Enhancing our impact analysis to ensure our programmes go on making the most prestigious workplaces truly diverse and inclusive places which represent the most talented and ambitious parts of society

Since 2000, Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) London has been an industry leader in the diversity, inclusion and social mobility recruitment space. At this time, Andrew Fairbairn, founder of SEO London and alumnus of our sister organisation in New York, realised that there was a problem; too few talented students from ethnic minorities and low socioeconomic backgrounds were being afforded opportunities to build careers in the most prestigious industry areas.

As a result, we started off small, with a few volunteers from a number of sponsor investment banks offering mentoring, training and internship opportunities to a handful of university students from underrepresented backgrounds.

In the 2017-2018 academic year, we will be working with almost a thousand university students recruited from 80 different institutions, 300 secondary school students taken from an extensive school network across the capital, and over 5,000 alumni of our programmes across 17 years. Alongside this, we are now sponsored by over 80 different firms covering seven different industry areas.

The support we offer our secondary school and university students takes various forms; through work experience placements and internship opportunities, training in soft and hard skills, application support, mock assessment centres and mentoring, we ensure that our candidates gain useful and realistic insight into the most competitive industry areas, and the tools needed to become future leaders in those sectors.

Having worked with such large volumes of students, sponsors and supporters, we have naturally had a large amount of impact upon what continues to be an extremely important and ever-changing societal issue. Our next challenge, and a vital task to be undertaken to ensure the support we offer our students and alumni is meaningful, is to 1) collate our impact data, and 2) to analyse it in order to ensure our programming and operational strategies are robust, transformational and impactful upon society at large.