We all want our universities and workplaces to be environments where natural talent shines.
When we get it right, we reward ability over background, celebrate individual effort and help people reach their full potential.
But, for too many people, social background – where you grew up, went to school, or what your parents or guardians did for work – creates unfair barriers to success.
Our Aspiring Professionals Programme (APP) propels ambitious young people over these barriers. It's completely free of charge.
The programme gives students the skills, guidance, confidence and networks to access and thrive in higher education and top careers. Our events take place after school hours and during school holidays. You can read our safeguarding policy here. Students must meet our eligibility criteria to be accepted.
Many of the young people on our programme had an inspiring teacher who supported their application to the programme.
Help us make a difference to students in your class by:
Identifying eligible students based on our academic and background criteria
Encouraging students to apply
Providing a short reference when students in your class apply
Not a teacher but know a young person who could benefit? Please share our student page with them.
We provide free visits to the Russell Group, offer a personal statement workshop and checking service, and provide admissions and interview support to students applying to Oxbridge and medicine degrees.
Email mentoring via a secure site is guaranteed for every student. The mentor will work in a sector that the student chooses. All DBS/PVG checks are completed by the Social Mobility Foundation.
Our employability skills sessions prepare students for interacting with professionals, tailored to career sector preference.
We offer placements with employer partners across the UK during the Summer and October school holidays. We match students to their sector preference. Good engagement with the programme increases the likelihood of being offered an internship.
of students said they could not have obtained the work placements without our help.
of students who graduated in 2021 are in full-time work or further education.*
*of known outcomes
of students attended Russell Group universities.
Starting an application is the fastest way for students to check eligibility.
Students must be in Year 12, lower sixth or S5 and:
Eligible for Free School Meals
You'll be the first generation of your family to attend university. (We still count students being the first generation if their parents/guardians went to university as a mature student, or abroad, and if older siblings went to university).
Their household income is lower than £45,000
Highest-paid parent or guardian does a certain type of job (the form will tell you this) or is unemployed
They’ll typically need at least four passes at GCSE or equivalent. There may be exceptions or changes based on the information they provide. Grade requirements may be higher if they choose Employer Insight or certain sectors.
Students apply to the programme from September each year. Applications are closed right now.
Reference and consent
The student will nominate a teacher to provide an email reference, and a parent or guardian for consent once the application is finished.
We share the outcome of applications from February each year. APP City outcomes are normally shared first, with Residential and Reach shared by April.
This is a life-changing programme. It has given me so much more confidence and vital skills that are essential for progressing through education and into the professional world.
Students living in and near Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, and Newcastle should apply for APP City. They will receive skill sessions, university application support and internships in these cities throughout the year, and matched with a mentor from their chosen sector.
Students outside of London can opt into APP Employer Insight. They will get a summer internship with a top employer in London or Middlesbrough, and access to skills sessions and university application support. They will be matched with a mentor from a programme partner.
Students who may not meet our academic criteria, or who are unable to attend in-person workshops may be offered a place on APP Reach. They’ll get online resources and video tutorials to develop skills and career knowledge, university application support, and a mentor from their chosen sector.
APP City supports high-achieving students in lower sixth/S5 into competitive universities and top professions. It’s open to motivated, ambitious students in Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Newcastle who have the ability to fulfil their academic and career goals, but without the means or networks to get there.
We offer support in:
Accountancy | Architecture | Banking & Finance | Biology & Chemistry| Business | Digital | Engineering & Physics | Law | Media & Communications | Medicine | Politics | No Preference
96% of students graduating in 2021 were in full-time education or further study (of known outcomes).
A programme packed with opportunities for students to reach their full potential and meet likeminded people.
This depends on where students live, go to school and their chosen sector. Students should start their application to check if they are eligible.
APP Employer Insight Programmes are for UK students living outside of London who want experience in specific sectors. Our employer partners are listed below. Work experience typically involves a face-to-face residential in London (or Middlesbrough in the case of the Medicine Insight). Students will be mentored by an employee from the employer partner, and receive skills development workshops and university application support.
Students will gain a real-life insight into their chosen career and grow the skills needed to succeed.
We offer a programme of workshops, skills sessions, university application support and fun activities. We cover all travel, accommodation, and meals expenses.
APP Employer Insight is our most popular programme. If a student's application is not successful but they are eligible for APP City or Reach then we will make every effort to offer them a place on those programmes.
Our 2022 employer partners were Akin Gump, Herbert Smith Freehills Freshfields, KPMG, Linklaters, J.P. Morgan, PA Consulting, White and Case (please note this is subject to change):
APP J.P. Morgan Finance Programme: for students interested in banking and finance, investment banking, mathematics and economics.
APP J.P. Morgan Digital Programme: for students interested in computer science, financial technology, cyber security, coding and system design.
APP BP Engineering Programme: for students interested in engineering
APP PA Consulting Springboard Programme: for students interested in general business, consultancy, politics and sustainability. This work experience programme is shaped around the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
APP Medicine Insight Programme: for students interested in pursuing medicine. This programme is only open to students within England.
APP Law Insight Programme: for students interested in law. We have a range of programmes with multiple law firms, including:
APP Linklaters Making Links Discovery Programme: for students interested in pursuing law only
APP Freshfields Programme: for students interested in law and business
APP Reach is a virtual programme for motivated and ambitious students who live outside London and our target cities, or those who find in-person events are not for them. We help APP Reach students access the top universities and their chosen profession through:
1. Mentoring by a professional via email
2. Online resources to develop skills and career knowledge
3. University application support and guidance
We offer support to students interested in:
Accountancy | Architecture | Banking & Finance | Biology & Chemistry | Business | Digital | Engineering & Physics | Law | Media & Communications | Medicine | Politics | No Preference
Students are equipped with the knowledge and skills that give them the best chance of reaching university and thriving in their chosen career, even if they live outside a target APP city.
An exciting virtual programme that gives students skills, experience and practical advice.
Generally we look for 4 GCSEs at grade 9–4/A*–C (Wales, England, Northern Ireland) or 4 A–C grades at National 5 (Scotland).
This might be different depending where the student lives, goes to school and their chosen sector. Starting an application is the best way to check eligibility.
Some young people may need extra encouragement to believe in their ability. You can inspire students to see themselves on our programme.
While we provide helpful guidance at all stages of the application, students may want advice from someone they trust.
Applicants find out if they've been accepted in early 2024. Acceptance on the programme is something that your students should be proud of. Help us celebrate their success.
Yes. We also cover reasonable expenses related to attending programme events and internships.
Applications open in September and usually close in December.
Our Building My Future framework empowers students to build their personal networks, reach their career goals, develop their self awareness and grow their communication skills.