Private equity firm YFM bids to break down industry barriers through mentoring and internships

YFM Equity Partners has committed to helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds gain access to careers in private equity through a new internship programme and mentoring scheme.

YFM will take on three university student interns next month, across its Leeds, Manchester, and London offices, as part of its partnership with social mobility charity, upReach.

The firm has also committed to providing 240 hours of one-to-one mentoring to help upskill less advantaged students.

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Members of the YFM team will support students in exploring career options, expanding their networks and developing key employability skills, such as professionalism and commercial awareness.

Adam Hart, investment director and UpReach lead at YFM in Leeds.Adam Hart, investment director and UpReach lead at YFM in Leeds.
Adam Hart, investment director and UpReach lead at YFM in Leeds.

Working across the UK, upReach helps disadvantaged students to realise their potential through a highly personalised programme of support.

The charity partners with top employers and universities to provide students with access to a comprehensive range of opportunities and activities to broaden their horizons.

All students on the upReach programme are UK state school educated; 75 per cent grew up with a household income of less than £25,000, and 75 per cent are the first generation in their family to attend university.

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YFM said the programme has been highly successful with 93 per cent of UpReach students entering professional graduate employment or further education.

Adam Hart, investment director and UpReach lead at YFM, inset, said: “We take diversity and inclusivity seriously at YFM; and can see the positive impact that having a diverse team – be it background and knowledge, cultural, or personal diversity – has on creating new ideas and developing different ways of working.

"Our partnership with upReach is part of this.

"I’m sure that the key issue holding back people from working-class backgrounds like mine is not knowing the right people, and there is a definite need to remove this obstacle in our industry - which has lagged behind others in terms of accessibility. We're proud to be helping to change the status quo.”

"The current lack of socio-economic diversity at senior levels in UK financial and professional services is well-publicised and acts to the detriment of the sector by limiting access to a wider talent pool.

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"We're excited to have the opportunity to be introduced to some exceptional young students, who will enrich our team and, no doubt, help us to nurture a pipeline of stand-out talent for our future."

UpReach received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2022, one of the UK’s most prestigious business accolades, after accelerating the support it offered during Covid-19, tripling in size, and launching new initiatives.

UpReach said its ambitious three-year strategy for 2022-25 aims to further address inequalities, reaching more students in social mobility coldspots across the UK and helping to create a level playing field for everyone.