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Public affairs sector gives voice to marginalised young people

A new scheme has been launched for young people from marginalised communities in London. It is being led by the social enterprise I have a voice, who in partnership with companies across London, are on a mission to create employment opportunities in the public affairs sector for young people from backgrounds that are under-represented in the sector and world of politics.

The scheme is particularly focused on young people from low-income households as 20% of people in London who are in work are paid less than the London Living Wage. This shows that we need more good quality, well-paid jobs in the city.

The public affairs sector can provide these jobs. The starting salary for public affairs roles is £20k to £29k, and the average salary in a public affairs role in London is £46,869. Employment opportunities in this sector could lift a whole household out of poverty.

In addition, the Pandemic highlighted just how much political decisions impact every industry and business sector. This means that more than ever businesses want to understand political risk and have people help them to make sure their concerns and hopes for the future are heard by policymakers. As a result, the demand for professionals in this sector is at an all-time high, making this an ideal opportunity to invest in the sector’s future talent.

Rebecca, CEO I have a voice “There are thousands of jobs that inform the big decisions that affect all of our lives. Whether that is decisions about transport, housing, health and care services or financial services. It is important the people working in these roles have a diverse range of lived experiences, so that we understand how these decisions will impact everyone, particularly people in marginalised communities whose voices are most likely to be overlooked.

We have launched this scheme because ultimately, we believe that having greater diversity amongst the people making these decisions means that they’ll make better decisions. The benefits of diversity in any organisation are well-documented and this sector is no different. If anything, we think it is even more important.”

Louise Allen, CEO, GK Strategy

“GK are proud to support I have a voice and its critical work to build a more diverse public affairs sector for the future. Ensuring young people from all backgrounds know about our industry is essential.”

Ameet Gill, Partner and Founder, Hanbury Strategy

“At Hanbury we pride ourselves on our diversity of thought, giving clients great advice because we have people with different viewpoints and experiences. Hiring people from different backgrounds is crucial for us as we continue to grow and help clients deal with greater risks associated with a fast-changing world. We are also passionate believers in social mobility and training people up to become great communications and public affairs practitioners. That's why we are so excited to work with I have a voice on this scheme and to offer opportunities to take their career to the next level.”

Sophia Morrell, Director, UK Public Affairs, UK Finance

“Having a more diverse public affairs workforce is important not just to our sector, but also to helping politics as a whole be more reflective of British society. UK Finance is proud to support the I have a voice scheme and we are looking forward to playing our part in helping open up exciting careers in public affairs to a much wider range of backgrounds.”

Andrew Smith, Head of Public Affairs, Weber Shandwick

“Public Affairs plays an important role in supporting good policy making. Diversity of experience and thought as much as diversity of political affiliation is important in the counsel that public affairs’ consultants provide. I have a voice plays an important role on giving people from under-represented groups the opportunity to work with leading public affairs teams and I am delighted that Weber Shandwick is supporting this initiative."

Jules Shelley, Deputy Managing Director, Ellwood Atfield

“Ellwood Atfield is committed to driving diversity within our industry. As the leading recruitment & search firm in the public affairs sector, we are passionate about supporting young people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds to build careers that help drive genuine change.”

Derek Cribb, CEO, IPSE

“IPSE is proud to support the ‘I have a voice’ scheme and to ensure that young people, regardless of their background, are able to pursue a career in public affairs. Not only is it important that policy makers are exposed to diverse opinions but it’s also an opportunity for IPSE to benefit from a fresh perspective.”

About the scheme:

The Walcot Foundation has provided a grant to kick-start this brand-new scheme that will provide training for young people living in London who are experiencing modern day poverty. They will receive training from public affairs professionals to develop the key skills needed in any entry-level role in the sector.

Once the training programme is complete there will be a number of internships, paid at the London Living Wage, made available for the trainees. GK Strategy, Hanbury Strategy, Ellwood Atfield, UK Finance, Weber Shandwick and IPSE are supporting this initiative by opening up their internships to this cohort of trainees as well as making delivery of the training component of the scheme possible.

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