The MoJ Schools Programme Pathway sits at the heart of MoJ’s drive to increase social mobility. Since leading the scheme in January 2017, Victoria has inspired almost 900 volunteers from MoJ and other departments to become Social Mobility Ambassadors. This group has delivered more than 550 events to approximately 50,000 school children in areas of higher than average social deprivation. Last year, Victoria oversaw a roll-out to “social mobility cold spots”, partnering with third parties to extend MoJ’s reach to engage pupils from areas where life chances are limited.
On the back of feedback from teachers, pupils and trusted allies in academia and the charity sector, Victoria has developed innovative additional outreach programmes to support young people and ensure that the department can attract talented candidates that represent the community we serve. These include the STEP Into Justice work experience programme, placements that allow school age students to experience working in the MoJ to help them make educated career choices. To date there have been over 300 placements across MoJ business areas, with many more planned in 2019. To maximise the spread of these opportunities, Victoria has built strong relationships with charity organisations including School21, Mosaic and the Stephen Lawrence Foundation, overseeing 1,600 mentoring relationships between MoJ staff and disadvantaged pupils in 2018/19.
Not content to restrict her focus to schools, Victoria has developed MoJ’s University Outreach Programme which works with non-Russell Group universities to support students from lower socio-economic backgrounds with mentoring and work experience. A series of targeted visits, augmented with internship programmes and experience placements has allowed students to actively engage with a large government department.
Victoria has also run three Catapult sponsorship cohorts, linking senior staff with junior colleagues from lower SEBs to enable career conversations, upward mentoring and fostering an inclusive culture in MoJ.