Tech giants lend their backing to award-winning social mobility programme ahead of the scheme’s sixth year

  • Social Mobility Business Partnership supports students from low income backgrounds in pursuit of a career in business
  • Over 500 students across the UK will benefit from the scheme
  • The 2019 scheme will start on 5 August
  • Tech giants Google, Facebook, and Uber have joined the scheme in 2019
  • They join the likes of BT, PwC and Manchester United already supporting the programme

As the Social Mobility Business Partnership (SMBP) enters its sixth year of supporting Year 12 students from low income backgrounds, tech giants Google, Facebook and Uber have joined a growing pool of the UK’s largest businesses in backing the innovative and award-winning work experience programme.

SMBP runs programmes in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Plans for Wales are well under way for the 2020 scheme. The 2019 England and Scotland SMBP scheme commences on 5 August and students will benefit from visiting four different businesses in a week – from tech companies to law firms to media outlets. Participants will learn through interactive business games, before spending the fifth day learning about the psychology of resilience at a professional sports club.

Students are then given access to an online coaching platform that supports them throughout their journey to a career.

SMBP ( is a collaboration of over 130 commercial organisations, professional services firms and professional sports clubs, working across 18 towns and cities. Since 2014, SMBP has grown from offering opportunities to 20 students in London, to over 500 student places across the UK in 2019.

As an entirely new way of looking at the way work experience is delivered in the UK, the SMBP model tackles the issue of lack of resource and budget – and in the spirit of collaboration, all participating organisations give their time and expertise without charge.

New businesses to the scheme for 2019 include: Dow Jones; Discovery Communications; BBC Studios; ING; Facebook; Google; Norwich International Airport; Uber; TripAdvisor; Vodafone; Southampton FC; TLT; Pinsent Masons; Omnicom/Fuse; Heathrow Airport; and Santander.

In 2019 the scheme will run in Belfast, Birmingham, Blackpool, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Dorset, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester and Oldham, Norwich, and Reading.

One of the students who took part in the Belfast Scheme in July said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the week I spent on the SMBP scheme in Belfast! I believe that the time I spent doing the enjoyable, interactive and relevant activities at some of the UK’s biggest companies cannot be undervalued, and will serve as a great asset on both my CV and university personal statement. The benefits of the SMBP will continue to serve me in the future also as not only will I be able to make use of their invaluable coaching platform, but I also now have a great, new network of business professionals as well as a group of new friends.” Ciaran McKeown, Belfast 2019 Alumni.

Press Contact

Barry Matthews, Founder: [email protected]

Notes to Editors

About The Social Mobility Business Partnership (SMBP)

SMBP is a charity (1174309) dedicated to broadening access to the legal and accountancy professions by delivering work insight and skills training and ongoing coaching support to secondary state school students from low income backgrounds.

SMBP starts with an induction where students learn about SRA, CILEx, Law Society of Scotland, Faculty of Advocates, Law Society of Northern Ireland, The Bar Standards Board, ICAEW, ACCA and ICAS graduate and non-graduate pathways to the professions, the future impact of AI on the delivery of professional services and the facts about university finance.

Students then attend a week of intensive skills training coupled with work insights. In this week, students visit four different companies (including, amongst others, BBC Studios, Dow Jones, Simply Business, Provident Financial, American Express, Yeo Valley, Amazon, BT, Aviva, Barclays and adidas), with a final day spent with a professional sports team (including Harlequins, Leeds Rhinos, Bristol Sport, Wasps and Manchester United) learning about the psychology of resilience and goal achievement models.

SMBP then provides virtual coaching; SMBP alumni can draw on the experience of legal professionals, accountants and business professionals for advice on the composition of their CVs/personal statements, completion of application forms and preparation for university and job interviews.

SMBP is an evolution of the multi award winning Legal Social Mobility Partnership (“LSMP”).

LSMP stemmed from a successful joint work experience initiative run by ITV and Slaughter and May in 2013 and Barry Matthews’ (CEO of SMBP) realisation that multiple in-house teams were also engaged with their panel firms on work experience.

Building on this successful pilot, a model for work insight and skills placements involving a week with different in-house legal teams and a professional sports club coupled with ongoing alumni support developed. Barry Matthews brought together Olswang, Arnold & Porter and Bird & Bird and client organisations Yahoo!, Microsoft and Viacom to create the model in 2014. Harlequins RUFC then agreed to come on board to provide a day of resilience training to students, and with that the LSMP was born.