Friends of GT Scholars – Are you available to help out at one of our events?

Friends of GT Scholars – Are you available to help out at one of our events?

Friends of GT Scholars

I hope you’ve had a great week so far and you’re looking forward to the weekend? Did you know that this evening will be the rise of the first super moon of the year? It’s when the moon is at the closest point to earth in its orbit. For science enthusiasts, this is great news… for everyone else, they’re probably wondering why on earth this matters! Either way, the super moon is said to be a beautiful sight!

 

Could you volunteer at one of our upcoming events?
The first couple of workshops for the Inspiring Future Leaders programme will take place on Thursday the 20th and Friday the 21st of February at Google Academy from 10:30am to 4:00pm. We’re looking for event volunteers to help on any of these days. As an event volunteer, you’ll get to meet and interact with the young people and also work closely with the workshop facilitators.  Please let me know if you’re able to help and I’ll fill you in on some more details about these workshops.

Would you like to help us reach more volunteers?
In today’s technology-driven world, you can instantly connect with colleagues, friends and family. This makes reaching out to volunteers and young people easy, connecting people who can help with young people who need help! It would be great if you could help us reach more volunteers by telling a friend or colleague about us. You can refer them to our contact page, or you can get in touch with us and we’ll send you some material that you can forward to them.

Equality in education is still worth fighting for!
Recent figures from the Department of Education showed that pupils from a low-income background are falling further behind their wealthier peers in GCSE Achievement. A recent news article by MSN News UK reported that the gap between disadvantaged and advantaged students has widened, with 27.5% of disadvantaged pupils that were entered for all of the EBacc last year, compared with 44.5% of all other students. In 2018 the gap was 26.4% versus 42.8%. Follow this link to our blog to find out why we still believe that equality in education and private tutoring is still a realistic and worthwhile pursuit. 

 

Have a great weekend!

Friends of GT Scholars – Here’s how you can volunteer in 2020!

Friends of GT Scholars – Here’s how you can volunteer in 2020!

Friends of GT Scholars

We’re back! I hope you’ve had a great festive season and you’re looking forward to the New Year as much as I am? There’s a lot of new things on the horizon which I hope you’ll be interested in getting involved with, like extra support for volunteers and our new Inspiring Future Leaders Programme starting next month! So grab a cup of coffee, take a quick break and enjoy the first official newsletter of 2020! 

Can you tutor English?
Wow, we have such a demand for English tuition this term and that’s really awesome! We’ve been able to offer a couple of young people a place on the programme. Thanks to everyone who’s confirmed their availability so far. We still have 7 more scholars who need support in English and need your help. So if you’ll be able to volunteer as an English tutor for 1 hour a week from January to April please get in touch! This can make a great difference in a young person’s life!


We’re looking for mentors for the Inspiring Future Leaders Programme!
This new programme sponsored by the Mayor of London & National Lottery Fund will kick-off in February and run until July 2020. The focus will be on helping young boys in London at risk of exclusion, between the ages of 12-14. Young boys joining the programme have been identified as having high aspirations but also struggling with some challenging issues in their personal lives. We’re looking for volunteer mentors to deliver monthly face-to-face mentoring sessions in London. Please feel free to contact me if you’d like more information on mentoring and supporting this group.

Work experience opportunities!
During the last term, I’ve received quite a few enquiries from parents about work experience for young people.  Work experience can help young people build their CV and develop skills and have a life-changing effect on them that can set them on course to a great start and future! We’re hoping to connect our GT Scholars alumni with work experience opportunities. Please let me know if you know of any work experience opportunities within your company or network and I’ll give you a call for a quick chat!


Have a great weekend!

In the Know – Festive, free family fun!

Careers Events Growth mindset In The Know Young people

With preparations for the holiday underway, we’ve uncovered a few stimulating programmes to add to your family’s Christmas holiday itinerary. These events will add a festive cheer while educating and keeping the whole family entertained. 

