On 13th July 2023, Ellie Allerton-Brown and Filipe Figueiredo will be recognised at the fifth annual Student Social Mobility Awards for defying the odds to achieve outstanding success.
By Roya Shahidi, Co-Editor-in-Chief
The UK faces a persistent social mobility problem as demonstrated by the recent research from the Social Mobility Commission. Their report reveals that 'people from professional family backgrounds are 80% more likely to enter professional jobs compared to their less-advantaged peers.'
The Student Social Mobility Awards are organised by the social mobility charity upReach to recognise the incredible achievements of undergraduate students, organisations and individuals striving to improve social mobility across the UK.
The nominated students have managed to find success despite numerous socio-economic challenges. 68 per cent of nominees were the first in their family to attend university, 60 per cent were eligible for free school meals and 35 per cent had caring responsibilities or were previously in care.
Ellie Allerton-Brown, first-year Mechanical Engineering student, has been shortlisted for the 'Science and Engineering Award.'
In an interview with upReach, she commented: 'If I won the award, it would feel like a celebratory slap on the back for being resilient, and pushing through up until that moment.'
'I want to be an engineer. Being from a council estate up north, I don't know anybody that has pursued this path - or even gone to university for that matter. However, I don't believe there is a barrier preventing working-class kids from going to university. In fact, I believe the opposite. I feel as a high achiever, the school system instead expects you to go to university.
'I feel knowing somebody who pursued something similar may have opened my eyes up to other ways, other than university, of pursuing a career in engineering - but no one had this conversation with me.'
'No one could even have a conversation with me about what I wanted or needed out of a university or city to be happy whilst getting my degree which is a shame. You feel rushed through UCAS applications by the school system.'
Filipe Figueiredo, final-year Politics student, has been shortlisted for both the 'Academic Success Award' and 'Professional Services and Consulting Award.'
He said: 'Winning the 2023 SSMA would be fantastic! It would show how your background shouldn’t hold you back from wanting to achieve great things. Additionally, it would be an example to everyone that you should continue to strive for excellence and achieve your goals, in spite of the circumstances and setbacks faced.
'I strive to achieve my academic and career goals – therefore, social mobility is essential to allow those most challenged to also lead successful careers.'
💡We thought…. it would be quite interesting to see what people in professional jobs thought about the social mobility facts we shared a couple of days ago, so, we made a quiz! Let’s uncover the truth and see the results! 🔍 #SocialMobilityAwarenessDay pic.twitter.com/LVZ7pDOvLz— upReach (@up_Reach) June 15, 2023
Nick Bent, CEO of upReach, commented: 'In the current economic climate, events like the Student Social Mobility Awards are more important than ever before.
'By spotlighting individuals who have, in spite of their socio-economic background, overcome immense challenges to succeed in their chosen career path, we can provide vital role models for the next generation.
'Equally, it is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the individuals and organisations working exceptionally hard to transform social mobility across the UK.'
What do you think of the Student Mobility Award's initiative?