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The University of Southampton
Careers and Employability ServiceStudents

Advance Programme

Are you from a background under-represented in Higher Education or the professional workplace? Did you know you could have particular skills, perspectives and qualities, which would be a huge benefit to any employer? In fact there are many employers actively seeking people like you!



COVID-19 guidance

As we are sure you will appreciate, we are currently in an unprecedented  situation with the outbreak of coronavirus, which has significantly affected the Advance Programme. We appreciate that these circumstances may be giving you cause for concern and we are aiming to do everything possible to support  you. Therefore, we have put together advice and guidance that relates to all Work Experience Programmes which you may find helpful.

Please read our dedicated guidance document HERE


The Advance Programme is a professional development opportunity launched by the Careers and Employability Service to enable social mobility. It offers you the opportunity to take part in the following:

Advance students visit the British Consulate

The Advance Programme is for UK-based undergraduate students from groups under-represented in the Higher Education system. 

If you have any questions about the programme please email

To take part in the Advance Programme you must be an undergraduate UK student from a Widening Participation background currently enrolled on a programme of study at the University of Southampton.

What is Widening Participation?

Widening Participation (WP) to higher education is a strategic priority for the UK government, the Higher Education sector and the University of Southampton.

‘WP’ agendas aim to address any discrepancies between different social groups taking up opportunities within Higher Education and to support students who are from an under-represented group.

Who is it aimed at?

Under-represented groups:

  • A care leaver

or a student meeting at least two of the following criteria:

  • Have a household income below £25k
  • From a low socio-economic group (NS-SEC Group 4-7)
  • Living in a Low Participation Neighbourhood (POLAR quintiles 1 or 2)
  • Have a declared disability
  • From a BME background
  • A mature student
  • Living in an area of high deprivation (below average IMD - Index of Multiple Deprivation)

If you are unsure whether you are from a Widening Participation background please email


Each semester the Advance Programme will run a series of workshops to equip you to thrive in the job application process and in the workplace after you graduate. Workshops focus on building your social and cultural capital, as well as building a network of peers as you look to enter the workplace. There will also be an emphasis on helping you realise and utilise the unique strengths you can bring to an employer because of your background.

All workshops take place in an informal, welcoming atmosphere, with refreshments provided.

Last year, workshops featured content from Investment 2020, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and the Civil Service Fast Stream, receiving hugely positive feedback from participating students.

“It has made me a lot more confident generally & professionally has made me more secure in my skillset. I owe a lot to this programme & am extremely grateful to be given the opportunity. Exposure to many employers was brilliant and discussions regarding careers in such an environment were very good.”

“The workshops have given me a lot more faith that employers are open to all kinds of students”

- Advance Workshop Series Students 2019



workshop group photo
Students at an Advance workshop

In view of the situation regarding COVID-19, the Advance Programme Summer School 2020 has been postponed until further notice.


In 2019 employer partners of the summer included J.P. Morgan and The Rose Road Association, a local charity working with young people with disabilities.

Last year’s summer school also included a trip to Westminster to visit the Civil Service Fast Stream. As well as a tour of the houses of Parliament, students experienced behind the scenes insight into government departments, as well as hearing talks on leadership from a diverse panel of senior Civil Servants plus a Q and A session with a government minister.

“100% the best thing I’ve done during my whole university experience.”

“By being exposed to such desirable and transferable skills such as communication, leadership and presentation, I feel more equipped for interviews and job applications thereby improving my employability prospect.”

“I have become more aware about my strengths and opportunities available to me and also how diverse organisations are.”

- Advance Summer School Students 2019

The winning team of the challenge day receive their certificates
Students at the Supreme Court
Advance students visit the Supreme Court

In light of government guidance regarding non-UK travel, the Advance International Opportunity for 2019/20 is currently under review and may be postponed or cancelled.


In order to grow your global awareness, each year the Advance Programme will look to embark on a trip oversees. The trip will give you the opportunity to connect with alumni based internationally, gaining perspectives on business and industry, as well as visiting the key sights and experiencing local cultures.

The 2019 international opportunity was to New York, including visits to alumni at their offices, a day in a business school, a visit to the British Consulate, as well as visits to a Broadway show, a baseball game and the Empire State Building.

“The international trip really put me out of my comfort zone and challenged me in such a positive way. It allowed me to build a fantastic network of peers and gain a different level of confidence in talking to others on a deeper level.”

“Leading up to the trip I would never have imagined being able to go on a trip to another country with practically strangers, but the trip itself (as well as the people) was fantastic, so it has proven to me what I can do certainly increasing my confidence.

I have greater understanding of the responsibilities of employers and employees regarding hiring practices, expectations and the many differences that exist in every workplace.”

-      Advance Students 2019

new york
Advance students in Central Park

All eligible students will have received an invitation to the Advance Launch Event 2019/20 on their university email account.

Please check your email for the link and password to book in on Eventbrite or email David on to enquire as to your eligibility.

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