» Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Report on Access to Professions

Asked about the Prime Minister s views on Alan Milburn s report on access to professions, the PMS said that the Prime Minister thought this was an area where we needed to do more and that was why he asked Alan Milburn to set up this report. The report would build on the progress that we had made over the last decade, which included lifting six hundred thousand children out of poverty, having the highest ever proportion of sixteen to eighteen year olds taking part in education and training, and having record numbers of students in higher education. However, there were specific issues in relation to the professions that needed to be addressed. In the Prime Minister s view this was a very good report and one that we would study carefully.

Asked if the Prime Minister supported the idea of having cadets in every state school, the PMS said that it was something that we would want to look at closely as we considered how to take forward our overall policy on improving social mobility.

Asked what progress the Government wanted to make in terms of access to professions, the PMS said that this was something that this report specifically addressed, but there were other areas where we had taken action in order to address some of underlying issues around social mobility, particularly getting children out of poverty, getting more children into education and higher education, all of which should open up opportunities for young people to get into the professions. However, there were clearly issues in relation to the professions themselves and how they conducted themselves.

Asked if there was anything Government could do to change the way professions behaved, the PMS said that there was a legitimate role for the Government to shine some light on some of the procedures in the professions. We wanted to work with the professions and that was why we had included representatives from the professions to sit on the panel headed by Alan Milburn. We felt there was more we could do and we wanted to work in a cooperative way with the professions where possible. Alan Milburn had come up with an imaginative list of proposals in his report today.

Asked if the Prime Minister was disappointed that a person s family background and social status were more likely to effect their career prospects than twelve years ago, the PMS said that the Prime Minister was not satisfied with that and that was why he had asked Alan Milburn to look at the matter. This was an area where we needed to do more.

Asked why it was the case that social status was more likely now to affect one s prospects, the PMS said that Alan Milburn set out a very detailed analysis of the specific issues in relation to some groups of society and their access to the professions.

Asked what the next steps were, the PMS said that Pat McFadden was the lead Minister responsible for driving this forward. For example, we would be making further announcements on higher education in the autumn, which was something that would be considered, as Pat McFadden had made clear in his response to Alan Milburn s report today.

Put that paradoxically higher education had resulted in more obstacles in the sense that some professions would be more likely to want graduates, the PMS said that the Government would not accept that and that Alan Milburn had not suggested that fewer people should go to university. It was the Government s view that more people were going to university, more people should go to university and more people should aspire to go to university. If there were consequences in relation to access to the professions then that would be need to be looked at in terms of who the professions were recruiting.

Put that there had been an increase in internships, the PMS said that this was something Alan Milburn mentioned in his report and had a number of recommendations on.

Asked if there was something the Government could do specifically, the PMS said that the Government would look at Alan Milburn proposals and consider how best to take them forward. The Prime Minister accepted that there was an issue, which needed to be tackled.

Asked if the Government was against any of Alan Milburn s recommendations, the PMS said that we would not single out any particular recommendation at this point. We wanted to look at the report in its entirety and the recommendations as a whole before reaching any further conclusions.

original source.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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