Claire Maton, our Head of Employability Programmes, explains how we’re expanding our employability programmes to champion social mobility as young people enter the workplace.

Our research has continuously highlighted that access to competitive careers is not a level playing field. Those in Britain’s top jobs are five times more likely to have attended a private school than the general population, and workers from middle-class backgrounds in leading professions are estimated to earn 16% more than those from working-class backgrounds, even in the same type of jobs.1 We’ve also found that social mobility is less of a focus for employers outside of London 

So what are we doing about this? 

For some time, we’ve been working to improve access to the workplace through our research and policy advocacy, through our suite of university-based Pathways programmes, and by highlighting degree-level apprenticeships as an alternate route into employment. Now, we’re delighted to announce that our employability provision will be expanding through two new programmes: Sutton Trust Careers and Pathways Online.  

Sutton Trust Careers is a self-directed learning experience open to all Sutton Trust Alumni. It stems from our alums’ appetite for further provision beyond their programmes, which typically finish aged 18. Alums will gain employability support through sector insight sessions with leading figures across a range of industries, and through webinars and interactive workshops focussing on key skills such as application-writing and interview technique. They’ll also have access to a library of personalised employability content curated on our Sutton Trust Alumni online platform. Additionally, through Sutton Trust Careers Plus, alums can take part in work experience and mentoring in hard-to-access industries. 

Meanwhile, Pathways Online will build on the successes of our existing Pathways programmes by giving 150-200 students aged 16-18 the opportunity to explore careers in consulting, law, and banking & finance. The fully virtual two-year programme will provide sector-specific skills, networking opportunities with professionals, and allow young people to meet like-minded students from across the UK through live interactive sessions, digital placements, and insight weeks.  

By running both programmes digitally, they are designed to be more accessible to a wider pool of students. Virtual delivery not only addresses the regional disparities in access to opportunities; it also better suits some students, for example those with caring responsibilities, and can reach young people at a greater scale than face-to-face provision. With these new programmes, students will be able to take part in activities targeted to their needs regardless of location or other commitments. 

We are grateful to Bloomberg LP for partnering with us to create the Sutton Trust Online platform, our hub for all digital programme activity. We are also grateful to Livingbridge and NatWest for funding our post-18 and alumni employability work, the Infrastructure Industry Foundation for their funding for Pathways Online, as well as all our other funders and supporters.  

If you or a young person you know would be interested taking part in these programmes, learn more about Sutton Trust Careers or apply to Pathways Online. To learn out more about all our post-18 provision and the research behind it, come along to our Sutton Trust Employability Expansion webinar (see zoom link) which is taking place at 11.30am on the 26th October. And if you are an employer interested in learning more about what you can do to champion social mobility in your workplace, download our Employer’s Guide. 


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