Our Outreach and Access team work with young people from under-represented groups, encouraging them to consider going to university.
The team organise activities in schools and campus visits to help young people prepare for university life.
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Talented students realise their potential
All the students who came to the University through the Outreach team's Professions Progressions Partnership (PPP) scheme in 2006 graduated with honours in 2009. Most of them with a First or 2:1.
The scheme is for children from under-represented groups who want to study law, accountancy or architecture. Many of them are the first generation of their family to go to university.
The Outreach team worked with the students from Year 11 onwards to prepare them for university life, organising campus visits and advising them on how to apply. They also organised trips to places of interest, such as the magistrates court.
The students were supported during their time here by mentors. Some became mentors themselves, helping the next generation of PPP students to settle in.
Michelle Gaze graduated with a First in Accounting and Financial Management and Economics. Michelle said:
"I'm delighted to have secured a training contract at Barber Harrison and Platt Accountants, and look forward beginning my professional career."
Raj Kaur earned a law degree and is going on to take her Legal Practice Course. She is also going back to her school, Balby Carr in Doncaster, to encourage other children to think about university. Raj said:
"It was really exciting to graduate this week, and I've made a bit of family history by being the first in my family to go to university; I'd really like to thank my parents for this."
From teenagers with dreams to doctors with degrees
Graduation was a very special day for five of our medical students last year. They were also the first members of their families ever to graduate.
Laura Bowes, Saima Khan, Nafeesa Akhtar, Qumer Younis and Danny Glover were also the first generation of graduates to come through Sheffield’s Outreach and Access to Medicine Scheme (SOAMS).
SOAMS makes a career in medicine a real possibility for students from under-represented areas. The scheme offers support and guidance to local Year 9–13 pupils through a programme of activities over five years.
The first part of the scheme challenges the myth that only students from certain backgrounds become doctors. In part two, students attend a residential summer school, which involves university-style lectures and placements in hospitals.
Saima, who lives in Fir Vale, started the scheme while she was doing her AS Levels at Castle College. She said:
"The staff who worked on SOAMS gave me invaluable support and guidance and enabled me to achieve my dream of becoming a doctor."
Inspiring inspirational young people
The Outreach team also give our students the chance to do similar work. The results are life-changing, as BSc Biomedical Science graduate Craig Bell explains.
"I had never really considered teaching until I was at university. I got involved with the Outreach team, working with students from local schools.
"My experience made me realise that teaching shouldn't be just about the curriculum - it's also about inspiring pupils and showing them how amazing science can be.
"I am now a newly qualified teacher. I'm also a learning advisor to the Science Museum in London, developing web resources for school science clubs.
"The best thing about the job is being able to work with so many inspirational young people. No day is ever the same. I couldn't imagine doing anything else."
We are the champions
When it comes to inspiring young people, we believe our students are the best people for the job. Our Science and Engineering Champions scheme encourages current students to get more involved in work with schools.
Jo Robinson, Structural Engineering with Architectural Studies, third year
"I chose to study engineering at university because I enjoyed maths and physics at school. Engineering appealed to me because it is the application of these subjects. The Champions scheme gives me an opportunity to share my enthusiasm.
"As part of the scheme I have received training in a variety of areas, including working with schools and how to develop interesting activities for young people.
"One event I was involved with was the Science, Engineering and Maths day at Sheffield Wednesday Football Club. Hundreds of Year Nine pupils were given the opportunity to talk to companies and students about studying and working in science-related fields.
"I enjoy being able to inspire other people to consider engineering as a career and I think that young people benefit from talking to students about their experiences."
Amaia Harries, Structural Engineering with Architectural Studies, third year
"When I was introduced to the Champions scheme at the beginning of my second year, I thought about how I would have benefitted by having met a science or engineering undergraduate while I was at school, and I realised I had a lot to offer.
"The scheme is not about preaching, it's about meeting a group of really fun people, having intelligent discussions and enjoying yourself. It's all about engaging others.
"I've found that pupils are more open to us as students, so they gain more insight into how they might continue studying science and engineering."