upReach helps disadvantaged students from across the UK realise their potential by investing in pioneering technology to facilitate, deliver and evaluate highly personalised programmes of support. Through successful partnerships with top employers and universities, we offer students access to a comprehensive range of opportunities and activities to broaden their horizons, understand career pathways and develop the skills, networks and experiences needed for professional success. We also collaborate closely with other charities in our sector to expand the support offered and maximise our joint impact.
of our 2018 graduates were in highly skilled employment or further study 15 months after graduation.
first-year students who are part of our programme have 3.2 times the average employability skill progression.
median salary of our 2018 graduates who secured highly skilled employment, £4,000 higher than the average university graduate.
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.
Socioeconomic 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 addressing this social mobility challenge.
We help young people achieve their career potential by providing an intensive programme of support that addresses socioeconomic 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 with an initial cohort of 39 students, upReach has grown to support over 2,000 students today. Our 2022 Strategic Plan envisages further growth to 2,500 within the next year. Our intensive programmes of career support involve 14 different interventions, such as skills workshops, mock interviews, mentoring and career courses. They have helped students broaden their career horizons, and develop the skills, networks and work experience to secure offers from 74 of the Times Top 100 Employers.
Why is this important?
Social mobility is a big problem in the UK and the top professions continue to be dominated by those who went to private schools. More students than ever from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds attend university but this has not translated to increased income or enrolment in competitive graduate programmes at leading firms. This is the most significant driver of inequality in society.
- Non-selective state schools educate 89% of the population, yet account for only 30% of those on some graduate schemes - Dr. Louise Ashley
- Graduates from lower income households earn 10% less than others studying the same course at the same university - IFS
- 74% of judges, 71% of barristers, 51% of journalists went to private schools, which educates only 7% of the population - Sutton Trust
Finalist: Third Sector Awards 2021
In July 2021, our work designing and developing the Social Mobility Network was shortlisted in the "Breakthrough of the Year" category at the prestigious Third Sector Awards.
Finalist: Charity Times Awards 2021
This year, we were proud to be shortlisted in three categories at the Charity Times Awards: "Corporate National Partnership of the Year with a Financial Institution" for our work with Bank of America, "Corporate National Partnership Champion" for our collaboration with Slaughter and May, and "Best Use of Technology" for our development of the Social Mobility Network and our new Alumni platform.
Finalist: ISE Awards 2021
This year, we have been shortlisted for an Institute of Student Employers Award for "Outstanding University Partnership with an Employer and/or Supplier", alongside our partner the University of Exeter.
Winner: Charity Governance Awards 2020 – 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
Winner: Charity Times Awards 2019 - Charity of the Year
In October 2019, upReach won the Charity of the Year Award at the Charity Times Awards, in the under £1m income category. The Award was in recognition of boosting social mobility, launching the Student Social Mobility Awards, our successful Future Charity Leaders Programme and sector-leading technology.
Highly Commended: FSI Small Charity Big Impact Award 2019
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.