Widening Participation and Outreach

Outreach Activities and Projects

We work with schools to support young people and adults to make informed decisions about their futures. Browse the activities available by downloading our outreach booklet:


Our Widening Participation and Outreach team is passionate about minimising the barriers which can prevent students from accessing higher education.

We offer young people from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in higher education, support, advice and guidance through a range of interactive activities and events. This may include workshops, presentations or visits to our campuses. 

If you would like to discuss your requirements further, or request an activity not listed here, please contact us at engage@ucleeds.ac.uk

For information about the support we offer for students less represented in higher education, please visit our Student Support Pages

About our projects

We deliver targeted projects to pupils who are statistically from backgrounds less likely to progress to higher education.

These include:

  • Students who would be the first in their immediate family to attend higher education
  • Students from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds
  • Students with disabilities, long term health or mental health conditions or learning difficulties
  • Care experienced students
  • Estranged students who are studying without the support of their family
  • Mature students
  • Students with caring responsibilities
  • Refugees or asylum seekers

Our work aligns with the University Centre Leeds Access and Participation Plan.

Widening Participation Programmes

The Step Ahead programme aims to develop students’ skills, knowledge and behaviours in relation to careers and employability. Interactive sessions allow students to explore areas such as identifying and expressing their strengths, building resilience and planning and preparing a CV. Programme participants also have the opportunity to develop their interview skills by participating in mock interview sessions.

The programme is run over six one hour sessions and can be adapted to pre/post 16 and mature learners.

The UC Leeds Chemistry Academy aims to provide students with the opportunity to engage with the practical elements of STEM in the context of real-world issues, with particular emphasis on chemistry. For students in Key Stage 2 and 3, this involves participating in 4 weeks' worth of practical and careers-based sessions, allowing them to explore their interests and future options.

Students at Key Stage 4 and beyond also have the opportunity to engage with the UC Leeds Chemistry academy, through careers and employability-based sessions and biology and chemistry-based taster sessions in university laboratories.

Research, Academic Writing, Referencing

This programme develops skills in critical thinking, research, evaluation, interview skills and presentations.

New Scholars encourages students to take increased responsibility for skills development in relation to academic, personal and professional development. It can be delivered using a range of teaching and learning methods including lectures, student-led seminars, 1-to-1 tutorials, demonstrations, case study reviews, and peer assessment.

The programme is aimed at post-16 students and is run over four one hour sessions.

Our Digital Immersion Summer School is an outreach opportunity for students to learn more about digital technologies in industries including Science, Health, Engineering, Gaming and Sport. Participants will attend a full day of workshops at University Centre Leeds to discover a range of industries and career opportunities. The project aligns with the STEM 7 skills.

Activities include:

  • Sport - VR Coaching, blaze pod recreation and movement analysis
  • Health - Using sensory and digital therapeutics, nursing and simulations
  • Games and Programming - Unreal engine development, digital sculpting, visual effects.
  • Engineering - Simulation circuits, logic gates via digital electronics
  • Business - Setting up a business, data driven sales and business growth.
  • Science - Using spectroscopy and chromatography to analyse drug samples; measuring water quality by flame photometry. Discovering the unseen world of microorganisms; assessing water purity. 

Our summer school is aimed at Year 10 and 11 students, although can be adapted for mature students studying at Level 1 onwards. 

We understand that the transition from school or college to higher education can be more challenging for some students, and this challenge can act as a barrier. We offer one-to-one support to help students from underrepresented groups within higher education.

Mentoring is tailored to participants' specific aims and interests and focuses on a range of areas such as effective revision, goal setting, thinking about future careers and making a solid path towards future aspirations.

Note: support can be tailored and students do not need to apply to University Centre Leeds to receive support from our team. We can act impartially when providing information, advice and guidance. 

We work in partnership with Leeds GATE, and Go Higher West Yorkshire to deliver outreach activities with young people within the Gypsy community. 

