Hartlepool college is part of a new project aimed at increasing the number of young people progressing to higher education.
The FutureMe initiative engages young people who come from areas associated with low participation rates.
Although there is a great focus on careers provision in schools and colleges in the region, the North East still has one of the lowest higher education progression rates in the country for 18-year-olds. According to UCAS, in 2016 young people in the North East were 38 per cent less likely to enter higher education than those living in London.
Hartlepool College is one of 29 universities and colleges in the region to be part of the North East Collaborative Outreach Programme (NECOP) set up to tackle this growing concern.
Hartlepool College already works with more than 700 students a year for Higher Education awareness and from September 2017 recruited a FutureMe programme co-ordinator to work with the existing award-winning careers team to embed student mentoring, group sessions, unique HE visits and tailored one-to-one sessions into college life.
Mark Lee, IAG team leader at the college, said: “The FutureMe project offers us the chance to re-energise Higher Education engagement. It gives us the staffing and support to be able to bring more innovation and HE awareness to learners. We're incredibly excited by the project and by working with Alan Cook (our FutureMe co-ordinator) we are already bringing more engagement opportunities to students than ever before."
The www.futureme.ac.uk website has also been launched to help young people and their parents and carers to learn more about the higher education options available to them.
The 18 Further Education Colleges and Sixth Form Colleges working on NECOP have plans in place to work intensively with over 3000 young people before the end of December 2018. Alongside this, a team of staff based across the five universities in the region will be working with almost 4000 young people regularly delivering a programme of intensive support in schools. Many more students will also be supported through individual events, talks and sessions.
As well as working to engage young people NECOP also has plans in place to support higher education progression in the North East by:
- Developing support for teachers and advisers in relation to higher education options
- Working with local communities to address issues to specific to them
- Carrying out a research project to investigate the barriers North East students face in relation to higher education.