Ellie Decamp on the socially mobile Sutton Trust alumni who are bucking the trends.
An MP, a barrister and a physician walked into a bar and…discovered they had all been on a Sutton Trust programme.
I like bragging about our alumni. There are 25,000 of them now, and with 4,500 young people joining a Sutton Trust programme each year it’s a sizeable and rapidly expanding group.
We launched a Sutton Trust alumni network six months ago and already 1,700 individuals have joined. Of those we’ve reached on email so far 1 in 4 signed up – a great response by any standards, but especially so with the growing popularity of these networks in schools, universities and the workplace putting pressure on people to decide where they really want to maintain affiliations.
Our alumni repeatedly tell us that it was the Sutton Trust programme they attended that changed their life.
There’s plenty for us to do to build this network and to keep our alumni engaged – they are our future and they can help us to support future generations. One of the things we’re doing in this our 20th anniversary year is impact analysis to get a better understanding of what our alumni have gone on to achieve. I suspect there’ll be yet more encouraging figures that we can quote.
Nice hefty stats are all well and good. But there’s much more than numbers in the mix here. There are truly amazing stories of those who have broken the class ceiling.
I’ve been looking through a list of individuals who went on a Sutton Trust programme many years ago and are now becoming established in their careers.
There is an impressive group of lawyers and medics; there are a few who have committed to public office in political roles; there are academics pioneering research in planetary sciences, astrophysics and the humanities; there are teachers inspiring the next generation; and there are those carving out competitive careers in hedge funds, asset management and management consultancy… as you can imagine the list goes on.
What’s more, we’re now seeing the generosity of our alumni who want to support others ‘like them’ – those from schools with low progression to higher education and homes where nobody before has gone to university, where there is low household income and where there is no access to ‘useful contacts’ in the professions.
I want to pay tribute in particular to three of our alumni who have joined the Sutton Trust Fellowship – Dan, Lindsey and James – who not only are giving their time but have all become major donors to the Trust.
The Sutton Trust famously publishes research on the educational backgrounds of ‘Leading People’. While we know that there is no quick fix to the entrenched problems of access to the top professions, we can be sure that our alumni are bucking the trends. (And my opening line was no joke.)
With thanks to Bain Consultants, Oliver Wyman and our alumni committee chaired by Justin Bull for everything they’re doing to help us reconnect and stay in touch with thousands of people we’ve supported.