Outreach event helps Preston pupils boost sector skills

Event was organised by Future U, an initiative led by UCLan

100 secondary school pupils from Preston are reaping the benefits after developing knowledge and skills relating to a range of industries, through a countywide programme designed to stimulate interest in higher education.

The Sector Skills Day at Brownedge St Mary’s Catholic High School saw Year 9 and 10 students participate in activities linked to sectors including advanced manufacturing, visitor economy and finance, including organising a festival and presiding over the selling of company shares.

The event was supported by Future U, a collaborative programme which creates opportunities for young people across Lancashire in order to increase rates of progression on to higher education.

It focused on delivering an understanding of the different sectors through workshops, where pupils developed skills including managing money and teamwork, while details of relevant courses and opportunities available locally were also provided.

Future U, a £2.2 million initiative, is led by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and involves institutions and organisations across the county, including Edge Hill University, Lancaster University, the University of Cumbria, Blackburn College, Myerscough College and West Lancashire College.

The programme 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 9 to 13 in areas across England where higher education participation is lower than expected.

53 networks of schools, colleges, higher education providers and local agencies work together to create activities tailored to the needs of their own area.

Feedback from the pupils who took part in the event at Brownedge was positive, with many saying it had really got them thinking about what they wanted to do upon leaving school.

James Gallagher, an outreach officer at Future U, said: “A key part of the work done through the Future U programme is the identification of areas around the county where there is a significant proportion of pupils achieving the grades required to progress onto higher education yet choosing not to take that route. It might be there are certain barriers in the way, for example.

“We can then tailor the outreach events to meet the needs of the pupils, as well as addressing the requirements of that particular region. For example, the Sector Skills Day was developed as a result of research into areas in which certain industries are growing and where jobs will be created, to help prevent skills gaps and ensure a bright future for Lancashire.

“Feedback from the pupils who took part in the event at Brownedge was positive, with many saying it had really got them thinking about what they wanted to do upon leaving school.

“It’s important to help make young people aware of their options at an early age so they can gain a better understanding of the steps they can take.”

For more information about Future U, email Futureuadmin@uclan.ac.uk, call 01772 894111 or visit https://lancashirefutureu.org.uk/.

Students joined in a range of activities on the day

Press Office | 10 January 2019