Hi, I’m Harrison and a student ambassador at the University of Roehampton, studying Education. I work on the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) which is a project which aims to increase the progression of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds from Years 9 to 13 into higher education.
Over the summer, I was fortunate enough to experience two residential trips. The first trip was an inspirational 4-day Liverpool Summer School for Year 11 and 12 students; where they had the opportunity of residing in university student accommodation for three nights, in some cases with other students they had never met. This helped to give an understanding of university culture. The students were able to see first-hand different types of universities; including busy city universities, vocational specialist colleges and campus universities, whilst participating in a very busy itinerary. The second trip I went on was the London Cultural Capital weekend for Year 10 students. This involved sightseeing in the centre of London, with tours of many London landmarks. On both trips, I saw many students forming new relationships while learning new life skills, and having new experiences on their doorsteps and in a new city.
I have also worked at several NCOP days at partner universities for Year 9 students and for Year 11 students. The Year 9 day was fairly active and full of activities, focusing on determination, perseverance and discovering talents through new activities. In comparison, Year 11 days focus more on exam busting and helping students to achieve their goals and their next steps.
I have now joined the London NCOP Governing Board which for me is where I can give my student voice to the Board that manages the London NCOP. In this capacity, I was recently able to attend the Office for Students national conference in Birmingham witnessing what many different NCOPs have been doing. I used my knowledge from this conference at the Governing Board, where I was able to voice my own opinions.
Overall, I feel that my NCOP work is benefiting my career as I hope to work within education in the future.
I actually changed my course over the summer as I have really enjoyed my NCOP work and realised that this is what I’d rather do. To sum the whole programme up, I would say that my favourite conversation with a student was “I never thought university would be for me, but now I think I could definitely give it a go”.
I have recently trained as a coach for sixth form students and for my next challenge I am looking forward to putting this training into action!