Why We Exist
Theory of Change
upReach’s vision is of a society in which everybody has an equal opportunity to realise their full career potential, regardless of social background.
Socio-economic disadvantage continues to be the most significant driver of inequality in terms of access to and outcomes from higher education.
We take a ‘double benefit’ approach to address the social mobility challenge.
We help young people achieve their career potential by providing an intensive programme of support that addresses socio-economic barriers to employment.
We also work to influence the hiring behaviours of top organisations so that a commitment to equal opportunity permeates their organisational culture and they recognise the social and economic value of greater diversity within their workforce.
Founded in 2012, upReach began by supporting an initial cohort of 39 Associates. Following steady growth, in 2019/20 we have worked with over 1,800 students, putting us well on our way to achieving our target of working with 2,500 students by 2022. Our leading technology platform helps us measure impact in real time. Our Impact Report outlines how we use outcome and output data to evaluate the success of our programmes.
Today, 1,859 undergraduates, from 72 Universities, are being supported by 24 upReach Programme Coordinators and 503 Mentors from our 34 Partner Employers. Since being founded in 2013, 3,032 Associates from disadvantaged backgrounds have taken part in upReach's intensive programmes of careers support, securing jobs at 74 of the Times Top 100 Employers.
2020 Charity Governance Awards – Embracing Digital
In May 2020, upReach was announced as the winner of the “Embracing Digital” Charity Governance Award.The full shortlist included 21 UK charities engaged in a diverse range of activities such as health care, support for victims of domestic abuse, and education access for those experiencing disadvantage.
upReach was selected because “Our judges were impressed with the way digital has been embraced by the board, and utilised to improve internal practices as well…The use of digital to capture, monitor and evaluate impact was of particular note.” Find out more here.
John Craven, Chief Executive of upReach, said: “We are thrilled to win this award in recognition of how we put digital at the heart of everything we do. Over the last four years, we have built a range of innovative platforms and tools that facilitate the support we provide to students, and measure our impact in real-time, ensuring effective governance. It is fantastic to see how effective the tools we have built are in facilitating Trustee collaboration, and more recently in delivering the highest quality of support to upReach Associates during the Covid-19 crisis.”
Edward Astle, upReach Chair of Trustees said: “upReach’s digital approach to working with young people and with the Board is truly remarkable. Innovative digital tools, such as the digital “Trustee dashboard” which shows live data on the charity’s activities and progress towards targets, help us within the Board to make informed strategic plans and decisions. It is a privilege to lead the Board, working closely with the upReach team to ensure the charity continues to maximise its impact in the years to come.”
2019 Charity of the Year
In October 2019, upReach won the Charity of the Year Award at the 2019 Charity Times Awards, in the under £1m income category. The Award was in recognition of a tremendous year that included growing the impact we are having boosting social mobility, launching the Student Social Mobility Awards, our successful Future Charity Leaders Programme, and sector-leading technology. Find out more here.
FSI Small Charity Big Impact Award – Highly Commended
In July 2019, in recognition of the growing impact that upReach is having, the charity was "Highly Commended" at the FSI Small Charity Big Impact Awards in our income category.
John has been actively involved in social mobility since founding the successful Cambridge University Shadowing Scheme in 1999. Since joining as CEO in January 2016, upReach has tripled in size, providing a more personalised, comprehensive and impactful programme of support to students in close partnership with employers, universities and the third sector. Prior to joining upReach, he spent 11 years in investment banking, and as a Lead Practitioner, taught Maths and Economics in state and independent schools. A charity trustee for seven years, John likes skiing, marathons, coffee and red wine.
Stephanie joined upReach after working in the Corporate world as a tax director for 25yrs. She wanted to join upReach so she could share insights she gained while developing her own career with Associates as they are launching their careers. After joining upReach in the first FCLP cohort in 2016, she now leads the delivery team to ensure we meet our commitments to our Associates and Partners as the Head of Programmes and Impact.
Hannah is the Sector Programmes and Mentoring Manager. She joined upReach because she wants to help students reach their full potential, and ensure that no one feels their background can stop them from achieving their career goals. Her favourite things are tea, cake, and history.
