iQ and upReach double ambition for iQ Thrive Academy

  • iQ Thrive Academy announces a doubling in size to support 80 students from underrepresented groups to access top quality career support.
  • The Academy offers access to employability skills, events, mentoring schemes, and internships to improve graduate employability and social mobility.
  • As part of the expansion of the iQ Thrive Academy an additional 10 students will be awarded free accommodation for the 2024/25 academic year, taking the total number to 20.

As the iQ Thrive Academy approaches its first anniversary, iQ and social mobility charity upReach have announced that the award-winning programme will double in size for its second year – supporting 80 students to build the life-changing skills they need to secure top graduate jobs through a three-year employability skills, mentoring, and work experience programme.

The iQ Thrive Academy was launched in response to data that shows that, despite a greater number of working-class students going to university than ever before, barriers to securing a top job are still in place: A student from a working-class background with a first-class degree from a top university is still less likely to secure an elite job than a more privileged student who achieves a 2.2 from a top university.

As part of a solution to this problem and seeking to bridge the progression gap for those students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, the iQ Thrive Academy provides undergraduates with the opportunity to access career support, tap into wider professional networks, and develop the skills they need to secure graduate jobs.  

By expanding the programme, 80 students will now benefit from being part of the iQ Thrive Academy, and iQ will now be offering 20 students a free accommodation bursary for the 2024/25 academic year, making the university experience more accessible.

In the first year of the programme, the iQ Thrive Academy has delivered meaningful benefit to the students who are already part of the initiative:

  • All 40 students have taken part in the first year of upReach’s three-year employability skills programme;
  • All 40 students had access to iQ’s national portfolio of properties, to provide opportunities to use the company’s wide range of social and study spaces and meet other students;
  • 16 students from the programme have been matched with iQ mentors, giving these students access to the professional expertise of a range of senior iQ employees;
  • 10 students have benefited from free accommodation for the 2023/24 academic year;
  • 7 students completed either work experience or an internship at iQ’s head office over the summer, including in Finance, Marketing, Legal and HR.

Speaking of his experience with the iQ Thrive Academy, Associate Raahil Mind, MEng Mechanical Engineering said: "Being mentored by an iQ professional helped me gain insights into how to develop yourself professionally and how to maintain high aspirations. I never considered that I would be able to have a connection with someone that's so high up within a massive company but actually have that ability to speak to someone at that level makes it feel as if it's a lot more possible."

Alex Moon, iQ’s Chief of Staff and General Counsel said: We could not be prouder of the impact that the iQ Thrive Academy has had in its first year. Having heard from the students how important the programme has been, I am delighted that we will be doubling the programme’s reach with our partners upReach, so that more students will benefit from the three-year employability programme, as well as the unique benefits that iQ brings – from work experience to mentoring, to the free accommodation bursaries we offer.”

Nick Bent, CEO of upReach commented: “We are delighted that iQ have doubled the capacity of the iQ Thrive Academy programme, reflecting their unwavering commitment to boosting social mobility. Socio-economic inequality is a very real and pervasive problem in the UK, so additional career support is crucial to ensure students from lower socio-economic backgrounds are not left behind. This expanded programme opens up invaluable opportunities for undergraduates to boost their employability through 1-to-1 coaching, work experience, and mentoring. We would like to thank iQ for their on-going, generous support, which will have a profound impact on the future success of these students as they pursue competitive graduate roles.”

To learn more about the Thrive Academy, please visit: