State of the Nation 2022: a fresh approach to social mobility

Our response to the Social Mobility Commission's annual report which highlights some exciting new approaches being taken by the organisation

By James Burbidge · 28th June 2022

Coach Core welcomes the release of the Social Mobility Commission’s annual report the ‘State of the Nation 2022: a fresh approach to social mobility’ which highlights their new approach including a social mobility index to help measure trends and progress.  

At Coach Core we understand the power of opening doors and offering alternate options for young people to continue with education and to access the employment market. The report highlights that simply widening access to university has not brought the dividends many hoped for, and has diverted attention away from the 50% that pursue other routes. The commission will now have a sharpened focus on diverse talent and identifies that cognitive ability is often over-emphasised through a heavy focus on getting people into a university pathway. We strongly agree with the commission that other talents and roles should be valued equally and alternate paths can open up and strengthen other skills vital for success.  

The report also highlighted a lack of attention on those people whose opportunities are extremely limited because of a lack of basic literacy, numeracy and employability skills. These are the young people Coach Core targets and, though our work with training provider Lifetime, we ensure that all have the opportunity to gain their Level One in Maths and English, and the option to upskill to Level 2 with support from specialist tutors during the programme. Not only does this ensure Coach Core is accessible to those without qualifications, it provides Apprentices with a means to gain them, which may be vital for future work and education opportunities. 

The fresh approach being taken to clarify the terminology around social mobility, as well as how it is measured and benchmarked, is much needed. We will be taking the new index into consideration in our work to evaluate the Coach Core programme and look forward to additional tools such as geographical breakdowns. It’s important we also look to ask different questions around talent, ability, families, culture and values to add to the depth of data and to support the conversation across the sector.  

We support the movement to look at the issues with a sharper lens to understand where the problems lie and how we can make a real difference to ensure everyone has a chance to succeed regardless of their background.

“It is extremely encouraging to see that this fixation on University being the single pathway to success is now starting to be dismantled, with so many other training and place-based education routes becoming available to young adults across the UK. For many careers, sectors and people, a vocational qualification represents the best chance of progression. We look forward to seeing greater opportunities begin to open up to the types of people that Coach Core are targeting, and will continue to do our best to support a more diverse, exciting workforce into the sport for development sector too.” 

Coach Core CEO Gary Laybourne 


Sign up to our quarterly newsletter for the latest updates and activity from Coach Core:


About us

Find out more about what we do and who we are

Read more


Support us

Coach Core is a charity that needs your support to continue helping young people into meaningful careers and supporting their communities to become healthier and happier places

Read more