Small group of universities hold keys to Britain’s top jobs, Euan Blair says

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Blair said the government could do more to encourage schools to promote apprenticeship as an alternative to university

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According to Euan Blair, chief executive of apprenticeship company Multiverse, the top retainer jobs — and who gets them — are handled by a small number of universities, affecting diversity in the workplace.

Speaking at the Evening Standard’s SME XPO event in London on Wednesday, former prime minister Tony Blair’s son Blair said the degree was used as a “filtering mechanism” at the expense of hiring the best people.

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“When you really boil it down, essentially we’ve allowed the top jobs in the labor market, and who takes those top jobs, to be determined by a small group of academic institutions.

“This is extremely problematic for society – it has helped embed inequality in the labor market,” he said.

He said only 4% of those claiming free school meals attend Russell Group University, leading to a lack of social mobility in technical and professional services.

Multiverse trains trainees with employers in the UK and US in areas such as the business operations of data science and software engineering and bills itself as an alternative to the university.

It recently received funding from firms such as Morgan Stanley, Amazon and Deloitte to train 5,000 apprentices for charities and small businesses that would otherwise be unable to take them.

“I think what’s increasingly important for big companies and small companies is to have access to diverse talent and get the skills they need,” Blair said.

“More than half of the trainees we hire are people of color, nearly a third come from economically marginalized communities, and 54% are women, including those in technical roles.”

He said the attitude of employers is changing.

“They have traditionally focused on hiring from universities because they feel that this is the only way to reach great talent. They are now increasingly realizing that it is not.”

He urged the government to encourage schools to promote apprenticeships along the traditional university route, overhaul school league tables to show results other than test results, and remove barriers to access to apprenticeships such as grade requirements. called upon.

He said his own degree – in ancient history and international relations – was “absolutely useless” in his undergraduate job at investment bank Morgan Stanley.

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