Future U Ambassador provided insight into higher education journey
Young people in Lancashire were given a valuable insight into university life thanks to a programme
A group of 20 first and second year students from West Lancashire College’s Public Services course were paid a visit by Future U Student Ambassador Robin Duffy, who delivered an inspirational session as part of the programme’s Student Life Talks.
Robin Duffy, 23, is studying an MSc in Disaster Management at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), after achieving a degree in Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation.
Sharing his own experiences, Robin provided an in-depth overview of all aspects of university life, including applying for places, obtaining student finance, arranging accommodation, managing timetables, budgeting and exploring extra-curricular activities.
Future U is a £2.2 million Lancashire initiative led by UCLan and involves institutions and organisations across the county, including Lancaster University, Edge Hill University, the University of Cumbria, Blackburn College, Myerscough College and West Lancashire College.
A network of 53 schools, in addition to colleges, higher education providers and local agencies work together to create activities tailored to the needs of their own.
Robin said: “It’s exciting to achieve your goal and being at university showed me that it’s possible. I have had lots of experiences at university including a field trip to Arizona to investigate a plane crash, playing for the university football team and spending my summers working as a camp leader at Camp America.
“I have done so much in such a short space of time and it’s possible for anyone. That’s why I aim to inspire future students and once I have my MA, hopefully work for the New York Police Department in the future.”
I have done so much in such a short space of time and it’s possible for anyone. That’s why I aim to inspire future students and once I have my MA, hopefully work for the New York Police Department in the future.
Jessica Richmond, an outreach officer at Future U, coaches student ambassadors like Robin to deliver motivational talks in schools and colleges around the county.
She said: “We find that college students can relate to university students as they find them inspiring. The talks show students that ‘someone like me’ can go to university and demonstrate that there is so much more to university than just studying.
“We want to allow pupils to explore their strengths, interests and ambitions to realise what possibilities there are for young people wanting to go on into further education. There are opportunities out there that need to be grabbed and Future U can highlight those possibilities."
Mike Cooney, Public Services course team leader at West Lancashire College, added: “Guest speakers contribute to student enrichment and gives them inspiration for future career opportunities, to see real life situations of comparable learners who have been successful.”
Future U received funding from the Office for Students (OfS) as part of its £60 million National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP).
NCOP is a national network of local partnerships which provides higher education outreach to young people from years nine to 13 in areas across England where higher education participation is lower than expected.