By Jordan Costin
Hi everyone, I’m Jordan and I study Law at the University of Nottingham. I am also the founder of the Nottingham upReach Social Mobility Society.
Firstly, to those readers who are not aware, I would like to explain what the Nottingham upReach Social Mobility Society is and what upReach aims to do more generally as an organisation.
The Nottingham upReach Social Mobility Society was established in July 2020, following the success of other upReach Societies at different universities. To name only two, upReach societies have been a roaring success at Leeds University and Manchester University, as well as many others. The Society aims to shed light on important issues of social mobility in further and higher education and in many prestigious careers such as law and finance whilst simultaneously acting as a point of contact for socially mobile students with concerns. It also acts as a place where socially mobile students can meet and assist each other whilst at University.
The upReach Social Mobility Societies across different universities in the UK are ran in conjunction with the charity upReach. upReach have worked tirelessly in recent years to assist students from disadvantaged backgrounds reach their potential. Examples of their work include introducing a contextualised grade model, known as REALrating, which facilitates a better understanding of the light in which a student’s grade was achieved. For example, if you are a student from a lower socioeconomic background who worked 16 hours a week in part time employment, you are likely to have a higher REALrating. This has been vital in helping employers understand the context a student achieved their grades in. In 2019, upReach worked with over 1,800 associates. Simply put, they have made significant inroads into fundamental issues surrounding social mobility.
This leads me quite nicely into why I decided to set up the upReach Social Mobility Society at Nottingham. I myself, am an upReach associate. As an upReach associate, I have been the beneficiary of invaluable support which has helped me to determine the career path I want to pursue. As a student from a socially mobile background, it has been difficult to acquire work experience, however, upReach have enabled me to gain an understanding of a range of career paths and which would be most suited to me. I felt that it was time to give back to other students and allow as many as possible to experience their invaluable support. Furthermore, as somebody passionate about social mobility issues, I felt that I could help others from backgrounds like my own become more confident and eliminate ‘imposter syndrome’ amongst my peers. Particularly in areas such as law and finance, and at Russell Group Universities, I find imposter syndrome to be prevalent in students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Since its inception, the Nottingham upReach Social Mobility Society has been working tirelessly to reduce this prevalence and will continue to do so. Similar societies at other universities – including the 93% club – have illustrated to me that it is possible to make a tangible difference to these issues, even as a student.
Finally, I would like to set out the aims of the Nottingham upReach Social Mobility Society. Our first and most significant aim is Social Mobility Advocacy. We want to promote the issues surrounding social mobility to as many people as possible. This will involve week-long campaigns and hosting a number of events which shed light on these issues. It will also involve collaborating with other large societies to host events which shed light in certain careers sectors, particularly those which lack social mobility. Our second aim is to promote upReach as a brand. upReach, as I have already referenced, have engaged in some truly inspiring work in this area and this Society aims to raise awareness of this organisation and maximise the number of students who can benefit from their services. Finally, we aim to build campus communities. We hope that the Society can act as a social space for students to discuss issues and to form alliances with other socially mobile students. The greater the community, the more of an impact we are likely to be able to make both at Nottingham and beyond.