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Universities team up to open learning centre to create new opportunities for young people in Hull

Posted on 29 March 2023

The universities of York and Hull have partnered with national education charity IntoUniversity to open a new learning centre to provide long-term educational support to young people facing disadvantage.

Year 6 pupils from a local school took part in a week-long programme of activities and learning, culminating with a "graduation" ceremony

The new learning centre, based in The Freedom Centre in East Hull, was officially opened on 29 March and will support young people who are typically underrepresented in higher education.

Full potential 

Working closely with local schools, businesses and universities, the centre offers long-term support to young people aged 7-18, helping them to discover their focus, build their capabilities and ultimately have the opportunity to reach their full potential. 

Support offered at the centre includes after-school academic support, mentoring with local university students and professionals, in-school aspiration-raising workshops and enrichment and work experience opportunities. Once established, the centre will support over 1000 students per year.

IntoUniversity has a proven track record of improving attainment into further education for students facing disadvantage, and currently supports over 46,000 young people each year at their 39 centres nationwide.

66% of students who attend IntoUniversity centres go on to progress to university, compared with 26.6% of students from similar backgrounds nationally, meaning students are effectively three times more likely to enter higher education through attending.

Students will take part in a variety of activities during the event replicating the type of activities they will be engaging with in the year ahead during after-school academic support sessions.

Public good

York’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Charlie Jeffery, said: “We believe that all of our young people, whatever their background, should have the opportunity to access the education they need to realise their true potential. 

“As a University dedicated to public good, we want to form partnerships that help to release that potential in communities across our region. We believe the centre will make a positive contribution by identifying and supporting the development of the next generation of talented young people in the city of Hull.

“The centre will help nurture the talents of young people who may have never considered higher education before, or perhaps thought that it was not within their reach. We have a real opportunity to change lives, and we look forward to the future of this new centre and all the young people that walk through its doors.”

Dr Rachel Carr, Chief Executive and Co-Founder of IntoUniversity, said: “Hull is an amazing city with lots of talented and capable young people. Some of them are not getting the opportunities they deserve due to circumstances outside of their control.

“We’re really excited and pleased to be opening up our new centre in Hull, to help these young people tap into their potential, build their confidence and skills and realise their future dreams. We look forward to working with schools and other partners in the local area, as well as parents - and of course - the wonderful young people. Thanks so much to the University of Hull and the University of York for making this new centre a reality.”

Diverse community 

Professor Dave Petley, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hull, said: “At the University of Hull, we are committed to inspiring young people into education. It’s just part of the way we are living by our motto Lampada Ferens – which translates as carrying the light of learning – and we take pride in the fact that the University has inclusivity at its heart. This is reflected in our diverse community on campus – where we work incredibly hard to provide inspiring futures for all our students.

 “Founded in 1927 as a ‘centre of light and culture’ for Hull, the University is proud to play a leading role in the educational, social, economic and cultural development of our unique city and region.

“As we approach our centenary year, social justice underpins much of our work – both in our local community and in our range of partnership work to promote access and success for all. To achieve a more equitable and sustainable society, inclusive social and economic development is essential, and this is the case both for the Humber and globally.

 “Making a difference requires the dedicated, long-term, collective effort of our community over at least the next decade. The University of Hull is dedicated to driving this change and inspiring, encouraging and giving young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Hull the confidence to take a positive step into higher education.

 “Working through our partnership with IntoUniversity, the University of York and our donors and supporters, we will continue to reach out to communities to bring those opportunities which will help pupils and students reach their full potential.”

Further information:

To find out more about IntoUniversity, visit


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