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EXCLUSIVE: Lady Cobham reveals her goals for the future of The 5% Club

EXCLUSIVE: Lady Cobham reveals her goals for the future of The 5% Club

Executive Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd

Stepping into a new leadership role is tough, but having a cause you believe in and a roadmap of the future helps immeasurably. 

The 5% Club’s first Director General, Penny Cobham, or Lady Cobham, has served on many Boards before, including national tourist Board VisitEngland and communications agency Linley and Pagefield Communications.

She spoke to us about her goals for the future of The 5% Club, a not-for-profit corporate membership organisation that focuses mainly on promoting apprenticeships and other ‘earn-to-learn’ initiatives.  

“The ultimate aim for The 5% Club is to have a demonstrable and empirical-led contribution to reducing skills shortages across the industries that our members serve,” she says.

“In the shorter-term, my personal goal in the role is to expand our membership to over 200 companies [which will] represent a range of sectors across the country. I want to ensure that all regions across the UK are able to benefit from the incredible opportunities presented by The 5% Club and that there is a broad range of employers working together to create these opportunities.”

Regarding the continued promotion of The 5% Club, she comments: “As well as promoting The 5% Club ourselves, our members have been very supportive in promoting the initiative through their own press teams and social media channels.

“We have also been working with various industry and political stakeholders . . . to build a coalition of support and ensure that we getting our message out there. The more exposure The 5% Club receives then the more members we sign up, creating more opportunities for young people.

“We also need to ensure that young people have access to high quality information and advice on the range of opportunities available to them.”

So, were there any grandiose celebrations? “I hate to disappoint,” Cobham says, “I am just grateful to [Leo Quinn, Founder of The 5% Club and Chief Executive of Balfour Beatty] and other members for allowing me to fulfil something I am passionate about.” 

She describes her first few week to us: “As with any new role, my first couple of weeks have really been spent bedding myself into the organisation, meeting members, building relationships and defining priority areas of work. 

“What I will say is that I have been extremely impressed by how The 5% Club is managed and the collegiate approach its members have taken to tackling a shared issue. There is no obligation for a member to sign up and it’s great to see such a shared passion in ensuring we equip young people with the required skills to be successful in their careers.” 


Image courtesy of VisitEngland.