Elle UK kicks off 2021 mentoring programme with the Social Mobility Commission and cover star Ramala Ali

Elle UK is kicking off its annual mentoring scheme with the September 2021 issue, reiterating the brand’s commitment to opening the door to a more inclusive new generation of creative talent.

Working with The Social Mobility Commission, Elle UK identified and activity recruited students from a combination of medium and cold spots (disadvantaged areas) from across the country. Recognised as presenting the biggest barriers to young people for fulfilling their potential, in 2021 these areas include Norwich, Blackburn, Solihull and Caerphilly and Inverness.

Of the areas in England that Elle UK has drawn students from, Norwich and Blackburn are social mobility cold spots. In SMC research conducted in 2020, Blackburn ranked among the least socially mobile areas in England.

What is more, as a result of the pandemic, young people are likely to be missing out on valuable work experience. Around 60 per cent of graduate employers have had to cancel some or all of their work experience and internship placements due to Covid-19.

Of the areas in which the students live, Blackburn (45 per cent), Caerphilly (30 per cent) and Norwich (28-31 per cent) have the highest rates of children in poverty. Blackburn is significantly above the national average (almost one third of children in the UK are living in poverty).

Since 2012, 40 per cent of new professional jobs were in London and the south-east (939,700 jobs) – more than those created in Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and the English regions of the north-east, the East Midlands, the southwest, and Yorkshire and the Humber combined.

Elle UK worked to find students in need of support in reaching their full potential and actively recruited a group of students from non-fee-paying schools. Elle UK chose young students aged 17-22 years old who would work alongside an Elle UK buddy via Zoom, whilst contributing ideas across everything from the creative direction of shoots, fashion styling, drafting headlines and the cover shoot.

As part of this campaign, students will also have access to a large diverse group of well-known mentors, from boxer Ramla Ali, to activist Munroe Bergdorf, supermodel Leomie Anderson and screenwriter and director, Emerald Fennell. All mentors will give students personal insights into different creative industries, lessons they have learned and how they succeed in their respective fields.


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