We can also arrange bespoke interventions such as workshops or visits to campus for individuals or groups of young Gypsy Roma or Travellers. To find out more please email laura.macgregor@ucleeds.ac.uk 

Each term the Widening Participation team send out a newsletter to our key contacts in schools and colleges. The newsletter contains information about current and upcoming outreach activity, as well as details about our team and what we have been up to.

If you would like to be added to our newsletter mailing list, please email engage@ucleeds.ac.uk 

Arrange a chat

Students returning to study after being out of education for 3 years or more are classed as mature students. Mature students are often over 21 when they begin their undergraduate degree.

If you are considering returning to study, you can arrange to chat to a member of our Widening Participation and Outreach Team who will be able to offer advice and guidance about higher education, as well as the support offered at University Centre Leeds.

Please contact us by email engage@ucleeds.ac.uk or phone 0113 235 6679 to arrange a chat.

Aspiration Raising Activities and Workshops

Choosing the right course is an important decision and it can be difficult to know where to start with so many courses in the UK to choose from.

Our introduction to HE talk will provide students with information on the benefits of higher education study, how to choose a course, finance, accommodation and the UCAS process. It aims to equip students with research skills so they can make informed decisions and be confident with their choices.

This presentation is suitable for students considering progressing to university after their current studies, mature students thinking of returning to education or changing their career, and parents/supporters who want to learn more.

Duration: 60 minutes
Gatsby benchmarks 1 and 7

Our student finance and fees talk encourages students to begin thinking about the costs of student living and how to successfully manage their finances throughout a degree. This is an interactive workshop and includes a brief summary of how the student finance system works. Students also work in groups to take part in a budgeting exercise.

Duration: 30 – 60 minutes
Gatsby benchmarks 1 and 7

Personal statements are the one chance a student has to show passion for their subject area to universities and colleges. Our hints and tips presentation provides students with good and bad examples along with a step-by-step guide to structuring a Personal Statement that makes an impact, including hints and tips for what to include - and what to avoid!

Duration: 30 - 60 minutes
Gatsby benchmarks 1 and 7

This session covers the benefits of going to university, what to expect,
accommodation, extra-curricular opportunities, student support, and a myth-busting Q&A. This session is co-delivered by our outreach team and Student Ambassadors, so students can get first-hand knowledge from our Ambassadors.

Duration: 30 – 60 minutes

This session is aimed at college and sixth-form students who may need to reconsider their options, particularly in their final year of study. We will explain the clearing process, applying to alternative pathways, and explain options such as Foundation Degrees and HTQs.

Duration: 30 - 60 minutes
Gatsby benchmark 7

Subject-Specific Talks and Taster Days

Subject taster sessions help students experience what it’s like to study at University Centre Leeds

Our curriculum teams will deliver engaging and interactive workshops to introduce students to the subject, careers in the sector, and employability options, and will be on hand to answer specific questions about their subjects and career routes. Sessions also offer students an opportunity to experience a lecture or seminar, to get a taste of what studying within higher education is like.

Most of our subject-specific taster days are tailored to your student’s needs, so we ask that you get in touch to arrange a chat. All of our Foundation Degrees, Top-up degrees, HNDs and PGCEs can run a taster day and you can see a list of courses on our courses page

Taster days usually run for half a day, including a break with complimentary refreshments. We usually ask that you provide transport, however, if you don’t have access to a minibus, we may be able to arrange this for you.

Gatsby benchmarks 4 and 7

Our Subjects

  • Acting
  • Animation
  • Art
  • Content Creation and Promotion
  • Concept Art
  • Creative Hair and Media Makeup
  • Film and Screen Media
  • Graphic Design and Illustration
  • Production Arts

  • Animal Management and Behaviour

  • Business, Enterprise and Management
  • Law
  • Travel and Tourism Management

  • Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Cyber Security
  • Computer Science
  • Game Art
  • Game Development
  • Game Programming
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Manufacturing Engineering

  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Health Play Specialism
  • Healthcare Assistant Practitioner
  • Physical Education and Sport Coaching
  • Sport Performance and Exercise

  • Early Years, Care and Education
  • Certificate in Education
  • Professional Graduate Certificate in Education
  • Supporting Teaching and Learning
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