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Innovation and productivity: creating a place-based approach to social mobility

Event date:
Event time: TBC
Location: TBC

This event is being postponed due to the upcoming general election. We will update with additional details as soon as possible

On 10th June, the Social Mobility Commission will publish two new reviews which specifically explore the link between innovation and social mobility; and productivity and social mobility. Having access to work opportunities is a key factor in supporting social mobility – these reports will explore how innovation and productivity affect different individuals in different areas of the country. We are hosting an event to launch this work.

The confirmed panel is:

    • Panel Chair: Alun Francis OBE, Chair, Social Mobility Commission

    • Joanna Birch, Director, Innovation Enterprise and Employability, Birmingham City University

    • Professor Helen Higson OBE DL, Professor of Higher Education Learning and Management, Aston Business School

    • Robert Joyce, Deputy Director, Institute for Fiscal Studies

At the event, the panel will discuss the critical relationship between innovation and social mobility and how, when taken together, they can lead to greater social mobility in the labour market. There will be an opportunity to hear from, and ask questions to, the author of one of the pieces, local leaders and the Social Mobility Commission.

This event links directly with one of our key policy themes – Growing Opportunities – which focuses on the role of innovation, productivity and economic growth has in improving opportunities and outcomes for all.

Please note, registration via the website is for online attendance only. We have a number of in person spaces available to attend the event in Birmingham, please email to find out more.

About our speakers

Joanna Birch, Director, Innovation Enterprise and Employability, Birmingham City University

Joanna is currently Director for Innovation, Enterprise and Employability for Birmingham City University, working to develop partnerships primarily around areas associated with creativity, sustainability and health to facilitate growth and encourage cross innovation. She was the founder and co-creator of STEAMhouse BCU’s collaborative centre for innovation. She has travelled extensively reviewing, benchmarking and speaking about innovation models. Joanna is the lead for skills and employability at BCU and leads a team responsible for supporting Graduates into graduate level roles, working with employers to respond to talent needs and supporting regionally on responding to skills policy and programmes and initiatives to address gaps. Joanna has been active in informing and shaping regional agendas and has worked extensively across the creative industries over the past ten years, building the case for reinvestment back into Birmingham.

Alun Francis, Chair, Social Mobility Commission

Alun Francis is the Chair of the Social Mobility Commission and Principal and Chief Executive of Blackpool and The Fylde College. Blackpool and the Fylde College is an award winning organisation and is one of the largest and highest performing further education colleges in the country. It has degree awarding powers, a wide choice of T levels and is a Centre of Excellence for World Skills. It is leading the Lancashire and Cumbria Institute of Technology, and is pioneering a new approach to Further Education and Higher Education delivery with Blackpool Council, called “Multiversity Blackpool” which sits at the heart of local regeneration plans.

Professor Helen Higson OBE DL, Professor of Higher Education Learning and Management in Aston Business School

Helen was Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Aston University.  She is now Professor of Higher Education Learning and Management in Aston Business School.  Helen is a Principal Fellow of Advance HE and a National Teaching Fellow.  Her recent research, policy and consultancy work includes intercultural training, developing employability and skills development, facilitating a coaching culture, and closing the degree attainment gap.   She was Vice Chair of the SRHE Board and is currently Chair of Navitas UK.

Robert Joyce, Deputy Director, Institute for Fiscal Studies

Robert is Deputy Director at the IFS. His research focuses primarily on the labour market, the drivers of income and wealth inequalities, and the design of the welfare system. Currently this includes work examining the impacts on jobs and pay of rises in the minimum wage, the short and long term effects of the universal credit reform to working-age benefits, and the impacts of changes in the demand for different skills on the prospects of different workers. Robert is a member of the Expert Panel currently leading “The Deaton Review: Inequalities in the Twenty First Century”. He directed the Income, Work and Welfare sector at IFS for several years, has sat on the Social Metrics Commission, and is a former editor of IFS’ two flagship annual publications, “The IFS Green Budget” and “Living Standards, Poverty and Inequality in the UK”.