Five Million Futures in the North West

Robert Hough CBE, Peel Group

Leading North West businessman Robert Hough CBE, Director at Peel Group, discusses importance of social impact initiatives such as 5 Million Futures (5MF) in providing opportunity for disadvantaged young people across the region.

Every child in the North West should be provided with the opportunity and means to pursue a fulfilling and rewarding professional career. Education is a powerful tool and small acts can make a life-changing difference. In my work, I have been fortunate to have been involved with important organisations, such as Teach First, that seek to make that goal a reality, providing highly rewarding experiences that make a decisive, life-changing difference for disadvantaged young people.

In collaboration with our team at Peel, which has a long history of working with communities to enhance the wealth and prosperity of the areas in which we operate, I have witnessed first-hand Deloitte’s dedication to making an impact that matters. Particularly, this has been made evident through the work of senior leaders Nick Owen (UK Chair, Deloitte) and Chris Rix (Tax Partner, Deloitte).

As members of Teach First’s North West Business Leaders’ Council, Chris and I have visited a number of schools in the region, including Abraham Moss Community School, Crumpsall, and All Saints Catholic High School, Dukinfield. During these visits, we had the pleasure of leading lessons designed to energise and inspire pupils, lifting the lid on the kind of opportunities out there and speaking on the importance of soft skills such as communication, leadership and teamwork.

I have been fortunate to have witnessed Chris and Nick leading these highly rewarding sessions, with their sincerity and belief in social impact programmes clear to see. Synergy between Teach First’s objective to address educational inequality, and Deloitte’s 5 Million Futures goal to help five million people get to where they want to be through access to education and employment has created a highly beneficial support system for pupils.

Similar to Peel, Deloitte is an organisation with a strong network of professionals that are mindful of the challenges in today’s world. In conjunction with the work done personally by Nick and Chris, I am aware that the team also runs a number of workshops in schools across the North West region. These include personal mentoring workshops where support is provided with writing UCAS references and CVs, conducting mock interviews accompanied by feedback, and providing bespoke guidance in regard to career choices.

Whilst these kinds of programmes only require a short expenditure of time in relative terms, the return on investment can be immense. Many of the children that Deloitte, Peel, Teach First and other organisations in our network provide support to have never been privy to this level of guidance.

Deloitte’s commitment to social impact goes even further. I am familiar with its national BrightStart apprenticeship programme that provides school leavers with the opportunity to achieve professional qualifications while gaining on-the-job experience. Each year I take note of the firm’s in-take of school-leavers and graduates from the region, and hope to see other organisations commit to providing opportunity in the same way.

I am a firm believer in that it isn’t where you’re from, but rather how you behave and what personal attributes you possess that determines how far you can go. It is clear to see that Deloitte’s commitment to the 5 Million Futures programme goes beyond just a message and is about getting out there and making a real difference to the lives of young people. I am delighted to see that the scheme has now been adopted across Deloitte’s North South Europe member firms and look forward to working with Chris, Nick and the wider North West team again in the near future.

Following success of the One Million Futures campaign, in November 2020 Deloitte North South Europe (NSE) launched its 5 Million Futures (5MF) social impact strategy - aiming to help five million people get to where they want to be through access to education and employment. 5MF seeks to address inequality by overcoming barriers to education and employment, empowering individuals with the skills needed to succeed in today’s economy.

Focused on inclusion and aligned to the UN’s Sustainable Development goals, 5MF is part of Deloitte’s Global World Class commitment to empower 50 million people by 2030. This is one of the ways we are bringing the firm’s purpose to life by making an impact that matters.

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