Free Kids Entrepreneur Bootcamp
This inspiring event is aimed at young people aged 10 to 14 years with a passion and potential for entrepreneurship. They will gain a sense of commerce and learn invaluable skills like researching their product, competition, selling and creating products that consumers want. The first of six sessions start on Saturday 21 December from 3pm to 6pm at the London Graphics Studios, Kilburn Bridge House, Kilburn High Rd, London. For more information follow the Eventbrite link.

Free Coding & Robotics taster workshop
Fire Tech is offering their number one Junior Coder course as an early Christmas gift to young people aged 9 to 12 years. During this course, they will gather a practical understanding of basic concepts, learn about inputs and sensors and build mazes for robot challenges.  The workshop takes place on 20 December 2019, the first session starts at 9am at the Baden-Powell House, Queen’s Gate, Kensington. Follow the link for more information. 

Make a Christmas song.
This unique event will grab the attention of music and science enthusiasts alike. Using data science and artificial intelligence, create festive Christmas songs and jingles by remaking a classic or producing something brand new.  Auditions will take place after the workshop and the audience decides on the best song of the day. The free event is for the whole family and takes place on 21 December from 12pm to 2pm at the Canopy Market, King’s Cross, London. Follow the link for more information

The GT Scholars Programme is a not-for-profit social enterprise that tackles educational inequality and improves social mobility by helping young people aged 11-16 gain access to the most selective universities and the most competitive careers. Why not spread some good and forward this newsletter to a friend or send them this link so they can also sign up to our newsletter and stay up to date with our latest programmes and events.

 

In the Know – Your future begins now!

In the Know – Your future begins now!

In The Know What's new?

Early preparation is key if your child is thinking about going to university! So, with this week’s fun and informative activities, your child will get to immerse themselves in university life while also receiving all the support and advice they need to reach their university aspirations.

UCL It’s All Academic Festival 2019
UCL is one of the leading universities in the world. They are running a free interactive festival packed full of talks, panel discussions, screenings, performances, workshops, interactive stands, exhibitions and tours. This will give young people the chance to go behind the scenes at UCL, quiz leading academics and get hands-on with some of their most exciting researchers. The festival will be taking place on Saturday 5th October from 10am to 4pm at UCL. Find out more here

US-UK Fulbright Commission – Study in the USA Seminar
The US-UK Fulbright Commission together with EducationUSA is running an informative seminar about studying in the USA. This free event will help young people and their parents to learn more about the undergraduate admissions process, admissions exams, how to choose the right institution, and scholarship opportunities. The seminar will be taking place on Tuesday 8th October from 5pm to 7pm at the University of Notre Dame. Find out more here

Royal Holloway Personal Statement Workshop
Royal Holloway, University of London is running a free personal statement workshop for young people in Year 12 and 13. A professional from their Student Recruitment and Admissions team will guide attendees through writing a perfect personal statement, revealing exactly what admissions tutors are looking for when reading an application. The day will also include a Campus Tour led by their student ambassador team. This workshop will be taking place on Wednesday 23rd October from 11am to 3pm at Royal Holloway. Find out more here

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

In the Know – Activities for National Coding Week!

In the Know – Activities for National Coding Week!

In The Know What's new?

National Coding Week is taking place from Monday 16th September to Sunday 22nd September. It is the perfect opportunity for young people to immerse themselves in the fascinating world of coding and computer science! In this week’s newsletter, we have a few coding-related activities and resources that will have them building new skills, exploring new careers, and having loads of fun while learning.

Game Design Workshops
SAE Creative Media Institute is running two free game design workshops for young people between the ages of 16 and 18. The first workshop will be taking place on Tuesday 17th September and will teach attendees how to make a mobile game with Unity. The second workshop, taking place on Thursday 19th September, will teach attendees how to make a 2D game in 10 easy steps. Both workshops will be taking place from 6.30pm at their SAE London campus. Find out more here

Python Coding Workshop
The Software Academy is running a free Python coding workshop for young people between the ages of 11 and 16. The workshop will cover the fundamentals of coding using Python, one of the world’s most famous coding languages that’s gaining more popularity every day. It will be delivered in a fully-equipped computer lab, geared by industry level hardware and software, on Sunday 22nd September from 1pm. Find out more here.

