We went behind the scenes with two of our student actors to talk to them about the Leapskills programme and ask them what they thought.
At Unite Students, we have spent years helping young people to thrive in new situations and supporting them as they make the ‘Leap’ into university – a huge transition from home life to independent living that may often be taken for granted. Our insight reports have identified significant gaps in student expectations vs. the reality of student living. To help young people to close this expectation gap, we have developed Leapskills, a programme designed to introduce young people to student life scenarios and provoke group discussion on conflict resolution and problem solving whilst giving a general insight into independent living. The journey started a couple of years ago when we partnered with IntoUniversity to start delivering our Leapskills sessions to young people who are interested in going to university. To celebrate today’s endorsement of Leapskills by the Department for Education we caught up with IntoUniversity to hear what they thing about the programme two years on.
“Since 2017, our corporate partner Unite Students has supported our Year 13 students with 90-minute ‘Leapskills’ sessions, helping students to understand the realities and challenges of living in a shared accommodation.
These sessions are run for 15-30 students by trained, volunteer Unite staff who give our students a tour of a Unite halls of residence and have discussions with them about different scenarios they could face when they move away from home.
Workshops like these are essential in making our students feel more comfortable with the practicalities of life at university and help to make the dream of going into a reality.
An IntoUniversity staff member in Leeds described the experience of students who attended the Unite Leapskills workshop:
‘Our students had a brilliant time taking part in the Leapskills workshop with Unite. The staff delivering it were very engaging and having the opportunity to tour the accommodation gave students a chance to really visualise what it would be like to be a university student. Students found discussions around the emotions involved in starting university to be valuable and it was great to see them independently coming up with solutions to challenges they may face. Following this session, students said they felt much more confident and excited about moving away from home. We are definitely hoping to book this in again next year!’
An IntoUniversity staff member in Nottingham agrees that the programme has given our students an important perspective:
‘The students really valued the opportunity to look around some student accommodation, allowing them to visualise what it would be like to live at university. The workshop provided by Unite allowed the students to express their concerns and worries about moving away from home, and have helpful discussions about how they could overcome these challenges. Students commented on how the trip had helped them to understand more about the exciting reality of university experience which will no doubt have motivated them with their studies and future plans.’
IntoUniversity is most grateful to Unite Students for providing this invaluable support to our older students at a crucial stage in their educational career. IntoUniversity could not provide such an experience without the generosity of Unite Students, both with the use of their spaces nationally and the huge amount of time that volunteers from Unite have given to run these workshops. We’d like to thank Unite Students for their extensive and sustained support of IntoUniversity and the young people that we serve!”