To help ensure teenagers receive tailored support about the benefits and realities of further study and training after school or college, young people in Cumbria are being invited to share their views about support they have already received.

Responses to a new survey launched by the Hello Future partnership, led by the University of Cumbria, will allow it to tailor its future activities. In turn, this will help future young learners in the county receive the specific support they need when they consider their own further and higher education study and training options.

The survey will provide a snapshot of learner needs and will help researchers identify how Hello Future can help, by highlighting specific student concerns and skills gaps.

Through its tailored workshops, mentoring programmes, trips and residentials, Hello Future aims to address issues raised in the survey, as well as contribute to reducing the gap in participation in higher education between the most and least represented groups in Cumbria.

Hello Future is a partnership led by the University of Cumbria together with employers, colleges and skills organisations. The partnership aims to provide information, advice and guidance about higher education tailored to learners in Cumbria.

It is part of the national Uni Connect programme delivered by the Office for Students which has been set up to support government social mobility goals to increase the number of young people from underrepresented groups going into higher education.

Lisa Jackson, Hello Future Programme Manager, says, “Hello Future supports Cumbrian learners with their next steps after school or college and we aim to do this as effectively as possible. We are so excited to launch our ‘Future Selves’ survey as the answers we receive will help us to offer activities and support to suit the different learners we meet. Local schools, colleges and others have been really supportive of the survey as it will tell us what Cumbrian learners think about going to university or studying an apprenticeship in the future.”

In conjunction with the ‘Future Selves’ survey, Hello Future is also rolling out its new ‘My Future Self’ sessions in schools and colleges across Cumbria. The sessions aim to encourage learners to think about their future selves, helping them to feel confident and in control of their future decisions.

Learners who have already participated in early sessions have explored what their ideas are for their first dream job as well as considering current ambitions and how to get there. Hannah Pears, Careers Leader at Lakes College says, “Hello Future supported a number of groups of learners across a full week of delivery by running the My Future Self session. Students found the session interesting and staff were interested to hear about what all the students wanted to be when they were five years old; answers ranged from ballet dancer to spaceman to vet. We look forward to receiving the survey results back to inform our plans.”

Hello Future works with students both inside and outside educational settings, and provides support from Year 9, right through their educational journey; as well as school-based workshops and assemblies. A wide range of resources, advice and e-courses are available on the Hello Future website.

The Hello Future partnership is led by the University of Cumbria, together with BAE Systems, Carlisle College, Cumbria County Council, Cumbria LEP, Edge Hill University, Furness College, Kendal College, Lakes College, Lancaster University, Lancaster & Morecambe College, Myerscough College, Centre for Leadership Performance, NHS Better Care Together, University of Central Lancashire and the React Foundation.

To get in touch and find out more about the different kinds of advice and interventions we can give, email us at hellofuture@cumbria.ac.uk or call 01228 634 760.