All Higher Education Providers within Go Higher West Yorkshire provide support for students coming into and through their University and College. The University of Leeds for example supports students with their ‘The Plus Programme’, which is an extra support scheme available to students who have entered the University through specific access routes.
The Plus Programme has been developed to ensure every student has access to all the opportunities at Leeds and helps them achieve everything they want out of their University experience. The programme helps students through three key strands of support: Transition, Success and Progression.
Gerard Murphy, a student who is studying a Masters in Biology at University of Leeds describes how The Plus Programme has supported him.
When and how did you first hear about the Plus Programme ?
Before enrolling at university I was a member of Access to Leeds. Therefore, I was made aware of the plus program before attending. During summer I was invited to attend specific Plus Programme welcome events, which made the transition from further education into higher education much easier.
Do you regularly read the Plus Programme emails, and have you ever attended an activity (whether run by the Plus Programme or not) after reading about it in our emails?
Yes, I receive weekly Plus Programme emails. There’s always helpful information on there, specifically signposted for Plus Programme students that might not be as well advertised in mainstream university/faculty news. Furthermore, it informs me of current and future Plus Programme events so that I can plan accordingly. This is where I find about all the activities that I attend.
Have you ever attended any activity run by the Plus Programme? What was it?
Yes, quite a few! My favourite are the socials, as its extremely comforting to hang around people of a shared experience. Sometimes we talk about our problems as it’s a more open environment; which is great to do. It’s a fantastic break from studies and makes you feel refreshed afterwards. I have also been to a few of the career talks and academic workshops – both of which I have found very useful!
How do you feel you’ve benefited from events run by the Plus Programme? Have you applied any of the skills/knowledge from these sessions to your studies or extra-curricular activities?
I have been to a number of career talks – these have helped me to decide what are the best steps for me next after uni. I have been to a few of the skills workshops. Studying a masters, this has been very helpful as we need to perform a more varied skills set at a high level to our undergraduate peers.
Have you ever accessed the Plus Programme for pastoral support?
Luckily I have never been in a position were I have had to. However, it’s reassuring to know that it is there. Lisa (Scholarship and Plus Programme Administrator) is always more than happy to help with queries and point you in the right direction, or just have a general chat. I would certainly class her as pastoral support!
Have you ever accessed the Plus Programme for anything else?
I am currently looking at applying for one of the funding grants that would make it easier for me to attend a voluntary field course.
Is there anything else the Plus Programme could provide for you?
The Plus Programme provides such a well-rounded support system. I personally would like to see more socials and career talks as I have found these the most useful.
Was your decision to apply or begin studying at Leeds based on receiving a scholarship?
100%. Due to being estranged from my parents, I would not have been able to afford to attend without the crucial financial support that I received from my donor. Moreover, my decision between Leeds and my other preference was consolidated by the amount of financial support Leeds offered to them.
How has your scholarship supported you during your studies?
There are multiple voluntary field course on my degree (Biology) that are very expensive. The financial support I have received from Leeds has meant that I have been able to attend these. This has helped shape the degree that I have wanted to study, and therefore my career path post-graduation.
Is there anything the scholarship has enabled you to do during your studies?
Yes, I have been able to take up extracurricular activities that I would not have otherwise been able to do so. These have included skiing, mountaineering, polo, rock climbing, and scuba diving; the latter two I am now a qualified instructor for. Giving me valuable transferable skills that I have been able to utilise in both my academic and professional work.
For more information about The Plus Programme click here