Liam is coordinating the upReach University Societies. He joined upReach because he is passionate about bridging the attainment gap in graduate employment for students from different backgrounds. In his spare time, Liam enjoys football, travelling and cycling everywhere he can.
Olivia is our Fundraising Manager, and coordinates the Rise London programme in partnership with John Lyon’s Charity. After working to help prepare sixth formers for the transition to university, she was attracted to upReach’s focus on the transition which follows, between university and employment. Olivia enjoys travelling and has researched primates in various rainforests in the tropics.
Gavin is responsible for all things finance-related at upReach. Before making a career shift into the Third Sector and re-training as a Management Accountant, he co-founded and ran a niche recruitment business for over 10 years. Prior to joining upReach, Gavin worked as Finance and Administration Manager for a leading Arts Charity in East London. When not staring at various spreadsheets, he enjoys theatre and quality box-sets.
Emily joined upReach as she is motivated to help individuals realise their full potential regardless of where they grew up. She has field experience of teaching, development and leadership across a variety of continents. Her interests include travel, culture, outdoors and adventure. So far Emily has been to 33 countries… and counting!
Throughout his time at university David helped sixth form students from less-privileged backgrounds overcome the many barriers to university. He came to realise that it was these students that needed extra support during the transition which follows university, into employment. This is why he joined upReach. David has a strong interest in history and enjoys playing any sport that is thrown his way.
Lee is responsible for running three of upReach’s “Career Springboard” programmes. He oversees the support we offer to students pursuing a career in Law, Technology and Investment Management. Lee joined upReach because he is passionate about helping students access jobs they previously wouldn’t have imagined, and giving them the extra boost they need to reach their potential.
Jamie joined upReach in September 2020 after spending three years at Cancer Research UK where he joined as a Graduate Trainee before becoming an Executive Project Manager. Previously, Jamie worked for the National Citizens Service, mentoring 15-17 year olds in central London and interned at Citizens UK, where he worked on fair pay and employability campaigns. He is passionate about empowering young people and giving them the best possible shot at success. He is a huge NFL fan with a love for music.
Having been an upReach associate at the University of Exeter, Niamh was very keen to join upReach to be part of their ambitious vision to facilitate equal access to opportunities and to work with a diverse and interesting group of Associates. Before joining upReach she studied Middle East Studies and taught English to children and university students abroad.
Andy joined upReach because he is passionate about ensuring that all students have the knowledge needed to access opportunities that will allow them to develop the skills to go on to access top graduate jobs. His role is to support a new cohort of aspiring law professionals in doing exactly that. In his spare time, he likes to read, spend time in the great outdoors and travel overseas.
Yolanda joined upReach because of her passion for contributing to social change and mentoring young people from under-represented communities. Before completing her Masters in African Studies at the University of Oxford, Yolanda was a member of the Executive Team for the Patchwork Foundation Masterclass Programme, further propelling her to pursue a career whereby she can have a positive social impact. Yolanda enjoys museums and anything to do with colonial history.
Liz joined upReach because she is passionate about improving social mobility across the UK. Before starting with upReach, Liz worked and volunteered in a number of charities where she developed her motivation for social change. In her spare time Liz likes to be spontaneous, trying new activities whenever she gets chance!
Tabitha is our Programme Leader for Exploring and Coaching, and organiser of the 2019 Student Social Mobility Awards. After working as a Sutton Scholars Mentor and President of Sexpression Warwick while at university, she was keen to further develop her knowledge of the charity sector. upReach’s ambitious Theory of Change and ever-growing impact on social mobility issues further drew her to the role. Tabitha enjoys collecting houseplants, listening to all sorts of podcasts and eating vegan treats!
Alex joined the upReach Manchester office after graduating from the University of Cambridge with a determination to help tackle social and educational inequality. Prior to receiving her English degree, Alex was extensively involved in her college and wider university access work.
As the first person in her family to go to university and a former pupil of a state comprehensive school in Greater Manchester, she understands that social mobility issues do not end once graduation is over. She is passionate about helping Associates realise their brilliance and potential.
She can be found with either a coffee, book or online shopping order in her hand.
Mabel joined upReach as she is passionate about dismantling systemic oppression and inequality. In her spare time, Mabel enjoys true crime documentaries and is a regular attendee at her weekly pub quiz. She can often be found sporting out-there nail designs and adores all things animal print.
