Queen Mary University of London: Queen Mary students win scholarship boosting social mobility in the City

Idris and Tyron started the 15-month development programme last month, which will see them get first-hand experience in problem solving within a high-pressure corporate environment. They will also benefit from skills workshops, interview coaching, networking, mentoring, support with job applications and careers advice. By the end of 2023, they will have completed various work shadowing placements and given an interview for a training contract at Freshfields.

Speaking about his experience so far, Tyron said: “I’m still in the very early stages of this journey; however, from the insight day and assessment centres alone, I’ve gained an incredible amount. I’ve been able to meet and converse with accomplished City professionals and fellow students, which has given me a better perspective to careers and life in general. I’m extremely grateful to be part of an empowering scheme that will undoubtedly leave a legacy to inspire black men in the future.”

Applicants must be in their first year of study at a UK university and are evaluated using non-traditional methods to innovatively assess for potential across a wide variety of criteria, with no minimum grade requirement. Overall, the scheme endeavours to provide its scholars with the skills and confidence to thrive during their studies and beyond.

Giving advice to students who may be interested in applying for the scholarship in future, Tyron commented: “I’d say enter the process with an open mind and willingness to learn more about yourself, others, and careers. It sounds very cliché but be yourself. In doing so, you’ll also find that you gain a lot more from the experience – whether that be mentors, friends, or a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses.”

The award was created in memory of Stephen Lawrence, a talented and ambitious young black man from London who was killed in a racist attack aged just 18. Established by Stephen’s mother Doreen Lawrence (Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon OBE) and international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in 2013, it aims to open up career opportunities in the City and address the disproportionate under-representation of black men from less socially mobile backgrounds.