Student Mentors Ensure Summer Holidays Go With a Bang

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University of Worcester student mentors ensured that there was plenty for the area’s young people to do during their summer holidays by leading a number of fun and diverse activities at University venues.

The Summer Programme offered workshops on dance, performing arts, puppet making, comic book drawing and glass painting, amongst others, at both The Hive and the University’s Riverside building.

In addition, the University worked in partnership with My Big Adventure (MBA), a social enterprise project which aims to give young people adventurous opportunities designed to raise their aspirations. This involved young people going caving, canoeing and climbing, both locally and also at the Forest of Dean and Symonds Yat.

Kate Thackeray, Lecturer in Youth and Community Studies and the leader of the Summer Programme project, was delighted with the response from both the young people and the student mentors.

She says: “Whilst engaging in these activities, the young people had the opportunity to build positive relationships with our mentors, who shared their knowledge, skills and enthusiasm for each activity.

“Many of these activities related directly to their undergraduate studies, which again gave the young people an insight into how broad the opportunities in Higher Education can be.”

One student mentor, Fine Art student Hannah Maxfield, adds: “The young people seemed to benefit greatly from the activities, and it gave us as mentors a great chance to build relationships with the young people and help fuel conversations about their schools and their hopes for further education.”

Hannah, who has ambitions to be an art teacher, continues: “I spent the programme running art workshops at The Hive, and they proved to be popular and enjoyable. I was able to use the workshops to engage with young people, and hopefully offer them a reprieve from the stress of their GCSEs or A-levels!”

The University also linked up with other partner organisations to offer workshops in DJing (pictured) and cheerleading, and after receiving positive feedback, the intention is now to grow the project.

Kate Thackeray continues: “The programme has been a success not only for the young people involved, but also for the mentors and staff at The Hive, Riverside and MBA. Young people have had a shared learning experience that we intend to build on.

“Over the coming months, we will be offering clubs and workshops after school and at weekends, in order to support young people in developing their skills and knowledge both in terms of their academic studies and their other interests.”

She adds: “Students mentors are keen to be involved in the future, and the project gives them a valuable work opportunity that strengthens their employability and core skills for the future labour market.

“Based on what we have learnt from this first year, we are keen to start planning for next summer and potentially looking at offering a similar programme for the school and college holidays during the autumn and spring.”