Students from across Cumbria explore future options thanks to impartial support and activities from higher education and skills partnership.

(Left to Right: Mark Jenkinson MP for Workington, Ellis Dineley, Keaton Tinnion, Sam Spence, Simon Fell MP for Barrow & Furness)

The Cumbria Collaborative Outreach Programme, a partnership of universities, further education institutions and skills providers across the North West region, has been working together to build a network and deliver impartial advice, guidance and activities to 33 schools and colleges in Cumbria; through the Hello Future targeted outreach programme.

The Cumbrian programme is part of the national Uni Connect Programme officially launched at an event in the House of Commons on 29th January by the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, the Rt Hon Chris Skidmore MP. Cumbrian students Ellis Dineley, from Energy Coast UTC, Sam Spence and Keaton Lee Tinnion, both from St Benedict’s Catholic High School, attended the event with members of the Hello Future team to represent the Cumbrian student voice and share their experiences of the Hello Future programme.

Reflecting on his experiences with Hello Future, Ellis said:

The assemblies in school have been very helpful for helping me make my decision.”

Ellis is one of over 8,000 Cumbrian students that Hello Future has supported since January 2017, through over 700 activities. This has included workshops, mentoring and presentations within schools and colleges, as well as campus visits, residential activities and community based projects. All have been created to support the bespoke needs of Cumbrian students, teachers and their parents and carers.

For Ellis and Sam, this was their first visit to the capital city and one example of many projects and opportunities that Hello Future has been able to support, enabling Cumbrian students to travel and explore different locations and activities around the UK. During the evening the three students spent time with Mark Jenkinson MP for Workington and Simon Fell MP for Barrow and Furness, discussing their journeys toward higher education. Ellis is currently applying to do a degree apprenticeship to study mechanical or electrical engineering.  Sam has applied to study at Lancaster University and Keaton is hoping to attend Durham University to study History.

Speaking after the event, Keaton said:

Meeting the Minister and the MP’s gave me an insight into how they have gotten to their positions and how university education will pay off one day.”

Lisa Jackson, the Programme Manager for the Cumbria Collaborative Outreach Programme, who accompanied the students to London said:

The bespoke approach of our partnership supports talented young people across Cumbria, showing them how they can fulfil their potential and what they can achieve.”

Reflecting on the launch event in London, Lisa said:

It was wonderful to take the students to London to experience the launch event and visit some London sights. We know that such opportunities can help influence and shape the futures of these young people, broadening their horizons and demonstrating how they can progress and follow their passions and dreams.”

The Cumbria Collaborative Outreach Programme partnership is led by the University of Cumbria, together with Carlisle College, Cumbria County Council, Cumbria LEP, Edge Hill University, Furness College, Kendal College, Lakes College, Lancaster University, Lancaster & Morecambe College, Myerscough College, Newton Rigg College, NHS Better Care Together, University of Central Lancashire and the React Foundation.