Careers support for students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds

Career planning can be tricky. We know some students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds can also face specific challenges.

These may include: 

  • Exploring career ideas when you don’t know what’s out there; 
  • Getting quality work experience with fewer existing networks; or 
  • Having time to dedicate to career planning alongside other commitments. 

At the Careers Service, we provide dedicated support to address these challenges: 

Bristol Mentors

The Bristol Mentors scheme matches you with an alumni mentor. They can help you explore ideas, share advice, and give you an edge to break into the job sector that interests you.

Applications typically open in the Spring term – check your university emails. 

The words Bristol Mentors with two stduents smiling

In the meantime, you can make the most of the University of Bristol’s networks and find yourself a mentor

Internships and employability programmes 

Get paid work experience with a smaller organisation with the SME internship scheme.

Students talking on campus

When the scheme is open, we advertise internships on mycareer.

There is also an option to find your own internship. This means you can set up the internship at a time that works for you and the employer. This can be ideal if you are juggling other commitments. 

Employers are increasingly aware of the challenges faced by students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. They also recognise the value of having diverse staff at their organisation. Some employers offer specific internships and programmes to reach diverse groups of students. Examples include UpReach and Creative Access

We regularly share these opportunities through our dedicated resources and Flying Start newsletter. 

Dedicated resources and newsletter 

Have you seen our Support for under-represented students resource? It outlines support the range of support you can access at the Careers Service.

A student looking at their laptop

There is also advice on key topics including how to: 

  • Build your personal and professional network 
  • Make time for career planning alongside other commitments 
  • Research your career options  
  • Find inclusive employers. 

There is a dedicated page for students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. This includes examples of targeted opportunities offered by employers. 

Our Flying Start newsletter is sent during term-time. You will find events to develop your networks and skills, paid roles, and tips for career planning. Make sure it doesn’t go into your spam folder! 


Events are a great way to develop career insights and networks with a small time commitment. Relevant events include networking, employer talks, equality and diversity events and careers workshops. Check Flying Start newsletters for the latest events. 

Am I a student from a lower socioeconomic background? 

The term ‘lower socioeconomic background’ refers to those from a low-income household. The Bristol Bursary is paid to students with a lower household income at the University. Employers may have differing criteria, so make sure you check on an individual basis. 

Our support for under-represented students resource also has support and advice for students: