IFS report shows that getting more students from low income backgrounds into university is not enough to solve the UK’s social mobility issue,

The head of a charity that helps graduates from poorer backgrounds to get well-paid jobs has today called for the Government and the HE sector to support students to get more out of their degrees.

The Chief Executive of upReach has made the call in response to research published today by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) which shows that social background influences long term graduate earnings regardless of where they studied or the degree they have been awarded.

John Craven, Chief Executive at upReach, said:

“The debate about social mobility has focused almost exclusively on how to get people from poorer backgrounds into university. This has to change. We need to start paying much more attention to how students can be supported not only to get a degree, but to develop the social and cultural capital that will enable them to succeed in the longer term in the labour market.”

“The IFS report proves that having a good degree from a highly regarded university is not enough when it comes to getting a top job and having a successful career. Graduates from less-privileged backgrounds face a real disadvantage in the graduate labour market. They often lack the sources of support and advice to get through tough recruitment processes, and they don’t have the networks that often help more well-heeled peers succeed throughout their careers. upReach tackles this disadvantage by partnering with universities and major recruiters to support less-privileged students in developing the skills required to secure top graduate jobs, but we can only do so much. With the Office for Fair Access likely to soon be merged into a new Office for Students, the Government has an ideal opportunity to review social mobility targets in HE. It should take this opportunity to ensure that support exists not only to get poorer students into university, but that their time studying leads to long term career success.”

Notes to editors:

upReach works with some of the UK’s most prestigious universities, including the University of Liverpool, the University of Exeter and King’s College, London, as well as major graduate recruiters like KPMG, McKinsey and Company and Deloitte. They run a tailored programme of support for students from poorer backgrounds, broadening their career knowledge, raising their aspirations and developing their social and cultural capital. Through skills workshops, video forums, CV clinics and mock interviews, upReach help students develop the soft skills that will help them succeed in a competitive labour market.

Download the press release here.

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