During her time at university, Anna worked with school students from less privileged backgrounds to gain the skills needed to attend university. She joined upReach as a Programme Coordinator to help students with the next step of gaining access to top graduate jobs. In her free time she enjoys cooking, exploring London by bus and finding bargains in charity shops.
Liberty first heard about upReach through her shortlisted nomination at the 2018 Student Social Mobility Awards for her voluntary work at university. She is very excited to join upReach to be part of a team that is enthusiastic to help improve social mobility and support a wide inspiring cohort of students. In her spare time Liberty likes reading about world politics, being near the sea and travelling!
Jacque is a programme coordinator, is passionate about social mobility and has previously worked on increasing access to higher education in Devon. In his free time Jacque enjoys playing the guitar, and ukulele and likes to play instrumental music and the occasional jazz standard. Jacque likes hikes in the countryside and listening to live music.
Sarah is a Programme Leader at upReach. Originally from Liverpool, she graduated from Royal Holloway with BA Modern History and Politics. She then went on to study Economic History MSc at the London School of Economics and is passionate about the reduction of inequality in society. In her free time she enjoys cooking and spending time with her dog, Charlie.
Iria joined upReach with the drive and passion to help students from different backgrounds prepare and develop the skills to access top graduate jobs. Prior to working here Iria graduated in Politics and Latin American Studies from the College of William and Mary in the US. In her spare time, Iria enjoys reading and cooking, and especially loves knitting in the winter.
Dulcie joined upReach as she wanted to work in an organisation that made a signifiant difference to students’ lives, and aims to make a real change in the Higher Education sector. After applying to University through a scheme called Access to Leeds, and understanding the challenges of adapting to University and the transitions that follow, Dulcie is passionate about ensuring that access to graduate employment is inclusive and accessible, and wants to ensure that all students are given equal opportunities. Her main interests are cooking, travelling, and learning about different cultures.
After graduating with a degree in Psychology from the University of Bath, Laura joined upReach as a Programme Coordinator. She believes passionately that everyone should have access to the careers they want. She is excited to be able to help students from less-advantaged backgrounds overcome graduate employment barriers and achieve their full potential. Outside of work, Laura enjoys spending time with her two dogs, watching stand-up comedy and live music.
Aishah is a recent History graduate with an interest in education, international development, and increasing social mobility for marginalized groups. During her studies she worked in widening participation to help students gain insight into university life, build their confidence, and help them realise their potential. As an upReach alumni she learned firsthand about the incredible opportunities for growth provided by upReach to eligible students. She now hopes to provide the same invaluable support to current Associates. Aishah can be found with her head in a good book, making art, or watching history documentaries.
Sophie joined the FCLP after studying PPE at the University of Leeds. She joined upReach because she is passionate about combating social and economic inequality. Outside of work, Sophie can be found painting or in the park reading, weather permitting.
Dan is a recent Philosophy graduate from the University of Exeter. Having been an Associate, and a mature student, he is aware of how valuable upReach’s work is. He has a passion for social mobility and mental health and is excited to make a positive change in the world. Outside of work, Dan can be found travelling, gaming or hanging out with his two pugs, Alfie and Beau.
Ella joined upReach as a Programme Coordinator after studying Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. While at university, she volunteered as an access mentor, supporting offer-holders from less advantaged backgrounds during their process of revising for A levels, meeting their offer and preparing for university life. She is excited to continue the vital mission of reducing socioeconomic inequalities while working with upReach. In her spare time, Ella loves cooking, hiking and trips to the beach.
Sam recently completed an MSc in Human Resource Management at the University of Salford and has worked in diversity and inclusion in Higher Education before joining upReach. Sam has also worked with local charities and social enterprises, and is passionate about helping people to reach their full potential.
Edward is currently Chair of the Board of Governors at the University of Manchester and a non-executive director of Openreach Ltd. Much of his earlier career was in the telecoms and utilities sectors, where he was successively a main board director of Cable and Wireless, BICC and National Grid. From 2008 to 2013 he was Pro-Rector Enterprise at Imperial College London. As a non-executive, he has served on the board of Intertek Plc and on BT’s Equality of Access Board, and has been deputy chair of Engie UK’s Advisory Board and of the prisoner reading charity Shannon Trust.
