‘Connect, upskill and empower’: An interview with the Lancs 93% Club

‘It’s important to us to be the change we want to see in our society’

For many students up and down the country, the thought of securing employment after graduation is a daunting prospect. CVs have to be written, job websites scoured, and Aldi vodka consumed to pluck up the courage. Therefore, it can all the more disheartening to go through the ordeal of job-seeking only to discover that your opportunities are being limited by your lack of familial connections.

Many postgraduates have struggled in the job market simply due to not coming from a background of economic privilege, and it is principally this injustice that the 93% Club aims to combat here at Lancaster University, equipping students with the tools necessary to realise their potential. We spoke to the Lancaster branch’s VP of Media and Marketing, Chloé Hampton to find out a little more about their motivations, goals, and advice on how students can get involved.

‘The hard part wasn’t getting in, it was fitting in’

When asked why the organisation was founded, Chloé explained that “Sophie Pender founded the first branch at the University of Bristol in 2016, after realising that ‘the hard part wasn’t getting in, it was fitting in’”. She furthermore provided context for the origins of the club’s name: “The 93 per cent of the country who are state educated still face widespread prejudice, and barriers that stop them getting into the universities and careers that are afforded to those who are privately educated.”

Since its establishment in 2016, the club has since expanded to 35 branches nationwide, with its foundation becoming a registered social mobility charity in 2020. As far as the Lancaster branch is concerned, Chloé informed us that it was set up in 2020 by Jamie Rogers, (now Head of Alumni at the foundation), with the LA1 branch’s specific purpose being “to represent the 90 per cent of our student body who are state educated, to foster a community and encourage a strong network of people from similar backgrounds.”

‘Connect, upskill, empower’

Once we had been informed of how the 93% club had been set up, our next question was why. To this, Chloé responded that the club’s mission statement was a simple one: “connect, upskill, empower”. To do this, the club deploys a number of methods, such as hosting “events and workshops, such as LinkedIn and CV sessions, designed to provide state-educated students with the skills necessary to succeed.

She said: “By creating this community, we can offer the types of connections that are inherently available to privately educated students, by facilitating networking with top graduate employers like P&G and Herbert Smith Freehills.”

By offering networking opportunities with leading businesses, the organisation is aiming to correct an imbalance of prospects between those privately and state-educated students through providing skills and connections.

‘We want to level the playing field’

Chloé next answered our question on why it was so important for people to get involved in a cause such as this, replying that: “It’s important to us to be the change we want to see in our society.

“By spreading awareness and building networks, we can boost employability and opportunities for all who engage with us. We want to level the playing field, and we can only do that if we all work together for the better.”

In the spirit of working together for the common good, Chloé let us know how students can get involved with the club. You can sign up to join the society on the LUSU website, with the opportunity to join the 2022/23 exec coming in the Summer Term.

‘Connections can be found everywhere’

A quandary that many readers unsure of their future might have is advice on how to make connections in the sector they’d like to work in. The advice of the 93% Club Lancaster is that “connections can be found everywhere! Attend as many networking events, workshops, and graduate recruitment days as you can, and never be afraid to strike up a conversation with someone! You never know how valuable they may be to you.”

Those looking for more in-depth advice on employability may want to keep an eye out for some of the club’s upcoming events, such as an Insight Day and their annual “Employability Week”, which saw over 400 students involved along with six major graduate employers.

If you are interested in joining the 93% Club Lancaster, or simply have any further queries, feel free to message them on Instagram.

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