Name: Tom Senior
Position: NCOP Outreach Officer, Leeds Beckett University
I had the pleasure of spending three hours on – and off – the Go Higher West Yorkshire bus, in the company of fellow colleagues Chris and Catherine at Bradford Academy, last Thursday. During that time, we spoke with staff, parents, students and their younger siblings about their current education, ideas about future study and career aspirations. In the conversations I had with the students there was a real variety to the subject areas they were working towards. Two Year 12 students I chatted with mentioned medicine and pharmacology as their favoured degree choices.
We also played a game of ‘Budget Busters’ – along with one of their younger year 10 siblings. Each of the participants went over budget until I played them their ‘surprise income’ cards. They seemed to get a lot out of playing the game and it provoked much thought and discussion around the cost of living at and away from home. This caused them to reassess their choices, which brought their budgets back into the black. I asked for their honest opinion about the game and they were very positive in their feedback – all saying it was something that they hadn’t considered in detail and it had helped them begin to think about this vital aspect of life at Higher Education.
Other areas of interest brought up some interesting combinations. One year 10 student wanted to be a photographer and a physiotherapist and their younger sibling wanted to be a scientist and a model. We all played the cue card game and during that process they learned the meaning of a ‘Joint Honours Degree’, what a ‘Fresher’ is and what happens in a ‘Sandwich Year’ – and we concluded that it isn’t a year where you’re only allowed to eat sandwiches.
It was really helpful to have Catherine there as a friendly, familiar face – from the school – as this meant that more people were inclined to stop and talk, and actually climb aboard the bus and engage us in conversation. For me it was time well spent and I’m very glad of the experience. In the days after I’ve reflected how important these interactions can be for young people and their families and am looking forward to my next assignment on the bus, on Briggate in Leeds City Centre.