Chair of Trustees


Do you think that your socio-economic background should determine your career prospects? upReach’s vision is of a society in which everybody has an equal opportunity to realise their full career potential. We help young people from less-advantaged backgrounds achieve their career potential by providing an intensive programme of support that addresses socio-economic barriers to graduate employment.

Our work is important because while more students from disadvantaged backgrounds are now getting into university, relatively few go on to secure prestigious graduate jobs. Indeed, those from comprehensive schools are up to 17 times less likely than those from selective schools to secure graduate roles at some top employers, where 70% of graduates went to private or grammar schools that educate just 11% of the population.

We are seeking a new Chair to lead the trustee board as upReach embark on the next chapter of their growth. The successful candidate will be an individual with gravitas and credibility, with the ability to act in an ambassadorial role as well as build and develop strong relationships and utilise their networks.

This individual may have experience of strategic leadership at a senior level, board experience within a charity or have knowledge of the charity sector gained from either a governance or executive perspective. They should be commercially astute and comfortable with fundraising and leveraging their networks.

About upReach:

upReach help disadvantaged students from across the UK to realise their potential. Our team of Programme Coordinators provide a highly personalised programme of support to each undergraduate student (each known as an “upReach Associate”). Through successful partnerships with forty top employers and universities, we offer Associates access to a comprehensive range of opportunities and activities to broaden their horizons, understand career pathways and develop the skills, networks and experiences needed for career success.

Associates are supported through our unique programme of application support, soft skills workshops, video forums (small group, online seminar-style sessions), mentoring and professional work experience. We collaborate closely with other charities in our sector to maximise our joint impact. From working with 400 Associates in 2015, we have this year supported over 1300, while maintaining our personalised approach and expanding the support offered.

Following extensive consultation over the last six months, including input from the upReach team and Advisory Group, our strategy for the next three years has been finalised. We plan to provide a personalised model of support to 2,500 students in 2022, and to use our experience supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds to influence employer behaviours, helping to create a level playing field.

upReach is a relatively young charity, but an ambitious one. We have invested in class-leading technology to facilitate, deliver and evaluate our programmes. The upReach Graduate Employability Framework (GEF), against which all of our activities are mapped, enables students to understand their employability and plan their learning. We built to provide all students with a means to measure their employability using the GEF. Our contextualised grade model, REALrating, is used to better understand academic potential rather than relying on grades alone.

upReach’s current partners include Aviva, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the Civil Service Fast Stream, Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, McKinsey, Slaughter and May, Unilever and Wellcome. We also partner with universities such as Cardiff, Exeter, King’s College, Liverpool and Warwick to name a few.

To find out more about upReach and how we support our students, visit our website and
read our Annual Report.

The Role:

upReach are looking for an exceptional and committed Chair to lead our Board of Trustees. Having tripled our income and number of beneficiaries over the last 3 years, we are looking for someone passionate about social mobility who has the experience and networks to help us continue to scale, and further increase our impact in the years ahead.

The Trustee Board:

  • Following planned appointments, the upReach board will consist of eleven trustees including the Chair and four “alumni” who were formerly upReach associates.
  • Trustees meet four times per year, currently from 6:30-8:30pm on a Tuesday evening.
  • An Annual Strategy Day is typically scheduled to take place in July.
  • The Chair and Chief Executive agree the Agenda a month in advance, based on a calendar of core topics, ensuring all key items are covered during the year.
  • Board Papers are sent two weeks in advance.
  • Depending on availability, trustees may occasionally attend upReach events, such as the Student Social Mobility Awards.

The duties of the Chair include:

  • Providing leadership to the organisation and the board.
  • Chairing and facilitating board meetings.
  • Giving direction to board policy-making.
  • Checking that decisions taken at meetings are implemented.
  • Representing the organisation at functions and meetings, and acting as a spokesperson as appropriate.
  • Bringing impartiality and objectivity to decision-making.

With the Chief Executive:

  • Planning the annual cycle of board meetings and other general meetings where required, for example annual general meeting.
  • Setting agendas for board and other general meetings.
  • Developing the board of trustees including induction, training, appraisal and succession planning.


  • Liaising with the chief executive to keep an overview of the organisation’s affairs and to provide support as appropriate.
  • Leading the process of supporting and appraising the performance of the CEO.
  • Sitting on appointment and disciplinary panels as appropriate.

Person specification

  • Senior leadership experience:
    • Executive or non-executive leadership experience at board or C level in a significant sized organisation, having taken the lead and guided corporate boards and/or executive teams to scale, make difficult decisions and find solutions to problems.
  • Charity board experience:
    • Experience of charity governance and / or working within a board of trustees, preferably in the education or employment sectors
  • Fundraising and Networks:
    • Commercially astute and comfortable with fundraising – specifically leveraging their networks and being prepared to make “the ask”.
  • Knowledge of the broader social mobility sector, including the type of work undertaken by upReach.
  • Tact and diplomacy
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Impartiality, fairness and the ability to respect confidences

Application Process:

Please submit a CV and covering letter for the attention of our current Chair, Mark Fuller to

In your covering letter, please include details of your:

(a) senior leadership experience,
(b) charity or charity board experience and
(c) fundraising experience and networks relevant to upReach.

In addition, please confirm your availability for interview in Central London at the below times:

First round interview: 5th or 8th July 2019, 5-7pm
Final interview: 12th or 15th July 2019, 5-7pm

The deadline for applications is midnight on 30th June 2019. The successful candidate will be invited to handover from the current Chair in August/September 2019.

If you would like to arrange an informal discussion about the role, please contact the CEO, John by emailing

upReach is committed to equal opportunities and does not discriminate in recruitment matters on the basis of race, colour, religion, gender, age, disability, or any other protected characteristic. We value workplace diversity and the positive impact it has in organisations. We are working hard to achieve diversity in our Board and team, and to make our roles and culture inclusive.

We can make reasonable adjustments throughout the application process and in the role. If you have particular accessibility needs, please get in touch and let us know any requirements you may have.

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