At the Sutton Trust, our volunteers are a key part of our mission towards improving social mobility in the UK. Since the alumni engagement programme started in 2016, over 600 alumni volunteers have given their time to support all areas of the Trust’s work and are now a vital part of what we offer.

“Having the alumni voice as part of our programming and research at the Trust is vital – from helping us ensure our work stays relevant, to providing relatable insights for the young people on our programmes. A huge thank you to the 200 volunteers who’ve contributed over 700 hours to our work in the past 12 months alone.” – Nick Harrison, CEO of the Sutton Trust

Over the past year, our volunteers have hosted a variety of community meetups, from Leeds to New York. We have had alumni visit secondary schools and sixth form colleges to talk about their experiences on Sutton Trust Programmes, inspiring young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds to apply and take advantage of all the experiences and support that we offer:

“For me, even if one person got something from it, it was worth it and it was great to hear what young people think about higher education.” – Mitesh Chotai, Alumni Leadership Board

Our alumni have also been filmed as part of a new video advice series for our Sutton Trust Online platform, relaying their experiences in applying and moving away for university, and offering useful tips to younger participants who are now considering their next step into higher education. Again, Mitesh describes his involvement with the project was a result of his desire to have an impact:

“I wanted to share my story and hopefully make a difference to other young people.”

Every year, we also host our Alumni Awards evening, which highlights some of the best work our alumni are doing, at their universities or in their careers. Alumni can nominate each other for these awards to celebrate the fantastic work and achievements of our volunteers.

At the heart of our volunteer programme is our Alumni Leadership Board (ALB). These are a select group of volunteers who work with us, over a two-year term, to develop ways in which the Trust can continue to support its alumni. Their contributions include but are not limited to:

  • Chairing focus groups
  • Hosting meet-up events
  • Hosting in-person career events
  • Joining our programme advisory groups and helping shape what we offer
  • Sharing ideas and feedback with our Research Team on reports and policy recommendations

Without our ALB, we wouldn’t be able to engage with our alumni to nearly the same extent – their contributions are greatly valued by everyone at the Trust. One of our ALB members, Neil, shared this with us regarding why he chooses to volunteer his time to the work we do:

“I volunteer because opportunity isn’t spread equally. I now have the best part of a decade of international work experience, so I just wanted to be available should anyone have any interest in that field, or even if they had never thought about studying abroad give them advice. We often don’t know what opportunities there are until someone points them out to us.”

If you’ve taken part in one of our programmes and would like to volunteer, or would like to find out more about the ways in which you can support the Trust, complete our volunteer form here or reach out to the alumni team at [email protected].

Media enquiries

If you're a journalist with a question about our work, get in touch with Sam or Rocky on the number below. The number is also monitored out of hours.

E: [email protected] T: 0204 536 4642

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