Friday, 31 August 2012

Inspire a generation

Question, can you remember how old you were when you first thought about going to university? 18? 25? or 50? Maybe even aged 11!

Back in the day

Thinking fondly back to when I was 11 years old I recall reading ‘Smash Hits’ magazine, covering my bedroom walls with freebie posters of East 17 (for my sins) and copying the very latest dance routines on MTV to perform at the next school disco.

Dreams of going to university during my final year at primary school were, to say the least not on my radar. But that was 1994; my equivalent in 2012 is much more clued up, ambitious and focussed on what they want from the future.

Savy School Kids

Hard to believe I know, but on the 3rd and 4th July this year approximately 200 Cheshire Year 6 primary school children demonstrated this shift in university awareness.
They attended an ‘Introduction to University’ event on our main campus, and before taking part in a jam packed schedule of teambuilding and aspirational workshops the students were asked how they currently felt about going to university.

The result?

Well out of the 200 little tots 86% said they would like to go to University. 86% who would have thought that?

Ok so you may think that’s just one group. Well, a few weeks later a further 30 Merseyside youngsters attended a campus event and of these budding scholars 85% confirmed they also had aspirations to go to university in the future.

Pre-empting your thoughts ‘that’s great Laura but why are you telling me this?’
I think it’s important to get an ‘A’ in our homework and embrace the prospect that whilst these little ones are learning about the past and present, they are also thinking about the future and in particular, their future.

The Lynx effect

Long gone are my secondary school experiences of future choices which took place in a broom cupboard style office opposite the ‘Lynx Africa’ drenched boys toilets (and if you were wondering no I didn’t pursue a suggested career in Travel and Tourism or make it as a famous actress).

Rather today, many Outreach, Widening Participation and academic colleagues just like us are working with thousands of youngsters providing quality information, advice and guidance on progressing to Higher Education, shouting ‘If you want to go to university, we will show you how to get there!’

Back to the Future

So over the next academic year when you see hundreds of our mini enthusiasts teamed in caps and gowns proudly strolling around campus to their mock graduation, not only do they look super cute but will be well informed about the journey to university and encouraged to achieve their hopes and dreams, whatever they may be.

The figures above illustrate that it’s never too early for students to think about their future so let’s support our schools and their students, work together and Olympics style ‘Inspire a generation!’

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