I feel excited to continue my journey in science as it's now less daunting

Published: 05 Dec 2018

The Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) is a charity which aims to make a practical improvement in social mobility for young people from low-income backgrounds. With the help of professionals across 11 different career sectors, we support high-achieving 6th form and undergraduate students who have the academic ability to flourish in the top universities and professions, but who lack the encouragement, confidence and networks to help them get there.

‘I am ambitious and hardworking. The only thing that I felt was holding me back in my career and education was a lack of connections. After all in many cases it’s more about who you know, instead of what you know. Thanks to the team at the SMF, I have been able to experience things that I could have never experienced without their help. I learnt a lot about what it takes to get my dream job, and came back from my internship more motivated than ever before.’ Year 13 cohort, 2018

Around a year ago I received my first email from my mentor, Sam… I never felt like a question would be seen as foolish and so felt able to ask questions I would have been too nervous to ask otherwise and that was one of the greatest things about the whole experience – it managed to be formal and informative, but friendly and interesting in equal measure.’ University of Warwick, 2017

Our support

Our free-of-charge Aspiring Professionals Programme (APP) supports students from year 12 and throughout university until they find employment. Our support includes e-mentoring by a professional, tailored skill sessions and career workshops, university application support, and internships with employers.

Ways to get involved

Becoming an SMF mentor is a great way to see our students develop and help them to fulfil their potential. Mentoring takes place via email and is just a 15 – 30 minute commitment every fortnight. It is a crucial part of our programme, giving students key insights into how to get a job like yours. Our 2019 mentoring programme will start in April 2019. If you are interested, you can can sign-up at www.socialmobility.org.uk/sign-up-professionals

Hosting an SMF student on work experience is an invaluable way to help students gain real, first-hand experiences of their chosen career, and begin to build the professional networks they may otherwise struggle to access. SMF work experience takes place after students’ first year of sixth form. You or your organisation would host one or more SMF students, usually for one or two weeks during the summer holidays or October half term.

Our reach

In 2018 we supported more than 1,600 year 12 students across the UK, of which 260 were interested in a career in a science-related field. We look forward to working with even more SMF students in the coming year.

Our 2018 results

  • We increased the probability of students attending a university most visited by employers by up to 43%
  • 96% of employers think the young people they host are the calibre that could be employed in their sector after university
  • 90% of students say that they are likely to apply for future opportunities at their internship organisation

If you are interested in supporting the SMF and our ambitious young people, please contact Ayesha Begum at ayesha.begum@socialmobility.org.uk or 0207 183 1189.


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About the author

Ayesha Begum

Ayesha is the Senior Mentoring Coordinator at the Social Mobility Foundation. She studied Biology and Psychology BSc and has a graduate diploma in Child Development and Educational Psychology. At the SMF, Ayesha has oversight of the mentoring programmes and wider volunteering opportunities across the UK. She is responsible for the development of the programmes nationally, which support 1500+ professional mentors and 1500+ young people yearly, to ensure both mentors and mentees gain the best support during their mentoring relationships.

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