Grasshopper App
Grasshopper makes learning coding easy with this easy-to-use app! Created by a team of passionate coders from Google’s workshop for experimental products, this app was created to make it possible for everyone to learn coding. The app offers fun, quick lessons that teach young people how to write real JavaScript. As you develop your abilities, you move through progressively challenging levels, and by the final level, you graduate with fundamental programming skills for your next step as a coder. This free app is available for both Apple and Android devices.

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

7 Effective Skills To Improve Your Employability

7 Effective Skills To Improve Your Employability

What's new?

Obtaining a degree and having a qualification behind your name is no longer enough to guarantee you the job you were dreaming about. In fact, with each year that passes by, the job market becomes increasingly competitive as new graduates from various universities and institutions enter the workforce. 

To sift through the huge amount of graduate applicants, employers now have to look beyond your education history. They also want to ensure that their potential employee possesses all of the necessary and sufficient skills to work for their company and with their team. This means that having good employability skills will increase the prospect of you getting the job that you want while also increasing your self-worth and reputation.

Employers look for a range of skills in each employer, with some skills more suited for specific careers. However there are general skills that most employers will look for, so if you are looking to enhance your employability, consider working on these 7 simple but effective skills:

Technology Skills
The digital age demands good technology and computer skills, no matter which career field you’re in. Basic computer skills are a general requirement in any workforce environment and it increases your efficiency in the workplace which many employers are looking for. Learning these computer skills is also quite a simple task as there are many free online and offline computer literacy and coding courses available today. You can also extend your knowledge of technology and learn new technical skills by subscribing to technical magazines or watching technical videos. This can also give you a useful perspective on various technical insights and innovations that you can apply to your career and personal life.

Communication Skills
In any working environment, you will be working with people, whether in a team or interacting with clients or customers. One of the most important skills to have when it comes to working with people is communication skills. Good communication skills allow you to get your points and ideas across easily and effectively, which makes it easier for your employer, colleagues or clients to understand you. You can easily improve your communication skills by joining public speaking forums such as a debate group or society. Beyond public speaking, you can work on recording and assessing yourself, looking out for things like body language, too many ‘um’s’ or inaudible words or other things you can improve on.

Networking Skills
The art and science of building authentic relationships are very useful to fast track your journey to success. Networking offers both you and the company you work for valuable ways to develop meaningful business relationships that can be leveraged for greater success. It’s often true when they say “it’s not about what you know, but who you know” as networking can open up many doors for you at any stage of your career path. You can develop networking skills by getting involved in charitable organisations, attending career fairs and being part of youth board or committees. You can also research your career field and job market to ensure that you stay on top of your what’s happening in your career field and get insider information about what a certain profession or career field will demand of you.

Teamwork Skills
A majority of your time spent in the workplace will be working with and interacting with your colleagues in a team setting. Even if you work solely on a specific task or as a specific role, you will still interact with other people in the company to effectively complete each project. At the end of the day, a company is basically a team as well, so this is why it is important that you have sufficient teamwork skills. The best way to learn teamwork skills is to join a sports team, dance class or music or choir group. Volunteering also offers many ways to build solid teamwork skills while also building your experience and other skills. 

Organisational Skills
Good organisational skills mould you into becoming more proficient, reliable and punctual, which are all values that any employer would seek out for. Companies need to run properly like a well-oiled machine, so employers will avoid any sense of disorder or unreliability. This is why you need to ensure that you build your organisational skills now so that you will be effective and valued in your workplace. Many young people will find building organisational skills to be challenging, especially if you learn in a more sporadic and spontaneous manner. One way you can counteract this is to make organising and planning fun, for example, you can take the opportunity to plan a trip or an event with your family or friends. This will test and improve your ability to plan and carry out activities effectively.

Self-Motivation
Together with teamwork, an employer also wants to see that you are able to work well independently. Independent working takes self-motivation and the willingness to take initiative, and without this, many tasks cannot be accomplished properly. The best way to improve your self-motivation is to boost your self-confidence. This can be done by taking the opportunity to learn independently and setting personal goals and coming up with strategies to achieve them. You can also learn to take more initiative by getting involved in community service and social activism, which also has the added benefit of exposing you to real-world situations and learning valuable skills.

