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Careers experts extend a helping hand for students

An outreach programme helping more East Lancashire teenagers start higher education is finding new ways to offer advice despite the school lockdown.

Future U, which aims to increase the numbers of young people considering university, has been supplying remote challenges for students who should be studying at school.

The challenges involve students exploring topics such as health and social care, business studies, marketing and games development – all designed to get the students thinking about potential future careers.

The challenges are aimed at young people aged between 13 and 18 who live in areas with lower than average rates of progressing into higher education.

Each task involves a different employability skill, from designing a creative Easter Egg which can be marketed into a profitable business product with projected costs and profits, through to planning how to spend £1,500 on improving the health and wellbeing of young people in their local area.

A third challenge also encourages the students to take on the role of a quality assurance tester when playing video games, redesigning elements that could make their favourite games even better.

Year 12 and 13 students are also learning to write CVs, preparing for interviews and completing personal statements.

Jessica Richmond, senior coordinator at Future U, said: “We understand that this is a particularly difficult time for both teachers and students and we want to help in the best way we can. While some classes can be engaged with or learnt online, progression advice is more individual.

“We don’t want students to miss out. Planning for the future is still as important as ever and lots of the young people we work with rely on our resources to help them do this.”

Emma Deeks, senior coordinator at Future U, added: “We wanted to provide schools and learners with a collection of resources that were interactive and reflected some of our key messages about careers, employability and sector skills. The activities all provide students with tasks which relate to a particular theme and encourage students to be creative and produce something that reflects their own unique perspective on the knowledge they have gained.”

Future U is part of the national Uni Connect Programme, funded by the Office for Students, and involves institutions and organisations across the county including Lancaster University, Edge Hill University and the University of Cumbria.

Lancashire’s Future U works with a network of schools, in addition to colleges, higher education providers and local agencies to create tailored activities to meet the needs of students for now and the future.