Education Secretary Damian Hinds has today (23 May) recommended Dame Martina Milburn as the preferred candidate for the position of Chair of the Social Mobility Commission.
Dame Martina has been put forward as the preferred candidate after showing that she had the skills and experience to drive forward the work of improving equality of opportunities for disadvantaged young people. She has spent 14 years as Chief Executive of the Prince’s Trust, supporting more than 450,000 disadvantaged young people across the country in that time, with three in four of these going on to work, education or training.
Since 2004 she has led work to remove the barriers too many young people still face, including more than 100,000 through ‘Achieve’ - an education programme that helps those at risk of exclusion from school – and projects that improve young people’s emotional wellbeing and resilience. Dame Martina also oversaw the charity’s expansion by integrating the Fairbridge personal development programme and Mosaic, a mentoring initiative, extending links with young people from deprived inner-city areas and those from Muslim communities.
She is also a non-executive director of the National Citizen Service and the Capital City College Group, and was previously Chief Executive of BBC Children in Need and of the Association of Spinal Injury Research, Rehabilitation and Reintegration.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:
Dame Martina has spent her career as a tireless champion for underprivileged children, young people and their families, providing better opportunities for them to fulfil their potential. Her leadership of the Prince’s Trust has improved the education, skills and self-esteem of thousands of young people, and will be key in progressing our social mobility agenda.
I am grateful to her predecessor Alan Milburn, whose work as Chair of the Commission over five years shone a light on the injustices that still exist too frequently in this country. I look forward to working with Dame Martina as she works with us to eliminate them.
The recommendation comes as the Department for Education publishes its response to the Education Select Committee’s report on the future of the Social Mobility Commission.
Dame Martina was chosen out of a competitive field of applicants, and demonstrated strong commitment to the values of the Commission during the assessment process.
Dame Martina Milburn said:
It is a privilege to be put forward to Chair the Social Mobility Commission. I hope my experience of working closely with and listening to young people from different backgrounds will help make a difference.
The Chair of the Social Mobility Commission will hold the government and Ministers to account on its work to spread opportunity evenly across the country.
The Secretary of State for Education will now ask Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Education Select Committee, to arrange for the committee to meet Dame Martina. He will consider the committee’s conclusions before deciding whether to proceed with the appointment.