Adaptability
The only constant thing is change, and this applies to the workplace as well. Being able to adapt to change and being flexible allows you to think quickly on your feet and to work well under pressure. Employers look out for this and they ensure that you are open to change and able to adapt with a positive mindset and a desire to learn. You can learn to be adaptable by exposing yourself to new and fast-changing situations such as working for a voluntary organisation or signing up for work experience programmes. You can also develop your creative skills which will expand your learning and thought processes so that you are able to come up with creative solutions, especially under pressure. 

These employability skills will help you to be successful in any profession while also making building your CV and experience to open up many more doors on the pathway to your dream career. 

GT Scholars runs enrichment and skill-building programmes that help you to develop these and many more employability skills. Our programmes also include tutoring and mentoring for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

An interview with one of our fantastic volunteer mentors – Nileema Patel

An interview with one of our fantastic volunteer mentors – Nileema Patel

Mentoring Volunteer interviews What's new?

Please tell us a bit about yourself
Many years ago, I used to teach primary school students as a volunteer and that was a very rewarding experience. Unfortunately, due to increasing time commitments elsewhere I couldn’t continue along with that. Recently, when things had settled back down, I realised I wanted to do something to help young people again and came across GT Scholars not long after I started looking for opportunities to do so. It’s been really nice to help out through mentoring, which has been completely different, yet just as rewarding, experience when compared to teaching. Outside of volunteering, I work in healthcare and enjoy baking and reading in my spare time.

How did you first hear about GT Scholars?
I came across GT Scholars through an online search engine. I was looking for an opportunity that would allow me to give more to my community, particularly in a way that would help young people. I went on your website and got a good feeling about the mission, which very much aligns with my values. Reading about Temi and her background was really inspiring and it gave me confidence in GT Scholars as a committed and genuine social enterprise. I got in touch through the online application form and it all went from there really.

What goals have you helped your scholar to achieve?
So this term we focused on public speaking a lot; how to feel more confident and assured. We worked on different techniques to apply before a speaking assignment to see what helped and felt most natural. You know, just simple things like practising a lot, practising with different people, trying out tips from the famous Ted Talk on confidence by Amy Cuddy.

A recurring theme during our sessions has also been about career choices, university choices and progressing to sixth-form. These are longer-term goals that are useful to start thinking about early on and I look forward to helping Erica achieve them as we move into the next term.

What qualities does Erica have that makes her a good mentee?
Erica is a wonderful mentee. She’s punctual, listens well and is forthcoming about topics of interest or any issues that she’s worried about. She’s organised as well and very good at managing her time and extracurricular activities. I think all of those skills really make her a good mentee as well as a good student, and I think this will translate very well professionally, too, in whatever area she decides to go into eventually.

Why do you think mentoring is valuable to young people?
I think the most valuable aspect of mentoring is the confidence that a young person might gain from it. Being a young person, particularly in a big city like London, it can be difficult to have self-confidence. You don’t have a lot of experience and everything seems new and sometimes unapproachable, particularly in areas such as applying to university. So I think the support that comes from mentoring can be extremely valuable in terms of validating a young person’s ideas and goals. Practically, mentoring is a great way to highlight opportunities to get involved in.

What challenges did you face while mentoring your scholar?
For me, the first session was probably the most challenging because I did not have a lot of mentoring experience. However, I found that GT Scholars had sheets to prepare mentors which I read beforehand and which were very helpful in giving me an idea of how to build rapport and understand what the priorities of mentoring are.

I also tried to think back to times I have been mentored in the past, informally and formally. I thought about what made my mentors so good and then tried to embody that in my role as a mentor.

What did you enjoy most about volunteering and mentoring?
I really enjoyed getting to know the mentee, as well as her mother. You know Erica, she’s already a very bright, ambitious person, on the lookout for opportunities to support her goals and a little bit of guidance. I enjoy being a sounding board for her, hearing about her goals and being able to guide her as she achieves them. I particularly like that, over the sessions, I am able to see her progress, and get to hear feedback from her and her mother about how our sessions are impacting her social and academic development.

