LONDON, 18 October 2022 – Aon plc (NYSE: AON), a leading global professional services firm, today announces the UK launch of the Work Insights Programme to enhance social mobility and career opportunities for college students. The programme, which will offer 1000 work experience placements per year for three years, is designed for students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
The programme which starts in February 2023, will be both virtual and in-person and will offer opportunities to year-12 students (aged 16 to 17) across the UK. The programme will partner with state-funded schools to reach those that would benefit most – and adopt a selection process based on diversity statistics, such as areas with a high percentage of free school meals.
Virtual programmes will be offered three times a year, providing 300 places annually, while hybrid programmes will include in-person opportunities at Aon’s seven largest offices (including Bristol, Birmingham, Chelmsford, Farnborough, London, Leeds, and Glasgow), providing a further 700 places. The programme will comprise of interactive learning sessions, speakers, panels, group projects, skills sessions, and networking, all delivered by Aon colleagues.
Rising inflation and the increased cost-of-living have created further uncertainty for vulnerable households, and the longer-term ramifications of lockdown policies have affected young people through disruption to their plans for higher education and reduced opportunities. A new survey from The Open University revealed that 35 percent of young adults have had to rethink their career plans and more than half plan on taking extra courses in a bid to better their skillset and knowledge.1 The financial anxiety is even more pronounced for those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
Sean Carney, Partner, Head of Human Capital Solutions, Aon UK said:
“It’s an unfortunate fact that research has shown time and again that the financial and professional services industries have a poor track record for hiring from disadvantaged backgrounds. Combined with the growing pressures of inflation, the cost-of-living crisis, and the pandemic, it’s clear that today’s youth needs further guidance and support to kickstart their careers and build their networks.
“Work experience can be an intimidating experience for many young people, and this can cause the workplace to become inaccessible to them, especially those from more disadvantaged backgrounds. We have designed this programme specifically to address this under-served group, make it accessible and create a sense of belonging for all students.
“We hope that this programme will positively impact and enhance the lives of many while helping to build more resilient workforces. Supporting diverse recruitment in financial and professional services is a critical priority for Aon and we are excited to take real action on social mobility in order to push the insurance industry towards generating greater opportunities for all.”
1 The Open University (OU)’s survey (25 August, 2022)
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