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Participants spelling out SHINE - May 2015

Students set a shining example

Posted on 18 May 2015

The future of attendees at the most recent University of York Shine residentials is certainly looking sunny – after another successful programme run by staff and students.

Year 10 students from towns and cities across the North of England, including Doncaster, Leeds, Grimsby, Middlesbrough and Hull, were treated to a series of fantastic three day residentials which involved all manner of things ‘university’.

Raj Mann, one of the Directors of the Shine programme, said:

"Shine has just completed its seventh successful residential.  It’s great to see the programme grow and improve.  Over the three days students gain a realistic insight into what university life is like. The students go home after the three days on the University of York campus having achieved so much including independence, increased confidence and self-belief that they do have the ability to progress onto Higher Education."

There are a wide variety of both social and academic activities pupils can get involved in on the residentials.  This year, lecturers at York gave taster lectures on subjects as different as Philosophy and Computer Science, and enthusiastic Residential Assistants were able to give campus tours of the University.  The RA’s were a selection of existing students at York, so they certainly knew a thing or two about the best places to eat, study and socialise.

One of the biggest successes of the residentials is always the social experience – students can learn to be independent very quickly, living in halls of residence and meeting friends from other schools.  The chance to have a tour of York city centre, complete with as much pizza as they could eat at Pizza Express, certainly impressed too.

Some of the feedback reiterated the genuine impact the programme is having on the young people who attend.

One student commented:

"The academic sessions were very interesting, especially Medicine.  That lesson confirmed that I want to study Medicine at uni."

While another described what they had learnt:

"The best bit of the residential was meeting new people and learning new skills.  Also the feeling of independence."

Students on the third and final residential also got to enjoy a talk from a York alumnus, Anthony Hatswell, who had himself participated on a York residential many years ago and has gone on to do great things.

Originally attending a school in Rotherham, Anthony was inspired while on a science-based residential where he was able to see what research took place at the University, and the kind of people who worked and studied there.

He said:

"Suddenly I found myself in a group of bright people who were really interested in their future.  We went to see the work being done by a company involved in crop science, and it was fascinating."

Anthony later applied and succeeded in getting a place at York, where he studied Economics and later a Master’s course in Health Economics.  Since then he has had a high-flying career working for pharmaceutical companies, and has worked in Paris and London.

His advice for young people aspiring to enter higher education is simple:

"There’s no reason not to go for it.  You’ll be amazed how different life can be if you go to university.  Stay in touch with the friends you make on these residentials as they will help motivate you for the future!"

Making friends certainly seems to be an enduring feature of the Shine residentials each year, and that’s surely no bad thing.  It is now hoped that the pupils who participated in the programme continue working hard at school and are able to reach their full potential at GCSE, and beyond.

The University of York has post-16 programmes that will continue supporting students through sixth form and college in making a successful application to university.

But for now it’s safe to say that this year’s residentials for the Year 10s have been a glowing success.

One pupil sums it up perfectly:

"The best bit of the residential was getting to meet new people and create new memories."