upReach and the Diversity Project launch programme to boost social mobility in the Investment and Savings Industry

The social mobility charity, upReach, has launched a new programme, in partnership with the Diversity Project, to improve access to the investment and savings industry for UK undergraduates from less-advantaged backgrounds. It is clear there is a need for greater social mobility in the UK, with people from better-off backgrounds still more likely to find their way into a professional job than working class peers¹.

The programme, called the ‘Investment Industry Springboard’, is designed to support UK undergraduates from a wider range of backgrounds build their professional networks and secure internships and graduate jobs in investment and savings. 

Participants on the programme will be matched with a mentor working in the sector to receive one-to-one professional support. Work experience opportunities will also be provided with accommodation and travel expenses covered to make the programme accessible to students from all over the UK. 

Shruti Khandekar, Early Career Workstream Lead at the Diversity Project and Credit Analyst at HSBC Global Asset Management said:
“When I was at university, a scheme like this would have been invaluable to me. Without having any industry exposure, I struggled to understand the breadth of opportunities available and how they fitted together, or how best to navigate the assessment process.

Our hope is that initiatives like the Springboard will help change this for other students thus attracting a broader talent pool to the industry. By levelling the playing field for early career roles, we can begin to change the industry’s profile to better reflect both society and our clients.”

John Craven, CEO of upReach:
“We are delighted to launch the new Investment Industry Springboard programme, which will see 100 upReach Associates from less-advantaged backgrounds having access to exclusive events, and receiving mentoring from professionals from Diversity Project member firms.

Students from less-advantaged backgrounds often face unique challenges when seeking graduate-level roles, including lacking professional networks to learn about careers or access work experience opportunities. We know career mentors are a vital way of addressing this challenge, and are thrilled to be partnering with the Diversity Project to help level the playing field, and build a society where everyone has an equal opportunity to realise their career potential.”

Students will also benefit from access to upReach’s platform that last year supported over 1,300 undergraduates with personalised support combined with access to exclusive opportunities, online video forums and employer events.

It follows the ongoing success of upReach’s ‘Banking and Finance Springboard’, launched in 2017 in partnership with the Bank of America Foundation, from which 58 of 89 students (65%) have already secured a career opportunity in the sector. 

The Springboard builds on the investment industry’s commitment to accelerate progress towards an inclusive culture in the sector, with current Diversity Project initiatives including #TalkAboutBlack, designed to increase black representation, and the Investment Association’s Investment20/20 programme, all of which work towards a common goal of ensuring a pipeline of future talent.


Notes to editors

  1. The Social Mobility Commission found in its 2019 State of the Nation report that people from better-off backgrounds are still 80% more likely to find their way into a professional job than working class peers.

Contact details

John Craven | Chief Executive, upReach

Tel No: 07971 274469               Email: john.craven@upreach.org.uk

About upReach

upReach is an award-winning social mobility charity supporting less-advantaged undergraduates to secure top jobs. Currently supporting over 1,300 students, upReach deliver a comprehensive programme of professional development, through partnerships with top employers and universities. upReach won the Charity of the Year Award (income < £1m) in the prestigious Charity Times Awards in October 2019.
Learn more at www.upreach.org.uk

The Diversity Project 

In early 2016, a group of leaders in the investment and savings profession decided to take action to accelerate progress towards an inclusive culture within our industry. We recognise that future success – for our clients, members, employers and shareholders – requires an inclusive culture.

The purpose of the Diversity Project is to accelerate progress towards an inclusive culture in the investment profession. An inclusive culture across all levels supports more effective teamwork, gives wider perspectives, better investment decisions, better results for our clients and ultimately more sustainable businesses.  The Project spans the whole range of the profession: asset owners, fund managers, fund selectors, pension consultants, actuaries, trustees, wealth managers and the professional standards and trade bodies.
Learn more at https://diversityproject.com

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