Bright Futures: Working with IntoUniversity
Thanks to your generosity, IntoUniversity North Liverpool is well into its second year of success, with more than 1,100 local children attending to take advantage of the centre’s support services.
The Anfield centre is a collaboration between educational charity IntoUniversity, the University of Liverpool and the Liverpool Football Club Foundation, set up to help young people in Anfield to do better at school and believe in their ability to get to university. The project, which has benefited from nearly £200,000 in donations by alumni and supporters of the University.
We caught up with Pete Doyle, Widening Participation and Outreach Manager at the University of Liverpool, who works closely on the project:
Why were you interested in getting involved with IntoUniversity?
The high intensity nature of the work, with such an area of need really appealed to me. I was also excited to see how a partnership with the LFC Foundation could help our students. Being involved from the very start was exciting to see it develop from an empty building up to a vibrant centre was really rewarding.
I think the work is exceptionally important because we provide support and advice that could be missing from the students’ lives. We level the playing field in terms of access to information and opportunities the students might not feel they are able to attain, not fulfilling their potential through the misguided assumption that this ‘isn’t for them’. Anyone who has seen the enthusiasm, effort and energy of one of our groups can’t help but feel positive and proud of the work we do.
Tell us about what you do, how long have you worked in Widening Participation, why is it important to you?
I’ve worked here for 15 years, currently I am one of the Widening Participation Managers with a focus on pre-16 work. This means my team promotes university to the youngest school students from Primary age up to GCSE students before passing them on to our older projects. This takes place through visits to the University, in school presentations, summer schools, one-to-one mentoring and long term projects in Medicine, Law and Vet Science.
We also have some niche projects for particularly underrepresented groups, such as Children who have been in Care and certain ethnic minorities.
How important are donors to the project?
The donors are vital to the IntoUniversity project. Their generosity makes the work and the positive outcomes possible and we can highlight them as role models to the young people we engage with. All of the donors I have met have had a genuine interest in the work we do and we are hugely grateful for all the time and assistance they can give back to the University of Liverpool.
What has been your highlight of the partnership with IntoUniversity over the last year?
Finding out students from our local centre have started university really hits home what an impact the work has and how local lives are being changed by it.
What makes IntoUniversity's programme stand out?
The repetition and targeted work with schools means that a great understanding and partnership is build up. The way the students are engaged is always really creative and you can see how much fun they are having while they are learning.
Do you have any exciting plans for the academic year ahead?
We’re really proud and excited to be hosting the Mentoring Graduation for two local centres in June. We think it’s important to recognise and celebrate the effort and achievement of these groups and share the experience with families and our donors, who are always happy to receive an update on the impact the partnership is having.