What have you gained from being a volunteer mentor with GT Scholars?
It’s been really nice to be able to pass along some of the things I have learnt along the way to an enthusiastic young person who might be able to benefit from that advice. Building relationships with the team at GT Scholars, my mentee and her mother, has been personally very rewarding and the whole process has a been wonderful way to give back.

 

Spotlight on one of our young scholars – Ladan

Spotlight on one of our young scholars – Ladan

Growth mindset Private tuition Success stories What's new? Young people

Please tell us a bit about yourself
I’m fifteen and am in Year 10. I love subjects like history as I’ve always enjoyed learning about interesting events such as The Cold War since I was little. I also enjoy learning science, especially experiments.

What does being on the programme mean to you?
I see being on the programme as a really lucky opportunity to be able to develop myself as a whole, not just as a student but as someone with a more flexible mindset that can approach most tasks with an open mind.

How has GT Scholars helped you to improve yourself?
They’ve helped me think more about my future and how I can strive to improve what’s really important to me such as my academics or way of thinking. I’ve seen a great improvement in maths and I’ve moved up from foundation grade to higher grade and also reached my target grade. With mentoring, I’ve grown a lot and I’m more confident than before and my mentor has helped me to choose subjects that align with my interests.

What were your tutor and mentor like? How did this help?
My tutor Janet has helped me improve significantly in maths which honestly, is a subject that I’ve struggled with but now I enjoy the subject and am improving greatly. My mentor Sulina was really kind and I managed to learn about her career and more about the vast educational opportunities in London. For example, I used to be reluctant about IB because of all the stigma around it but as I learnt more about it I think I am more open to applying to IB next year.

Have your grades changed since being on the programme? Did you improve in any of the subjects at school?
My grades have really improved in Maths, classwork comes more easily to me now, so my teacher often gives me more challenging tasks and it’s lead to me achieving higher grades in a subject I was once not doing so well in.

What was the best thing that your tutor taught you?
My tutor helped me learn more effective time management skills. She helped me put into place more concrete methods in my exams, like the mark a minute technique that really helped me, especially since I practised it during our sessions and in homework.

How will you apply what you have learnt during the programme to your future?
My dislike for maths has honestly gone down and I genuinely enjoy the subject sometimes, so I think the likelihood that I may choose economics as an A-Level has increased.

Understanding the Challenges Faced by Young People Living In Care

Understanding the Challenges Faced by Young People Living In Care

What's new?

In 2015, just 6% of young care leavers attended university and in 2014 over 37% of care leavers between the ages of 17 and 19 were not in education, employment or training (NEET). In addition, according to Crisis UK, one third of care leavers become homeless within the first two years of leaving care and 25% of homeless people are care-experienced.

Young people living in care, also known as looked after children, are young people not living with their biological parents due to a variety of reasons. Some of the most common reasons for a child or young person being taken into care include abuse, neglect, family breakdown or a parent or child’s illness or disability.

In 2018, there were 75,420 children in care in England according to the Department for Education. The care system is well established, however young people living in care still face various challenges that hampers their success.

This means that young people living in care are still far behind compared to their peers when it comes to academic attainment and career prospects. In fact, according to the Department for Education, care leavers are unlikely to apply to university and their educational attainment at the end of school is still very low compared to other groups with just 14% achieving 5 A*-C GCSEs (including maths and English).

Young people face multiple challenges as outlined below which leads to these negative outcomes.

Instability
Due to the high number of young people living in care in England, there is significant strain on the care system. The majority of looked after children are placed in short or long term foster homes, and there are a limited number of carers in England and each carer will have a limited number of places. This means that young people living in care often have to go through many changes thoughout the year, with 10% of fostered children having had three or more placements in 2018 according to the Department for Education. This instability means that young people living in care can often become withdrawn and develop a sense that nobody really cares about them. They often feel that they have no control over their lives, which leads to low aspirations and attachment issues.

Adoption can provide a more stable living situation, but the number of looked after children with a placement order for adoption has fallen by 44% since 2014. Additionally, according to the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies, in September 2018, there were 2730 children waiting for adoption in England and 41% of these children had been waiting eighteen months or more.

