Seven Sheffield university students graduate from award winning social mobility programme

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The achievements of seven Lloyds Scholars were celebrated on Tuesday 10 October at a ceremony in the Chartered Accountants Hall, London.

In attendance was Lloyds Banking Group’s Chief of Staff, Janet Pope who saw the latest cohort of graduating Scholars recognised for their academic achievements and making a difference to their community.

This ceremony was particularly special for Scholars from Sheffield as two students received recognition winning the Lloyds Scholars Internship Award and Runner-Up Lloyds Scholars Champion Award for their achievements.

The Lloyds Scholars graduating from Sheffield were: Barbara Ojei Agwaziam, Jasmine Nelson, Cerys Liddiard, Jamie Pinkerton, Georgina Darling, Sarah Firth, Elizabeth Wells.

The programme which started in 2011, offers talented undergraduates at its nine partner universities financial support, paid internships, professional mentoring and a wealth of opportunities to develop their employability skills. In return, all Scholars commit to at least 100 hours of skills based volunteering in their communities each academic year.

The award-winning programme is having a positive impact on the employability of students from lower income households and boosting social mobility across the UK. Nearly two thirds[i] of the Lloyds Scholars Alumni agreed that their circumstances have made it harder to find the right education or career path. Students from these backgrounds are more likely to drop out of university due to financial worries and find it harder to access graduate-level employment due to a lack of networks and connections, compared to their peers from more affluent backgrounds[ii].

The Lloyds Scholars Programme is addressing these issues head on and having significant success:

· Around one year after graduating, the starting salary of a Lloyds Scholar is approximately £13,000 higher than the average UK graduate

· 91% of Lloyds Scholars were in professional employment or further study 12 months after graduation

· 98% of Alumni are “extremely satisfied” with their current organisation as a place to work

Through the unique opportunities available on the programme, the Scholars are been able to harness vital employability skills including time management, leadership and entrepreneurial business skills which not only make them attractive to employers, but also help to differentiate them from other candidates in the job market.

Janet Pope, Chief of Staff and Group Director, Corporate Affairs at Lloyds Banking Group said: “It has been a great pleasure to watch Scholars from the University of Sheffield attend the ceremony today and be awarded for their hard work. Investing in education and skills is central to our wider ambition to help Britain prosper. We know that attainment at school and the acquisition of work skills are key drivers of social mobility and prosperity in later life. Ensuring that young people do well in their education and are prepared for work does not just benefit them as individuals, it also benefits the communities in which they live and the businesses that rely on recruiting local talent. I am very proud of the Lloyds Scholars achievements and wish them well in their future career”

Elizabeth Wells, a graduate from the University of Sheffield said “I am proud to be graduating from the Lloyds Scholars programme and have found the volunteering element a hugely rewarding experience. I had not done much volunteering before I started on the programme and it gave me an insight into my community and the good work that can be done. It also allowed me to harness employability skills which will not only make me attractive to employers, but also help to differentiate me from other candidates in the job market.”