The North East Uni Connect Programme is a collaborative project, led by Newcastle University, involving all of the universities and colleges in the North East to support young people access higher education through its FutureMe programme. In the 2018-19 academic year, the programme reached 13,255 young people and is set to continue until 2021.
FutureMe activity is aimed at young people residing in areas where progression to higher education is low, and lower than expected based on academic attainment. Activity aims to inform students about the range of higher education opportunities available and how these can help them be successful in the future. Students studying a range of qualifications are shown that there is no set path to higher education and given the tools to make an application. A team of staff based at each of the North East universities deliver this activity in 96 schools across the region, while staff in each of the colleges work with their own student population during their Level 3 study.
Before taking part in FutureMe activity Paige, who is now studying a Foundation Degree in Police and Criminal Justice Studies, said:
‘I was unsure if higher education would be for me. I would put barriers in my way; I didn’t think the workload would be manageable, I didn’t think I could learn how to reference, and didn’t think I would have much of a social life.’
The activities offered as part of the FutureMe programme saw Paige attend university visit days, an outdoor pursuits centre, and talks and workshops focussed on the application process. These activities have not only given students the knowledge needed to apply but have also provided the opportunity for students to develop the skills needed to succeed in higher education. Speaking on her experience of the activities Paige said:
‘When completing some of the challenging activities I realised I can achieve anything if I keep going and don’t put barriers in my way’.
Elsewhere in the region students have been taking part in student life carousel events which see them learn more about student finance, student accommodation, budgeting, cooking, and social activities available to students. New College Durham has also delivered events specific to vocational career areas such as Sport and subjects allied to Medicine. These activities have led to Lewis, a student at New College Durham, progressing on to a Foundation Degree in Applied Sport and Exercise Science after he was inspired by meeting current higher education students at the college.
NEUCP is funded by the Office for Students’ Uni Connect Programme (formerly the National Collaborative Outreach Programme) until 2021 and will continue to support students in the region to recognise their potential.
- The North East Uni Connect Programme is a partner of the Uni Connect Programme funded by the Office for Students. The Office for Students is the independent regulator for higher education in England. Our aim is to ensure that every student, whatever their background, has a fulfilling experience of higher education that enriches their lives and careers.
- FutureMe is the name given to activity delivered by the North East Uni Connect Programme (NEUCP). NEUCP is a partnership between all of the universities and colleges in the North East.