VCH and the 93% Club are pleased to announce that they will be working together to help to address the issue of the attainment gap (i.e. the difference in average graduate salaries between students from more privileged backgrounds compared to their less privileged counterparts, even if they achieve the same grades in the same subject at the same university). The 93% Club have helped us to understand the issues underprivileged students face with regard to the job market, using their expertise to make recommendation for how we can tackle this problem most effectively.
We aim to help all students into top jobs and internships, regardless of background, though feel that the following features of VCH will particularly helpful to students from underprivileged backgrounds.
Issue: lack of familiarity with the graduate job and internship process
The UK graduate job recruitment cycle starts early, with applications for some first-year schemes (e.g. bank spring weeks and law firm open days) opening within the first term of university. Students who are new to this (e.g. because they are the first in their family to go to university so have not seen siblings go through this process) are in danger of missing out. Getting work experience in first year helps to get work experience in second year, which can, in turn, result in a graduate job offer.
Solution: VCH approaches you with employment-related opportunities
VCH heavily markets its services to students in their first year of university. By signing up to VCH, students can be approached with highly-targeted job opportunities, making them aware of opportunities that will appeal to them. To avoid any chance of information overload, only extremely relevant opportunities are brought to the attention of students, meaning that they are not spammed with irrelevant emails. By letting VCH find appropriate jobs for them, underprivileged students do not have to navigate the graduate job process alone. The 93% Club is helping VCH to do this by letting their members know about VCH’s services, making sure that we can get the message out there effectively.
Problem: lack of familiarity with high-end graduate jobs
For students from underprivileged backgrounds, the high-end graduate job market (e.g. top law firms, investment banks, and management consultancies) may be unfamiliar to them. Where more privileged students may have had parents, older siblings, school friends, and other connections go through the process before them, less privileged students may not be familiar with these high-paying industries.
Solution: VCH’s virtual internships and application guides
VCH is currently producing a range of virtual internships and application guides to give students a taster of these different industries so that they can approach their applications with more industry-specific knowledge, so that they can hit the ground running when they undertake a real internship.
Problem: lack of time available to search for jobs
Traditionally, the graduate job hunt is very labour-intensive. Students who have jobs during term and during the university holidays to support themselves financially, as well as students that care for family members, are busy enough mixing work with their studies, and with any extracurricular activities they get up to, without having to spend hours searching for jobs.
Solution: VCH only contacts you with opportunities that you are suitable for
VCH approaches you with highly-targeted opportunities that you would be a good fit for, meaning that you do not waste time applying for jobs that you do not have a good chance of getting.
Also, VCH will come to you with ad hoc internship opportunities, which tend to be less competitive than more established programmes, meaning that you have a relatively high chance of being accepted.
VCH only approaches a handful of students for each opportunity, meaning your chances of success are dramatically improved.
Problem: less privileged students are less likely to be able to secure work experience early on via their personal networks.
More privileged students are often able to secure work experience via friends, family members, school alumni networks, and other people in their personal networks, something not available to their less privileged counterparts.
Solution: VCH recruits for smaller companies (as well as larger ones) who are often willing to take on a less-experienced student
Often, start-ups and other smaller companies are more prepared to be flexible with the experience they demand from students than more established companies that have highly-competitive work experience schemes. Doing an internship with a smaller company can give students hands-on experience and a valuable experience to add to their CVs before going on to apply to more established companies, helping them to get a foot in the door.
VCH and the 93% Club are always keen to develop news ways of helping to close the attainment gap. If you have a good idea for how we can do this, please get in touch!