Mental Health
Young people living in care face very tough situations that has far-reaching consequences on their mental health and wellbeing. For some children and young people, being taken away from the home where they have been unsafe will be a relief. However, for many others, being separated from their parents and/or siblings will be extremely distressing. Many looked after children will be placed in a home that is far from where they live or far from where their siblings live. In some cases, they may not know where their sibling is placed. 

This distress negatively affects their mental health. They may struggle with triggers (post-traumatic stress disorder) and not be okay with certain sounds, smells, places or experiences. They may also suffer from mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, and struggle with psychological issues such as attachment disorder as they find it difficult to build close, secure, trusting relationships with people around them.

Problems at School
Understandably, young people living in care often struggle at school. According to research from the Department for Education (Care leavers’ Transition to Adulthood 2015) and research from Howard League for Penal Reform (Criminal Care 2016), young people who have lived in care between the ages of 10 and 17 are five times more likely to be excluded from school. They are also more likely to struggle with learning, with over 68% of looked after children being diagnosed with one or more Special Education Needs or Disabilities (SEND).

Together with learning difficulties, they also often struggle with social difficulties at school. Many of them do not want friends at school to know that they are living in care, and this can add to the burden of having to pretend that they are living with a parent or a family member even though they are living with a carer. Many looked after children will also have developed a sense of having to protect themselves and take care of themselves and may struggle with trusting adults such teachers and support staff at school.

GT Scholars seeks to help young people living in care to work around the challenges they face through the Raising Aspirations Programme. This programme will use a multi-strategy approach combining one-to-one mentoring, enrichment days, and skill-building workshops.

The one-to-one mentoring will help them work on their career aspirations and personal development. In a report called Forging futures through mentoring 2018 by The Children’s Commissioner, it was stated that looked after children themselves appear to value mentoring because of the soft skills such as self-belief and confidence that are imparted through mentoring programmes. The report also stated that mentoring has a positive impact on looked after children’s relationships with others.

Many young people living in care struggle with a lack of awareness of opportunities along with low confidence and lack of self-belief and this impacts their academic attainment at school and their likelihood of pursuing certain careers and professional routes after school. However, many universities have teams dedicated to increasing the number of care leavers that apply to and study at their university. In addition to this, many companies are providing work experience specifically to care leavers, especially since the introduction of The Care Leaver Covenant 2018.

The Raising Aspirations Programme will aim to bridge the gap between young people living in care and the universities and companies that want to reach them. The enrichment days and skill-building workshops take place at top-tier universites and companies across London to help these young people to build academic and career aspirations and develop the strategies and skills to achieve them.

If you want to find out more about the Raising Aspirations Programme and how you can get more involved, then contact us today. GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. Our after-school tutoring, mentoring and enrichment programme is designed to help young people aged 11-18 achieve their academic and career aspirations.

How Can Education Address The Social Mobility Dilemma?

How Can Education Address The Social Mobility Dilemma?

What's new?

According to the Social Mobility Commission’s State of The Nation Report 2018/19, social mobility in the UK has remained stagnant over the past four years, despite government interventions. This means that young people from low-income homes are less likely to access high-income careers and break the cycle of poverty.

Those from better-off backgrounds are almost 80% more likely to be in a professional job than their working-class peers. Due to this gap in access to professional jobs, people from working-class backgrounds earn 24% less a year. In addition, the report found that even when those from working-class backgrounds are successful in entering professional occupations, they earn on average 17% less than their more privileged colleagues.

These facts can be quite disheartening to young people and people who are working towards improving social mobility. However, it is important that we understand these issues so that we can develop strategies that are effective and sustainable. It may be a complicated issue, but we can start working on it if we make at least two significant changes – improving education and increasing the number of high-income jobs.

Education is key
It comes as no surprise that education has a profound effect on social mobility. The widening gap in attainment between young people from low-income backgrounds and their wealthier peers has far-reaching consequences. 

