If you complete any programme with the Sutton Trust (online or in person) you become part of our alumni community – and can benefit from a range of support to help you start your career. Hear from Sutton Trust alum Daniel reflecting on our new careers offering and how it can help you, whether you’re an existing alum or take part in one of our programmes in the future.
When I applied to the Sutton Trust Summer School programme at the end of 2018, I expected a fun week away to learn more about the subject I loved and that to be the end of it. But there’s so much more that awaits Sutton Trust Alumni in the online community, and over the last year there have been a number of developments in the careers offering of the Trust.
In 2021 when I joined the Alumni Leadership Board I was keen to support this offering as there are not just barriers to young people going to the universities of their dreams, but also for jobs. Through webinars and the career programme, I have felt better equipped for the world of work and become more aware of the range of opportunities available. Here’s what awaits you on the online portal:
The Careers programme walks its way from exploring different skills and sectors to how to apply to jobs and interviews or opportunities for future study.
The modules are each only 10-15 minutes making them easy to read, and you can work through them at your own pace; give them a look as you progress towards a job, or work through all of the programme in a few sittings so you know what to expect holistically. It will only take a few hours, but is an easy way to gain an understanding of the process for those applying for their first job or who want a refresher before re-entering the job application pool.
This is also complemented by further resources on the ‘Browse’ page – from sector spotlights such as finance, engineering or consulting, to short articles and videos on discovering your career path, to how to negotiate. This allows you to dip in and out as you need, so learning about careers doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
I particularly like this modular approach as it allows you to set realistic goals each time you log –on, and is a resource you can refer back to time and time again. These resources will only continue to be built out over time, so do check in.
In July the Sutton Trust launched their in-person careers offering with an insight evening at Goldman Sachs, all members of the panel having been on a Sutton Trust programme or other access programmes when they were younger.
At the Alumni Leadership Board we discussed the value of in-person events in bringing people together and developing networking skills, as well as allowing the community to form stronger connections. We are particularly lucky the Trust is financially able to support the travel of those within a few hours of where the event is taking place, allowing alumni of the Trust to access some of the country’s leading employers without the financial burden it can place on individuals.
There will be a range of careers events running in the autumn across the UK, which you can explore here.
You can also find a range of recorded webinars on the ‘Events’ page, from ‘Insight into the Public Sector’ to working in start-ups and tips for applying to postgraduate courses.
A particular webinar I really enjoyed was the ‘Ask an MP – Alum Edition’, where we got to hear from Laura Trott and Wes Streeting, the two sitting MPs who were on Sutton Trust programmes. It was insightful to hear about their experiences, and particularly inspiring to see individuals who only twenty years ago who had been on the programme going on to serve in some of the most important roles in the country.
The ‘Opportunities’ tab’ lists internship, job and volunteering opportunities, from internships which are ringfenced for Sutton Trust alumni, to taster programmes and graduate schemes at top employers .
Through the Trust you can also get free membership to Tortoise Media, giving you access to podcasts and newsletters to stay up-to-date with current affairs, or opportunities to volunteer with the Trust or to volunteer as a school governor.
A particular opportunity I want to spotlight is Connect Hive, which offers free mentoring to Sutton Trust alums. In my case, I have been matched with a mentor in my target sector and we have been working together over the past year from reviewing my CV and writing cover letters to preparing for interviews and developing my commercial awareness. Don’t underestimate the power of mentoring and personalised support – mentors can support you to achieve your goals one step at a time, and share insights with you that you potentially wouldn’t find anywhere else.
The Sutton Trust Careers programme is continuing to develop, but already there is so much to take advantage of. If you haven’t already, take a look and see how the Trust could help you to achieve your career goal.
Daniel Dipper is an alumni of the Durham Summer School 2019 and a former member of our Alumni Leadership Board (2021-23).