Rising Stars

We’re running a special Rising Stars week from 20th – 24th June to support you this summer.

At Essex, we celebrate diversity and believe that every student, regardless of their background or circumstance, should have the same opportunity to thrive and achieve their potential. But consistent gaps in degree outcomes for certain groups of students*, through no fault of their own, proves there is still a long way to go to truly level the playing field.

We created Rising Stars to face this challenge head on, to ensure that each individual feels represented, empowered and confident in the possibilities and potential of what they can achieve. If you are a first or second year undergraduate student and can relate to this, we want to hear from you! Rising Stars has your success at the heart of its mission.

Don’t wait until your final year to take charge of your future.

Background information

Rising Stars was initially established in partnership with graduate recruiters to improve social mobility. By providing career development opportunities for our students and working with employers who are passionate about equality and understand the true value of a diverse workforce, we hope to address long standing inequalities in graduate outcomes and help to level the playing field for Essex graduates facing an increasingly competitive job market.

In 2021/22 we will be focusing our efforts on welcoming and supporting first year undergraduates from diverse backgrounds after what has been an extremely challenging time. By nurturing up-and-coming talent from the start, Rising Stars aims to set the foundations for your future success and ultimately bridge the gaps that exist in graduate outcomes.

As the first release of HESA’s Graduate Outcomes Survey has shown, fifteen months after graduating from university, UK-domiciled graduates from BAME backgrounds are 8% less likely to be in full-time graduate employment than their White peers (54% versus 62%) and BAME graduates were also more likely to be unemployed than White graduates.
Gabi Binnie, Policy and Research Manager at AGCAS – Oct 2020

This statement is further supported by the Office for Students’ analysis of differences in student outcomes:

Ethnicity: Black graduates have a 69 per cent rate of highly skilled employment or further study, while the rate for white graduates is 74 per cent. This gap decreased from 7.0 percentage points in 2013-14 to 5.0 percentage points in 2015-16.

This analysis also highlighted other long-standing inequalities which are still present today:

Disability: The gap between graduates without a disability and graduates in receipt of DSA has increased: from 2.0 percentage points in 2013-14 to 2.6 percentage points in 2015-16. The gap between disabled graduates not in receipt of DSA and those without a disability has increased from 2.2 percentage points in 2013-14 to 2.8 percentage points in 2015-16.

Educational disadvantage: POLAR classifies local areas into five groups based on the proportion of young people who enter higher education aged 18 or 19 years old. Quintile one shows the lowest rate of participation. Quintile five shows the highest rate of participation. POLAR quintile one graduates have the lowest percentage in highly skilled employment or further study while quintile five graduates have the highest proportion in highly skilled employment or further study.

By providing opportunities to learn new skills, raise awareness and increase access to career development opportunities, we hope that Rising Stars can help students to overcome these inequalities through supporting them to:

  • Develop and recognise their unique skillset
  • Believe in their potential
  • Grow confident
  • Build their resilience
  • Increase their commercial awareness
  • Develop new networks
  • Explore different career development opportunities
  • Plan for the future

Please note – whilst Rising Stars is an inclusive programme that is open to all, spaces are limited and priority may be given to students who are more likely to be impacted by the long standing inequalities highlighted above as part of this positive action measure.

Get in touch
Rebecca Payne