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Compass Group UK and Ireland unveils plan to close Opportunity Gap with former Education Secretary


Compass Group UK and Ireland, the UK’s largest food and support services company, has unveiled an action plan to increase access to career opportunities across the UK, in partnership with former Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Justine Greening. 

The plan sets out a series of ambitions that Compass will work towards in the wake of COVID-19 with the aim of ensuring that more people are able to progress in careers, unhindered by their background or lack of connections. 

The hospitality and foodservice industries are uniquely positioned to affect positive change because they don’t have the educational barriers of other industries. Compass has the scale and geographic breadth to help and offer thousands of opportunities across the country. 

Compass is one of a pioneering group of UK businesses and universities aiming to set a new and higher standard on boosting social mobility in Britain. As a Recognised Living Wage Service Provider, Compass has a strong advocacy position on pay in partnership with clients, and later this year they will become one of the first companies to begin measuring social mobility in the workforce.

The company was also among the early signatories to the Social Mobility Pledge, cofounded by Justine Greening in 2018, after she left the Government, alongside UK entrepreneur David Harrison, chair of the Harrison Centre for Social Mobility. The pledge is a commitment to levelling up Britain by partnering with local schools, offering apprenticeships and using open and fair recruitment practices. 

More than 550 organisations representing over seven million people have now signed the Social Mobility Pledge.

The launch of Compass’ Opportunity Action Plan, entitled ‘Essential Career Path Guarantee’, is the culmination of months of work with the Social Mobility Pledge team, who identified Compass as a trail blazer in social mobility. 

Rt Hon Justine Greening said: “True social mobility in Britain has been lacking for far too long. Levelling up our country is a challenge that needs a national effort and it’s one that businesses are increasingly rising to. Compass Group UK and Ireland has shown how to deliver essential worker careers, providing fantastic careers for people who were not necessarily even looking for one initially, and who may have started off their time with Compass with little confidence to pursue one. Through their approach, Compass has shown how a business can not only build the chance for careers and progress but make that reality by matching it up with ensuring employees get the support and confidence they need to make the most of those opportunities. Compass has shown that there are no dead-end jobs, only companies who haven’t thought through how to deliver a career path guarantee like this for their employees.

“By publishing this action plan, Compass is part of a coalition of businesses and universities working to deliver a set of levelling up goals that are raising the standard of the environment, social and corporate governance agenda. I look forward to working closely with them in the important months ahead for our country. I’d encourage many more businesses to follow their example and consider how they can go further, faster to make Britain a place where everyone gets the chance to thrive in fulfilling careers.”

Donna Catley, Chief People Officer, Compass Group UK and Ireland commented: “At Compass Group UK and Ireland, we believe deeply that everyone must have the opportunity to develop and progress – regardless of where they grew up or what their parents did.

“We can offer the precious “First Rung” on the ladder – the first job that enables a colleague to gain confidence and skills – as well as the chance to progress through our ranks. Every day across thousands of sites we see people whose career has grown with us and our business. Every job is an opportunity to develop skills and confidence – there is no dead-end job. Our ‘Essential Career Path Guarantee’ action plan details steps we must take to help the UK to build back better from the effects of COVID-19.”

The Compass Opportunity Action Plan can be found here.

Compass Opportunity Action Plan