Mersey teens offered fast-track to professional careers

A new partnership between the University of Liverpool and the Sutton Trust will see 70 Liverpool city region teenagers put on a fast-track to careers in finance and engineering. Tony McDonough reports

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The Pathways programme will look to open up careers in finance and engineering


Teenagers across the Liverpool city region will have the opportunity to start careers in finance and engineering under a new programme announced today.

A new partnership between the University of Liverpool and the Sutton Trust will see 70 young people supported over two academic years. They will build the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to go into higher education and the workplace.

The Sutton Trust was founded by Sir Peter Lampl in 1997 to improve social mobility in Britain. It has already teamed up with the University of Liverpool on its Pathways to Law programme. The Pathways programmes support high-attaining students from lower-income backgrounds to access leading careers.

Now the Pathways to Engineering and Pathways to Banking and Finance programmes are to be introduced into the region. Teenagers will be offered access to industry insight placements, experience undergraduate learning through lectures and workshops, network with professionals, and take part in social activities.

The expansion of Pathways to Banking and Finance to Liverpool has been supported by the programme’s founding corporate partner Deutsche Bank, alongside a consortium of other funding partners and supporters.

The Sutton Trust’s Pathways programmes are designed to widen access to the professions, providing both academic and sector specific support to help young people to make informed choices about their career paths.

The in-person Pathways programme offers work experience placements, a programme of after-school and weekend events, and the chance to attend a four-day residential conference packed with talks, skills sessions and networking opportunities.

As a response to the pandemic, the Sutton Trust have also introduced a Pathways Online stream, to provide guidance, support and insight to students who do not live near a partner university, or who prefer to study remotely.

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The Pathways programme looks to open up careers in the professions


The Sutton Trust’s Pathways programmes are open to all Year 12 students who attend – and have always attended – a state school or college in the UK, and to pupils who live within a commutable distance to the university they are applying to.

There are additional eligibility criteria which include having been entitled for free school meals, being the first in their family to attend university and achieving 5 GCSEs at grades 7 to 9. Applications for all of the Pathways programmes are now open and will close by November.

Analysis of UCAS data found that young people who took part in Pathways programmes between 2006 and 2016 were three and a half times more likely to receive an offer from a top university than their classmates with similar grades and from similar backgrounds.

James Turner, chief executive of the Sutton Trust, said: “Our Pathways programmes are a fantastic opportunity for young people to gain insights into competitive careers and to get a first foot on the ladder to university and the professions.

“We are thrilled that students from Liverpool will now be able to access these opportunities which we know can make a real difference to their futures.”

Professor Gavin Brown, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education at the University of Liverpool, added: “As a research-intensive university with a strong track-record of improving the social mobility of our students, we recognise the importance of widening access to university for all those with the potential to succeed.”

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