by David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science. Its work is currently focussed on the following key areas:
- Identifying and expanding the routes into the professions, particularly non-university routes.
- Internships and work opportunities – to maintain opportunities whilst avoiding exploitation – including the Forum’s voluntary Code of Best Practice for High-Quality Internships.
- Improving information, advice and guidance on careers in the professions.
- Broadening the criteria for acceptance into university courses feeding into key professions – for example by using aptitude tests as well as examination grades.
- Establishment of a limited set of core indicators by which the professions can measure their progress.
- Completion of work already underway on the development of a social mobility toolkit for regulators and professional bodies and on-line hosting of information on professional careers by the professions.
The work of the Forum will contribute to the coalition Government’s social mobility strategy being developed by the Ministerial Group on Social Mobility, chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister.
Best Practice Code for High-Quality Internships
Published on 18 July 2011, this voluntary Best Practice Code for High-Quality Internships (PDF, 573 Kb) has been developed by the Gateways to the Professions Collaborative Forum.
The Code will provide guidance to professions offering internships on best practice for the design and running of internships, and will help to ensure that both interns and employers obtain the maximum benefit from such placements. The Code sets out six principles of best practice for internships: preparation; recruitment, induction; supervision and mentoring; certification, reference and feedback.
Social Mobility Toolkit for the Professions
The Social Mobility Toolkit for the Professions was launched by Professions for Good on 2 March 2012 on behalf of the Professions Collaborative Forum. It is the first common framework to measure the progress of social mobility within the professions.
The toolkit provides guidance by professions for professions, giving practical recommendations for employer organisations of all sizes, professional bodies and regulators on how they can track and foster social mobility. It examines the economic, business and moral case for social mobility, the state of social mobility in the UK, and the recent policy initiatives in this area by the current Government. It also provides best practice advice on how to collect and process data on social mobility, and how organisations can diversify the socio-economic
profile of their members and employees.
The toolkit has its origins in the 2009 Unleashing aspirations report by Alan Milburn. This report highlighted the barriers to entry and social mobility within the UK professions, and the detrimental effect this has on the professions and society at large. The toolkit was researched on behalf of Professions for Good by Spada. It surveyed 300 professionals and drew on the expertise of fifty representatives from universities, membership bodies, NGOs, regulators and Government departments.
The full 52-page toolkit and the Executive Summary can be downloaded below:
Social mobility toolkit for the professions
Social mobility toolkit for the professions: summary
Professions Supporting the Social Mobility Business Compact
Many of the Professions Collaborative Forum and Professions for Good members including the AAT, ACCA, The Bar Council, ICAEW and RICS have all become signatories to the Government's Social Mobility Business Compact. They have committed to ensuring everyone has a fair opportunity to fulfil their potential, regardless of the circumstances of their birth, by:
- supporting communities and local schools
- improving skills and creating jobs by providing opportunities for all young people to get a foot on the ladder
- improving quality of life and wellbeing by recruiting openly and fairly, ensuring non-discrimination
See further information from the Cabinet Office on the social mobility business compact.