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Low Socioeconomic Background

Many employers are seeking to diversify their work force and are actively seeking to recruit candidates from low socioeconomic backgrounds. There are a number of internship and graduate opportunities to help students gain experience and access to a variety of sectors.

  • 93% Club - Network of state educated university students and looks to support students getting into work as well as providing clubs/societies through Universities.
  • Aspiring Solicitors - aims to increase diversity in the legal profession through providing assistance to students from underrepresented groups.
  • Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) - SEO's Career Programme partners with 50+ firms across eight leading industries to prepare students from low socioeconomic or ethnic minority backgrounds for career success.
  • upReach - a comprehensive professional development programme for students from less advantaged backgrounds. Associates of the programme gain access to workshops, video forums and 1-1 support from a designated Programme Coordinator. The programme is tailored to meet the needs of the individual. upReach also provides exclusive opportunities for professional exposure including insight days, work experience and internships. See below for further information.
  • British Council Generation UK - Two month internships in China for students who would not normally have the means to do so.
  • Civil Service Early Diversity Internship - a one week, paid placement. Students are placed in a government department with a mentor.
  • Civil Service Summer Diversity Internship - a 6-9 week paid placement which gives people from diverse socioeconomic or ethnic backgrounds the opportunity to see what a career in the Civil Service is like.
  • Creative Access - aims to support students with a lower socioeconomic status in securing jobs and paid training opportunities in creative companies.
  • Discuss Law - training programme sponsored by five top City firms for first and second year students from lower socioeconomic status groups. Programme includes mentorship from expert coaches and sessions hosted by participating firms.
  • Government Communication Service (GCS) - 6-12 week paid internship opportunities to work with media and campaigns, strategic engagement and internal communications.
  • Inclusive Graduates - match students from low socioeconomic backgrounds with top employers.
  • Paid Internships with National Grid: Applications are open to Engineering, Finance and Technology students from hometowns in the West Midlands. This programme will give students the opportunity to be fast tracked for a 2024 summer internship with National Grid. Apply by 4 December 2023.
  • Pegasus Access and Support Scheme (PASS) - a leading programme designed to support aspiring baristers from underrepresented backgrounds with the experiences they need to be able to thrive at the Bar.
  • Penguin Random House - two weeks paid work experience opportunities, internships and paid Editorial Traineeships for 6 months for students from low socioeconomic backgrounds and BAME students.
  • Scott Trust Bursaries - The Guardian Foundation offers a number of bursaries for students aspiring to study a MA in Journalism. Applications from diverse social and ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to apply. 
  • The Scheme - eight paid six month traineeship schemes available with a variety of publishing houses at Penguin Random House.
  • The Sutton Trust - Pathway programmes that give students practical advice.
  • Worthwhile - graduate schemes with innovative small charities and enterprises.

What is upReach? 

At the University of Exeter, we believe in the transformative power of education and enablement of every students’ potential, of all backgrounds which is why we are proud to partner with upReach, a charity dedicated to promoting social mobility, levelling up, and removing barriers of progression. 

UpReach is a leading UK charity on a mission to eliminate the disadvantage gap in higher education and professional employment. They understand that many talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds face unique challenges when it comes to accessing and thriving in top careers. UpReach can step in, offering a lifeline of guidance, mentorship, and training to help you overcome those challenges and achieve your dreams.

What does it involve? 

Joining upReach you will become an associate, a partner, learner and advocate of the programme. As an associate, you will be able to access bespoke personalised targeted support to help you to navigate your time at the University of Exeter and to achieve your aspirationsThis support can take the form of being mentored by a professional working with industry who can offer you can equip you with invaluable insights, advice, and networking opportunities to help you overcome barriers of attainment. 

You can also access exclusive training sessions; UpReach working with partner employers hosts a range of workshops, events, and seminars designed to enhance your employability skills. These cover topics such as CV writing, acing assessment centres, interview preparation, and networking strategies. By participating, you will gain a competitive edge in the job market. 

Key benefits of upReach  

Internships UpReach has strong connections with a network of top employers across various industries. As an associate, you will have access to exclusive internship opportunities, giving you a foot in the door to some of the most prestigious sought after careers. 

Financial assistanceUpReach understands that financial constraints can be a barrier to success. They offer financial support to associates, ensuring that you have the resources you need to excel in your studies and pursue your career goals. 

InsightUpReach provides valuable insights into different industries and professions. You will gain a better understanding of the career options available to you, helping you make informed decisions about your future. 

Sharing knowledge - Joining upReach means becoming part of a supportive and dynamic community of like-minded individuals, sharing knowledge collaboratively. You will have the opportunity to network with fellow associates, mentors, and professionals, expanding your circle of influence; all of which will cultivate your confidence. 

upReach infographic small


To onboard onto upReach you will need to meet certain conditions which depends on which programme you select. UpReach offer two streams of differentiated support: AIM and RISE. There are overlaps between both programmes, though the key difference is the depth and duration of support. AIM is a one-to-three-year programme of support whereas RISE is typically a three year programme built around a more intensive intervention. 

Eligibility criteria for RISE 

  • You must currently be a full-time undergraduate either in first year, or subject to discretion at the start of your second year. 

  • Have attained A-level grades of at least BBB at A-level (120 UCAS points). 

  • You will need to be in receipt of the Access to Exeter Bursary (ATE). 

Eligibility criteria for AIM 

  • You must currently be an enrolled full-time undergraduate. AIM in contrast to RISE is open to all year groups. 

  • Have attained A-level grades of at least BBB at A-level (120 UCAS points).


If the idea of upReach appeals and you want to get involved, click here to view the upReach websiteFrom there, you can apply to become an upReach associate.