Graeme is an international leader & researcher in the field of access and diversity in higher education. Graeme founded and leads both AccessHE and the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON). He holds Visiting Professorships at London Metropolitan University, Amity Business School and Sunway University, Kuala Lumpur. He also wrote ‘Charting Equity: Drawing the Global Access Map’ and ‘Access to Higher Education: Understanding Global Inequalities’.
Azhar studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Exeter. Having recently graduated, he is working as a Management consultant and served as a Trustee at the University of Exeter Student’s Guild.
Tim is a senior associate in the Financial Regulation team at Slaughter and May, where he has been since he started his legal career a decade ago. He has a particular interest in FinTech and the use cases for AI in financial services and is a regular blogger on the topics. Outside of work, Tim has considerable experience volunteering for various social mobility enterprises, principally as a mentor.
Katy is the Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Bank of America, covering Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region within the EMEA Talent function. She leads a team in creating and leading on the organisations diversity and inclusion strategy, including partnering with HR partners to embed diversity and inclusion practice into our business and people strategies, oversight of our Employee Networks and partnering with external organisations in order to maximize our diversity and inclusion efforts.
Al is an experienced Financial and Operational Turnaround Executive, currently working in McKinsey’s Restructuring Team. Before joining McKinsey, Al qualified as a Chartered Accountant with PwC in their Restructuring Team where he spent 14 years working on assignments based out of London, New York, Zurich and Paris.
Alex is currently working as an associate at AllianceBernstein in Fixed Income. Prior to this he completed placements in Corporate Finance and Private Banking. He holds an MSc in Economic History from The London School of Economics.
Valentina works as Assistant Project Manager at Lendlease. Prior to this, she completed a BA in English Language and Communication at Kings College London where she also worked as a Research Assistant. Her first published article, ‘UK higher education institutions’ technology-enhanced learning strategies from the perspective of disruptive innovation’, was published by the Research in Learning Technology and the Distance Education in China academic journals.
Owain is the former Managing Director and Co-Founder of the Behavioural Insights Team. Currently, Owain is enjoying a few months of parental leave.
Associate at Mishcon de Reya LLP, Founder & CEO of The Student Development Co., Founder & CEO of Career Ear.
Dr. Louise Ashley specialises in researching diversity and inclusion across leading professions. In 2015 and 2016, she led the teams appointed by the government’s Social Mobility Commission to identify and understand barriers to the elite professions on the basis of socio-economic background.
Dinti began her career as an international lawyer at Linklaters and FremantleMedia, gaining an MBA at INSEAD. Politically active for over a decade as a policy-maker and campaigner, she is also a trustee of the Fawcett Society and board member of the Arnold Foundation.
Phillip is a Distinguished Research Professor in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University, having previously worked at the University of Cambridge and University of Kent at Canterbury. He is widely recognised for his international work on education, employability and labour markets. He is currently studying talent management, corporate change and the future of work.
Julia currently works at Mercer as an HR Business partner within the HR Regional Leadership team focusing on Europe. Previously she managed the sourcing, selection and screening of candidates for junior positions in a dynamic management consultancy. Strongly committed to diversity and inclusion, she was involved in setting up D&I initiatives for the London office and led the partnership with upReach.
Nick works within the Clara Analytics Team at KPMG. He was previously in Graduate Recruitment and Outreach at KPMG. In 2015, Nick created and delivered Professional Experience Programmes for students across the UK as well as attending policy discussions and debates around social mobility, barriers to work and higher education.
Kate is VP, Head of Talent Marketing at Bank of America. She has been with the bank for 9 years, across a variety of Junior Talent and Employment Brand roles in Hong Kong and London. She partners with the banks Diversity & Inclusion team on key initiatives.
Deborah was part of the founding team at upReach, where she worked for almost four years in a number of different roles including leading the first Associate programmes. She is currently a diversity recruiter at McKinsey & Company.
Kate has over 20 years’ experience working as a careers Consultant/Coach and is passionate about supporting individuals to fulfil their career potential. Based for the last 10 years in the Higher Education sector with a particular focus on widening participation, she is now working at the University of Exeter.
