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Today British children from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely than their better off peers to reach the expected level of attainment in their school careers. Just one in nine of those with parents from low income backgrounds reach the top income quartile, whereas almost half of those with parents in the top income quartile stay there.

For many their future is mapped out by the circumstances of their birth. For the poorest top careers are closed off, and the opportunity to contribute their full potential to society is wasted. The individual loses out, we all lose out.

The type of people entering professions is a good indicator of social mobility. Many companies require degrees, this would be fair if university talent was linked to natural talent, but stats show background plays a key role.

Professional qualifications can be the passport to social mobility, recognising talent not background. We are trying to change the focus from inputs to outcomes. No body should be prejudged before attempting to pass a voc course or professional qualification. We also advocate the notion of multiple entry points and flexibility in terms of length of course.

Finally there is a serious problem of poor careers advice in state schools- vocational courses and professional qualifications are often rendered invisible due to inadequate disclosure to the young.

We are striving to be a force for good when it comes to social mobility. We want to support the development of the young.