Inspiring Choices wins major award for helping young people
Published: 22 November 2023
Inspiring Choices, the higher education advice hub based at York St John University supporting young people to make informed decisions about their future, has won a major award in recognition of its work.
The ‘Inspiring Futures’ award was presented at the North Yorkshire Annual Care Leavers Celebration Event in October, hosted by North Yorkshire Council.
Located on the University’s main Lord Mayor’s Walk campus, Inspiring Choices is the York and North Yorkshire hub for the national Uni Connect programme. It aims to support young people across the region to make decisions about their future education and careers. York St John University hosts the Inspiring Choices Uni Connect programme on behalf of the Higher York organisations, which creates opportunities for educational progression across the city, region and beyond.
The programme aims to reduce the gap in higher education participation between the most and least represented groups, and is delivered in partnership with local universities, colleges, local authorities and other local education and enterprise stakeholders.
The ‘Inspiring Futures’ award recognised the organisation’s continued commitment to raising aspirations and opportunities for care leavers. As an example of this work, the hub funded and organised a trip to London in July for 13 care leavers.
In collaboration with the North Yorkshire Leaving Care team, the visit gave the young people (aged 18 to 25) an opportunity to visit places they may never have been able to go to before, and to show them the wide array of opportunities that exist for them.
The group visited the John Lewis Partnership's School of Service and the Financial Ombudsman Service, where they networked with employees. At King’s College London the group learnt all about university life and the support provided for care leavers.
Inspiring Choices’ Project Assistant Annie Smith said: “Seeing the young people have a great time in London and form connections with each other was all the validation we needed, but the recognition from this award was a very welcome surprise!
“While we deliver impartial advice and information on higher education, we are really fortunate to be housed at York St John University where we can provide university tours and bespoke subject sessions with the amazing academics at this university."
York St John University is proud of its work to make higher education more inclusive, and saw a 37-place rise in The Times and Sunday Times’ Good University Guide 2024 in its social inclusion index. The University is 11th in the UK for recruitment of white working-class boys (8.2 per cent of the intake), regarded as the most underrepresented group in higher education, and about one in five students comes from a deprived area (a top 20 proportion).
More information can be found on the Inspiring Choices website.