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Partnership is raising university aspirations for young people in Gloucestershire

The GROWS partnership which includes the University of Gloucestershire, the Royal Agricultural University, Gloucestershire College, Cirencester College, Hartpury University and College and South Gloucestershire and Stroud College is starting to see success stories with a number of young people achieving places at university after working with the project.  ​

​18-year-old Romana Protyshyn had always wanted to go to University but was unsure about how to go about the application process and what she could achieve. The GROWS team provided sessions in school to work on self confidence, which in-turn encouraged her to aim higher and apply for the University of Oxford Summer School which she attended and subsequently applied to Oxford University. Romana says the work she did with GROWS helped to raise her self-belief and although she didn’t gain a place at Oxford, all her choices now are to selective universities. 

Romana is one of a number of young people who have worked with GROWS, an Office for Students funded partnership of six Gloucestershire universities and colleges who aim to encourage young people to explore the world of higher education and make informed decisions about their futures. Working with a range of schools in the region GROWS provides impartial information, activities, events and guides to support young people and their parents in making sense of the options available to them. 

Pupils from years 9 to 13 have accessed a range of activities including days on campus to explore university life and gain insight into areas such as student life, and student finance as well as subject tasters ranging from sport, computing, a range of creative areas, animal science and engineering to a CSI style day where pupils have to solve the mystery of a dead body over 3 days using forensic techniques. 

Becky Tomkins, GROWS Project Lead said:
‘’Over the last two years, hundreds of pupils from local schools have taken part in our activities to encourage young people to aim a little higher with their future ambitions. Many of these young people may have never considered university level study as being a potential educational pathway before or if they have, which universities they can go to. Now the project is in its third full year of delivery we are seeing young people and their parents exploring a wider range of career options as well as making more informed choices beyond their GCSEs.” ​​