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Roadshows to prove it’s never too late for university

Future U, a leading careers advice programme, is hosting a range of events through May and June to inspire more people to start university, even if they left school years earlier.

A leading careers advice programme will tour Lancashire this summer to encourage more adults to think about starting university as a mature student.

Future U, which works across Lancashire to encourage more people to consider higher education, is hosting a range of events through May and June to inspire more people to start university, even if they left school years earlier.

Despite misconceptions that most university students are teenagers, in Britain mature students make up over half of university students, with one in five students over 30 years old.

Despite considerable careers support to help young people leaving school and college to start university, more needs to be done to help mature students to access support around finance, childcare and employment challenges which can be seen as a barrier to accessing degree education.

Future U is hosting events at Burnley College, Preston College and West Lancs College to answer questions on starting university, interview techniques, work placements and academic writing. Education partners including Edge Hill University, University of Cumbria and University of Central Lancashire alongside current adult students will also be available to answer questions. The events will be available for current college students as well as the general public.

Matt Lord, Senior Outreach Officer at Future U, said: “The last two years have seen plenty of people reassessing their life and work situation, pushing themselves to start new careers or improve skills. Plenty of people are changing their careers into fulfilling roles such as health care and nursing, but many jobs still require a university qualification.

“Adult learners can often feel like they won’t fit in at university, that they’re going to be the only one there. They can also face barriers to visiting universities that younger learners don’t due to caring responsibilities or employment commitments.

“Many of our partner universities and colleges have been involved in the development of the roadshow, it’s been a truly collaborative effort to develop something that can make a real impact on the futures of adult learners in Lancashire.”

Hannah Rosbrook, Outreach Officer at University of Cumbria, said: “The University of Cumbria is passionate about supporting our local communities with access to higher education, whatever their age or background. 

“Over 50% of our student population are over 21 at the start of their studies, meaning we are well placed as an organisation to support those returning to education.

“This project has enabled us to work alongside our further and higher education partners within the Lancashire region to break down perceptions and barriers that many adults face and provide additional support, advice and guidance to help them on their own educational journey.  We are proud to be part this initiative and look forward to working with our partners in the future.”

Louise Binnie, Careers Coordinator at Myerscough College, said: “Adult learners are very busy and the decision to study for a degree becomes another item to juggle in life. We want people to find out about the support they can access whilst at University to help make life that little bit easier.

“The Future U Adult Roadshow is a ‘one stop shop’ popping up in four locations around Lancashire where students can get the advice they need about a range of concerns from ‘fitting in to finance’. Students can talk to University and FE College experts and get answers to their questions.”

Debbie Ireland, Head of 14 to 19 Curriculum at Preston College, said: “With a large cohort of adult learners here at the College, the event, a collaborative project bringing together universities, colleges and businesses from across Lancashire, will provide information, advice, and guidance on higher education, allowing individuals to make an informed choice about whether University level study is right for them.

“Sessions on offer will cover a variety of topics, allowing attendees to leave with a wealth of information on academic writing, funding, admissions processes, and student life.”

Nina Parkin, Dean of Burnley College University Courses, said: “At Burnley College University Courses we’re committed to ensuring you can be something different – and will support you every step of the way.

“We’ve worked hard to make sure everything is in place to make the transition to university-level study as easy and seamless as possible – you’ll never be part of the crowd and we’ll always tailor our support to you as an individual.

“We’re here to help you choose the right course to achieve your goals; to completing your application; to accessing Student Finance and any additional funding to which you may be entitled; to academic guidance and health and wellbeing support.

“We offer individualised support to make sure that you can reach your goals – whether that’s changing careers, gaining promotion or immersing yourself in a subject you love.

Future U works across Lancashire to increase the career and higher education knowledge of young people and adult learners.

Since the start of the project in 2017, Future U has delivered over 1,100 careers activities across 70 schools and colleges in the area, in addition to creating a range of educational and careers resources available to download from its website,

Future U is part of the national Uni Connect Programme, funded by the Office for Students, and involves institutions and organisations across the county including University of Central Lancashire, Lancaster University, Edge Hill University and the University of Cumbria. Its list of partners also include Blackburn College, The Blackpool Sixth Form College, Blackpool and the Fylde College, Burnley College, Kendal College, Lancashire County Council, Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, Myerscough College, Nelson and Colne College Group, Preston College, STEMFirst, Runshaw College, The Lancashire Colleges, West Lancashire College.

For more details of the events and support available, visit

Event dates

Burnley College3/05/20222pm – 7pm
Preston College11/05/20222pm – 7pm
West Lancs College09/06/20222pm – 7pm
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