Rachel is the Resourcing Lead for Aviva in the UK. She has worked at Aviva for 17 years in a variety of HR roles across talent, recruitment and business partnering. Prior to joining Aviva Rachel worked for over 10 years at British Airways Holidays in Customer Service management roles. Rachel is passionate about helping to unlock opportunities for people, at all career stages, to enable them to do the best work of their lives.
Richard Kennett is the Director of UK Student Recruitment and Outreach at the University of Southampton. He chairs the Southern Universities Network Management Group that contains the six Hampshire and Dorset universities working together on the National Collaborative Outreach Programme. Previously he chaired the Russell Group Widening Participation Association.
Michael LeoValan is the co-founder and CTO of JMAN Group. Leo is passionate about technology, with over 25 years of deep technical background and multiple leadership roles in Silicon Valley, CA and in India. He advises product startups and large corporations on digital transformation and data strategies. His belief in equal opportunity for different social classes has brought him closer to upReach.
Tania is Career Mentoring Manager and Doctoral Researcher at the University of Reading. Her research focuses on the impact of social diversity on the success of career mentoring partnerships in Higher Education. Tania also has experience of graduate recruitment for PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Emma Moore is the Head of Careers & Employability at the University of Liverpool. She chairs the AGCAS Employer Engagement Task Group sharing best practice around university and employer engagement nationally. Emma is also a member of the AGR Policy Group.
Reggie Nelson is a Graduate Analyst at Legal and General Investment Management; is currently the Group Chair for ACCA Emerging Talent Advisory Group, and has previously worked with the Cabinet Office and Downing St to help tackle ethnic and social disparities
Emma is a CSR professional with over 20 years experience, managing Allen & Overy’s educational programmes with a particular focus on social mobility. Emma has a been a Trustee of the London Legal Support Trust since 2011 and in her previous role managed the firm’s pro bono legal advice clinic work.
Sarah led City Gateway’s corporate partnerships team and oversaw the creation of over 1000 jobs for disadvantaged young people. Today she is responsible for Development and Communications at Greenhouse Sports. She is also Chair of youth charity TwentyTwenty.
Phil is the Chief Psychologist and Chief Assessor of the Civil Service Fast Stream, focusing on assessment design and diversity initiatives. Prior to this, he was Head of Occupational Psychology at the London Fire Brigade and Acting Head of Occupational Psychology for Greater Manchester Police.
Helena Kennedy QC is one of the United Kingdom's most distinguished lawyers. She has practised at the Bar for 40 years in the field of criminal law and has conducted many of the leading cases in those years, including the Balcombe Street Siege, the Brighton bombing trial, the Guildford Four Appeal, the Michael Bettany Espionage case, the Jihadist Fertiliser Bomb Plot, and the Transatlantic Bomb Plot. She has championed law reform for women, especially relating to sexual and domestic violence and developed the defence of Battered Women's syndrome in the British courts. She was also the leading voice for equal opportunities in the legal profession for women. She authored a number of books on law reform, co-wrote the successful television series Blind Justice and became a well known broadcaster on law and ethics during the eighties, presenting the BBC's Heart of the Matter. She has chaired the British Council and the UK Human Genetics Commission. She has been a member of the House of Lords for 18 years, where she sat on the Joint Committee of Human Rights, and is now chair of the European Union Sub Committee on Law. She is chair of Justice and co-chair of the International Bar Association's Institute of Human Rights. She has received 39 honorary doctorates, is an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She has also been honoured by the Governments of France and Italy.
Development Advisory Board
The upReach Development Advisory Board was established in 2018 to enable individuals to support our mission to boost social mobility in the UK. We are very grateful for the investment that these individuals have made which has enabled upReach to accelerate our growth. Through their support, upReach were able to open a new office in Manchester in September 2018, allowing us to support more students from the North of England. Each board member is invited to help us develop our long term strategy, and commit to making an annual contribution to the Charity for at least two years.
- Anush Newman, Managing Partner, JMAN Group
- Brian Gilvary, CFO, BP plc
- Ed Shuckburgh, Director, Montagu
- Jennifer Chamandi Boghossian, Luxury Footwear Designer and ex-Banker
If you are interested in finding out more about how you can help accelerate upReach’s growth, please contact the Chief Executive directly by emailing email@example.com