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Project information

Aspiring Professionals Programme

Helping to improve social mobility by aiding young people from low income backgrounds to enter higher education and employment. Providing programmes of mentoring, work experience, university application support and skills workshops through their sixth-form and university years

We take on a new cohort every year

Charity information: The Social Mobility Foundation

The Social Mobility Foundation logo
  • Need


    Too often who you know or who your parents are is more important than what you know or how good you are. A low ability child from a wealthy family is 35% more likely to become a high earner than a high ability child from a poor family. Just 7% of children attend private school, yet anywhere up to 70%+ of people in certain professions are privately educated.


    By levelling the playing field for young people from less advantaged backgrounds: working with them for 5-6 years and giving them work experience they can't get through personal connections; a mentor so they know someone who works where they want to; taking them on trips to universities and helping them to apply; running a range of career and skills workshops to give them knowledge about their chosen field and the skills to get there.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Improve the confidence, aspirations and knowledge of young people.


    » Run a range of career and skills workshops throughout the year.

    What success will look like

    With pre and post questionnaires assessing levels of confidence, aspirations and knowledge to show the rate of change.

    Aim 2

    Improve the ability of the young people to make competitive applications to university.


    » Run a range of university trips and workshops on personal statements, tests and interviews.

    What success will look like

    By recording where the young people receive and take up university offers as well as through pre and post questionnaires on our trips and workshops.

    Aim 3

    Improve the ability of the young people make competitive applications to employers.


    » Secure a range of work placement and internship opportunities and deliver workshops to let the young people practice interviews and assessments.

    What success will look like

    By recording the formal internship and graduate job offers received by candidates as well as pre and post questionnaires.

  • Impact


    An improvement in the life chances of the young people on the Programme, who are mostly eligible for Free School Meals. We know from extensive evaluation - including by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, which found we increase the likelihood of going to one of the universities most visited by top employers by up to 43% - that our model is successful. We will use our evaluation framework (including our Managing My Future competency Framework) to show we've achieved our aims for the participants.


    Our biggest risks are in not getting enough young people or employers to engage with our work. We therefore have extensive promotional activities that ensure we reach young people not just through schools, but through other charities, social media, community groups, parents and other young people. Ditto we use a wide range of methods to reach professionals and employers, including by encouraging existing supporters to contact their clients.


    We have report templates for existing donors to the SMF and can use these to report to new ones as regularly as is desired.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £60,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £60,000 Per person cost £600 pp, largely staff/office/travel. We obtain mentors/placements/venues/speakers etc for free
  • Background


    We work with young people locally in Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Newcastle; for this project the 100 will be based in London. All the young people must have attended a comprehensive school from 11-16 and be either personally eligible for Free School Meals (household income £16,190) or attend a school with a significant FSM percentage and be first generation in family to be going to university.


    Young people from low-income backgrounds around the UK. Typically, two-thirds are female, two-thirds are ethnic minorities and 80%+ have parents who did not go to university.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    -99.4p in every £1 goes on charitable activities (Charity Choice)
    -The APP is free of charge and we support young people all over the UK
    -In 2017 we will run c.180 events for several thousand young people aged 16-22 who are interested in 11 career sectors
    -The size and diversity of our cohort – we take on over 1400 young people every year
    -We have been rigorously evaluated by the Institute for Fiscal Studies

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Rubeca Hussain

    Rubeca manages the APP, deciding the content of our activities and was actually an SMF participant herself in 2008!