Closing the opportunity gap is vital for a “just transition” as the UK decarbonises.

SSE has today launched, in partnership with the Social Mobility Pledge, a new report outlining how it’s working to reduce the opportunity gap and support the levelling up agenda.

The power firm is at the forefront of the transition to net-zero and plans to invest £7.5bn on low carbon investment to spur a green recovery, helping boost jobs and opportunities. It has already announced over 1,000 new direct and supply chain jobs since June 2020 as it undertakes some of the biggest construction projects in the UK.

But the big shift in focus in the energy industry increases the need to ensure there is a just transition as the UK decarbonises.

Improving social mobility is important to achieving this and a joint report published today between SSE and the Social Mobility Pledge highlights the actions that can support fairness as we transition to a net zero economy.

The 'Social mobility and opportunity for all in a time of crisis’ report has been welcomed by the former Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Justine Greening for raising the standard and for SSE being an “incredible force for good”.

"Achieving true social mobility in Britain and levelling up our country is a huge challenge but one that businesses and universities are rising to. They have a crucial role to play and can be an incredible force for good in spreading opportunities more evenly across communities and to people that have missed out for far too long.

I am delighted that SSE is at the forefront of this environment, social and corporate governance agenda. Publishing this action plan today sends out a clear signal that SSE is raising the standard of corporate ESG and I look forward to working closely with them in the important months ahead for our country.

I hope many more businesses will follow SSE's lead and consider how they can go further, faster to make Britain a high skilled, high knowledge economy."

Former Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Justine Greening

The report sets out current initiatives and future actions to improve social mobility across the business.

SSE has worked with Barnardo’s for over a decade on their employability programme for 16-24-year-olds and created a partnership with Career Ready to help support secondary school students in areas of deprivation gain real workplace experience and mentorship. It has also signed the Armed Forces Covenant, which helps serving and ex-forces personnel to get into the industry and also supports their families.

SSE’s pipeline programmes attract fresh talent into the company and the industry, with people joining SSE annually through its annual apprenticeship scheme, Technical Skills Trainee programme and graduate programme. And now, to support people transition from other sectors, a new 12-week ‘STEM returners’ pilot to help people with STEM skills restart their career in the low carbon energy sector.

The report includes assurances SSE’s £7.5bn investment plan to support decarbonisation will enable wider access to fulfilling, sustainable, long-term careers in energy.

"As a business we are channelling billions of pounds into the economy – building a greener, cleaner future, whilst creating jobs and opportunity. Now more than ever it is vital that these opportunities are open to all.

SSE’s existing social mobility programmes alongside new initiatives and schemes will support, in a direct and practical way, the recruitment of people from all levels of society.

We are delighted to support Justine Greening and her team in bringing about a greater focus on increased social mobility in business and industry."

John Stewart, SSE’s Director of HR

SSE was 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. The launch of the report is the culmination of months of work with the Social Mobility Pledge team.

The Pledge asks businesses and universities to commit to levelling up Britain by partnering with local schools, offering apprenticeships and using open and fair recruitment practices.

Social Mobility Report can be downloaded here