In fact, a 2019 report from the Education Policy Institute has found that the gap in GCSE attainment between disadvantaged pupils and non-disadvantaged pupils has stopped closing, which strongly correlates with current social mobility figures. This means that by the time they leave secondary school, disadvantaged pupils are now over 18.1 months behind non-disadvantaged pupils.

This huge gap means that young people from low-income backgrounds are not able to access university or other higher education routes, which means that they are shut out from accessing professional and high-income careers, which makes it increasingly difficult to break out of the cycle of poverty.

So how can we close this gap? Well, firstly we can help young people from low-income homes to access tutoring and mentoring programmes. Good tutors and mentors provide an invaluable resource to help young people to understand difficult topics, improve attainment, increase personal development skills, and develop strategies to reach career aspirations and goals. At the moment, young people from low-income homes simply cannot afford a good tutor or mentor. After school tutoring and mentoring programmes in state schools should be funded by the government so that these young people are provided with the same support as their peers from private schools.

State school funding should be increased to improve the opportunities and resources that they can provide to their pupils. This includes more funding for extracurricular activities and more funding for support staff. The University of Bath found that young people who participate in extracurricular activities are able to gain confidence and build up their social skills which is much sought after by employers. They are also more likely to aspire to go on to higher or further education. Unfortunately, the Social Mobility Commission reported huge disparities in children’s participation rates across a wide range of extra-curricular activities depending on their social background, with young people from wealthier families being much more likely to take part in every type of activity especially music and sport. This can be changed if state schools are able to provide access to a wide range of high-quality extracurricular activities.

With more funding, state schools will also be able to employ more support staff. This can help to reduce teacher workload which will increase the contact time between teachers and their pupils. An increase in contact time will give young people more time to understand difficult topics and increase the amount of individual attention given to them. Schools will also be able to employ full-time staff to support their pupils’ mental health and wellbeing needs. The Social Mobility Commission reported that young people from more disadvantaged areas are more likely to suffer from lower levels of wellbeing, which has far-reaching effects on their academic and personal development.

After secondary school, young people from low-income homes also need more support in accessing higher education routes such as colleges and universities. The Government has worked on increasing apprenticeships and will also introduce T-levels and other further education routes. However, according to the report from the Education Policy Institute, this has led to an over-representation of disadvantaged students in further education, which actually damages the government’s ambition of rectifying imbalances between further and higher education. Access to colleges and universities needs to be improved for young people from low-income homes so that they are able to attain the qualifications to allow them to access high-income and professional careers. 

This can be done through the introduction of a student premium to help college and university students from low-income homes, according to an article by London Metropolitan University. University access should also be further improved by increasing access to universities with higher prestige so that young people from low-income homes are able to compete fairly with their wealthier peers when looking for a job.

Increasing the number of high-income jobs
It’s all well and good to improve education and narrow the gap in attainment, but what will happen after school and university when even more young people need to compete for a job in a high-income career field. 

The good news is that over the last few decades, there has been a growth in the proportion of professional jobs and a corresponding decline in the proportion of working-class jobs, with the Social Mobility Commission reporting that nearly half of all current jobs are professional, while less than a third are working class. However, despite this growth, those from high-income backgrounds continue to get most of these top jobs, squeezing out those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.

This means that there is still a fierce amount of competition for a high-income career, and if more young people are able to access university and higher education, then the competition will become even fiercer. So, it is imperative that the number of high-income and professional jobs is increased to meet the greater demand so that young people from low-income homes are able to access high-paying careers. It’s also important to increase the number of high-income jobs to allow their wealthier peers to still be able to access high-paying careers. If they are shut out of high-income jobs, it will cause downward mobility which further worsens the issue of social mobility in future generations.

The Government needs to invest in creating more professional jobs by increasing investment in growing industries such as digital and technology, increasing investment in small businesses and entrepreneurship, and attracting more investment by continually developing and strengthening the workforce.

By improving education and increasing the number of high-income jobs, more young people from low-income homes will be able to access high-paying careers, which will stimulate social mobility and break the cycle of poverty for future generations.  The issue may be complex, but it can be solved if the Government, the private sector, and non-profit organisations are able to work together and do their part.

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.