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Raising aspiration and achievement in Leeds

Our One Million Futures ambition is all about helping people from all walks of life to access opportunities and overcome barriers to employment.

Since 2017, 68 volunteers from our Leeds office have made an important contribution to the work of charity IntoUniversity which, through its learning centres and wider programmes, supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve a university place or other chosen aspiration.

IntoUniversity was co-founded by former university lecturer, Chief Executive Dr Rachel Carr OBE, who saw that the students she lectured were not representative of the young people from the housing estate near to her home.

Among its programme of support, the charity has pioneered the idea of ‘early and often’ support, introducing children as young as seven to the idea of university and careers, and provides students from disadvantaged backgrounds with the support that is more commonplace in the homes of better-off peers.

Positive role models

Our people have fulfilled important mentoring and advice-giving roles to 143 students, either on a one to one basis or at workshops. Whether providing expert advice on students’ CVs and personal statements, helping to develop their interview skills or encouraging creativity and entrepreneurial skills through business-challenge sessions, their work as positive role models has helped students in a range of ways.

Some students have gained work experience, through successful applications for internships and company insight days, while others have grown in confidence and developed life skills. After taking part in a session with senior members of the firm, students were struck by the importance of learning skills like networking as they talked to people they had never met before and who shared similar ambitions in business.

Virtual learning

To help the charity tackle educational inequality on a larger scale, through pro bono work and a £100,000 grant from our One Million Futures fund, we were also able to support its first ‘Virtual Learning Environment’.

In practice, this online tool brings together a wide range of interactive materials and will be accessed by up to 1,500 students in receipt of academic support from IntoUniversity. It is designed to support those who face socio-economic barriers that can make it less likely they will reach Higher Education.

Linking to the national curriculum, it broadens students’ educational horizons by introducing them to subjects they are unlikely to be taught at school including anthropology, astronomy, sports science and, soon to be added, PPE (politics, philosophy and economics). Additionally, it engages young people with content they can share with their family at home.

“The partnership has provided consistent and high-quality support for our students and staff in Leeds, as well as driving IntoUniversity’s growth as a national charity.”

Dr Rachel Carr OBE, Chief Executive and co-founder of IntoUniversity.

One Million Futures

Launched in 2016, One Million Futures is our ambition to help one million people get to where they want to be through access to education and employment. We’re supporting over 60 inspiring social enterprises, charities and schools with pro bono, volunteering and fundraising.

One Million Futures is part of our Global WorldClass commitment to help 50 million futures prepare for a world of opportunity.

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