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The Hg Foundation announces £1.5m partnership renewal with upReach to increase socioeconomic diversity in tech

London, United Kingdom, 20th March 2024 – The Hg Foundation, a grant-giving charity focused on improving tech education and skills, is awarding a second grant of £1.5m to upReach to continue its partnership on the Tech500 programme, which was seed funded by the Foundation in 2021.


Only 9% of UK tech employees are reported to be from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, compared to 39% of the UK population. To combat this lack of socioeconomic diversity in the sector and to support students from lower income backgrounds to consider careers in tech, upReach founded the Tech500 programme. The programme serves 500 university students at any one time and during the three-year programme, they receive comprehensive personalised employability support, plus additional access to exclusive resources and events, such as an annual bootcamp, skills-building workshops, hackathons and mock assessment centres.


The Hg Foundation provided the seed funding to establish Tech500 in 2021 and through this first 3-year grant, almost 600 students have benefitted from the programme. All students are from households with incomes below £42k, 40% are female, and 83% are from ethnic minority backgrounds. The outcomes have been positive. 70% of the first cohort of Associates secured highly skilled graduate jobs and of all participants who have graduated from university already, 38% have secured technology roles. 659 offers have been made so far to students for internships, placement years and graduate roles.


This new £1.5m commitment to upReach will sustain the operations and development of the programme, meaning by the end of the next 2 years, 1,000 students will have been able to access the programme since inception. The grant will also support an independent evaluation of impact, to determine a causal link between upReach’s activities and employment outcomes.


Nick Bent, CEO of upReach, said: “"upReach is delighted to extend our impactful collaboration with The Hg Foundation on the Tech500 programme for a further two years. The Tech500 is truly ground-breaking, helping talented young people who lack confidence and connections to access the vital mentors, work experience, and internships needed for career success. Together with the Hg Foundation, we are committed to championing a future where diversity and talent can flourish in the tech industry."


Hayden, University of Exeter student and upReach Tech 500 alumnus: "I had the opportunity to attend many events including the Tech500 bootcamp, a hackathon with Samsung, a Datathon with PwC and Alteryx, and an Insight Day with FactSet. These allowed me to network with other Associates and industry professionals, but they also challenged me to work with others to form groups, ideate, create projects, and to present the results to different audiences. Through the development of my confidence and skills, and with the backing of my Programme Coordinator, I was able to enthusiastically apply to work in Japan in a tech role – something I had only considered a far-off dream. After honing my skills and applying to roles in Japan, I successfully secured an application engineer role at Rakuten."


Richard Donner, a Trustee of The Hg Foundation, said: “Ensuring bright students from lower income homes can get a foothold on the tech ladder is important for fairness, but also to meet the demand for future talent – which is why we're proud to renew our upReach partnership, focusing on socioeconomic diversity and social mobility. We’re delighted that our first grant three years ago helped establish an impactful programme, probably the biggest of its kind in the UK, that has seen scores of students complete internships and placement opportunities and receive job offers in tech. We look forward to another phase of partnership and following the bright futures of our Tech500 students and alumni as they embark on their careers.”


About the Hg Foundation:

The Hg Foundation’s vision is that the tech workforce of the future harnesses the talents of all, regardless of background.  It does this by supporting education and employment-based programmes across the UK, USA and Europe where it can demonstrate measurable, long-term and scalable impact and make a difference to those that need it most.  To date it has committed $25m to programmes that will reach over 50,000 young people and adults from under-represented backgrounds. The Hg Foundation is registered Charity no. 1189216.


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About upReach:

upReach is an award-winning social mobility charity driven by a vision of a society in which everybody has an equal opportunity to realise their full career potential, regardless of social background. Working in close partnership with leading employers and universities, they support 3,000 students from across the UK to discover a variety of career options, and develop the vital employability skills, networks and experiences needed to succeed in their chosen career and beyond.


Find out more at