A new digital platform creating a community of professionals and those pursuing a given career but who may face barriers due to discrimination or prejudice is being launched.
TipStart, founded in July by a group of seven graduates, aged 23 to 28, has exceeded target sign ups, averaging seven per day, despite still being in a soft launch stage.
Co-founder of TipStart Eleanor Sheldon, 23, said: “We set up TipStart as a community for people with a shared goal to take on privilege, nepotism and barriers to equal opportunity, and to help people realise their ambitions.
“It started as an idea following the harrowing murder of George Floyd which reminded the world how deeply embedded racism and prejudice are still in the fabric of communities.”
The Social Mobility Commission’s 2019 poll on privilege and employment revealed 44% of participants agreed where you end up in society is largely determined by your background. Only 35% believed everyone has a chance to ‘get on’ and find employment.
TipStart’s five targets areas are law, finance, government and policy, journalism and consulting.
The programme will match professionals (TipSters) with those facing barriers (TipStarters).
Tipsters will commit a few hours each month to provide inside knowledge and tips to help initiate a TipStarter’s career.
This may be in a zoom meeting or in person over coffee.
TipStarters include, but are not limited to, first generation university students, black and ethnic minority people and people with disabilities.
Miss Sheldon noted: “We believe young people’s careers should reflect their talent, hard-work and choices, not their background or personal connections, but sadly in the UK today it often does not.”
The target areas are not just TipStart founders’ areas of expertise, but the main sectors found to have disproportional employee configurations.
Miss Sheldon said: “One example is the legal profession which has a strong perception of being elitist. Often people self-select themselves out of applying in the first place.”
She added: “We know people from a range of backgrounds get into universities, it is not that people aren’t able to do it, but they then have barriers that block them from careers.”
Miss Sheldon said: “The rate of people securing high quality employment post university still very much varies depending on their backgrounds.”
TipStart also provides young people to access information about careers they want to pursue including interview advice or opportunities they can apply for.
Miss Sheldon said: “The tips, networks and experiences shared within these new relationships will make the difference.”
The platform has received a hugely positive response from professionals wanting to sign up and people endorsing the cause, including MP Sharon Hodgson.
TipStarter enrolment opens in September to coincide with graduate schemes and students returning to university.