Speaking at today’s (7 June 2017) Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) Student Recruitment Conference, Baroness Floella Benjamin called for employers and universities to engage with children at primary school to help build confidence and bridge the social mobility gap.
Baroness Benjamin said:
“This conference is about a subject close to my heart – making a difference to my world, which means to be all embracing, to bridge the social mobility gap.
“I see many of my Play School babies here today. During those days I learned the value of childhood. The early years are so important as childhood lasts a lifetime. We have to make children feel loved and wanted, have the confidence to make them be able to stand up for what they believe in and to take on the world.
“Universities and employers have to go into schools to bridge the social mobility gap early, leaving it until sixth form is too late. Talk to children from primary school and into years eight and nine, when they are mapping out their career paths. Show them how to be work ready, how to feel good about themselves.
“We need to build confidence in our children. Confidence eradicates fear of the unknown and of failure. It is the main ingredient to success and happiness. We make a difference when we are confident about whom we are. If we don’t encourage all of our young people to reach for he sky, we’re missing out on talent.”
Baroness Benjamin brought delegates to their feet with a rendition of Nat King Cole’s Smile.
Becoming a household name by presenting Play School in the 1970s, Baroness Benjamin went on to receive an OBE and BAFTA Special Lifetime Award. Elevated to the House of Lords as a life peer, she leads on children’s issues in parliament.
Taking place from 6 to 8 June 2017 in Brighton, the AGR Student Recruitment Conference speaker line-up also includes respected broadcaster and writer, Simon Fanshaw OBE, RSA Chief Executive, Matthew Taylor, neuroscientist, Darius Norell and Daniel Susskind.