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Reflecting on 2023: A Year-End Review and Anticipating the Horizon

As we roll into 2024 (literally we have all had so much chocolate at HOP) it's only natural to pause, reflect, and actually, be proud of some of our achievements in 2023. Each year brings its own set of experiences, challenges, and, most importantly, triumphs. As we bid farewell to 2023, we thought we would reflect on some of our accomplishments, the milestones we hit as a team and what’s coming up in 2024.

2023 started with a bang as we collaborated with some of our widening participation friends at the University of Hull, Student Futures, Into University and Hull and East Yorkshire Children’s University with our Widening Participation Conference. Bringing together organisations and people with the same shared goals and how we can help each other going forwards. It was really important to find gaps and we are looking forward to collaborating further with these amazing organisations this year.

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We started our new Podcast- Student Sector Spotlight Podcast. Once a month, we shine the spotlight on a different sector in the Humber region, giving students, and teachers and parents the opportunity to tune in and hear from CEO's, MD's, founders, employees and other influential people in the area. We have had some amazing guests speak this year from a local actress and member of Middle Child Theatre Company, Sophie Clay to Dr Kristy Clode, founder of Women and Girls into Manufacturing and Engineering (WiME). This podcast series has big plans to return this year with more Humber guests and Employers as well as featuring at some careers events, so keep your ears peeled.

In July we took students from four different schools across the Humber to a Bishop Burton residential overnight stay. Students engaged with a finance challenge looking at how pay checks, out-goings and savings could look, they got tours of the campus, HE challenges and even got to put their DNA in a necklace. This was incredibly well received by students and teachers and something we are very proud of.


Phase 3 of the Uni Connect programme proposes a greater focus on supporting and delivering initiatives for further education (FE) students. FE students are not a homogenous group; their needs differ based on demographic, cultural and social values. We teamed up with Cosmos Ltd to help us identify distinct segments within the FE student population and profile them via a range of attitudinal, behavioural and demographic characteristics. These profiles we categorised as HE Hopeful, HE Maybe, HE Sceptics and HE Confident. We are piloting the FE Segmentation Programme this year so watch this space!

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Our greatest achievement and something that is truly a team effort is our attainment raising project- Future Thinking, a six week programme that works with a group of students in year 8 on all things metacognition ending with a graduation ceremony and campus visit at the University of Hull! Already by the end of 2023 and only 3 months into the academic year we have worked with seven schools and we will be working with another nine for the rest of the academic year. We are really excited to review this work and improve it even further for the start of the academic year in September.

These are just a few key achievements worth mentioning along with all of our other delivery in schools, work with local enterprise, the LEP’s, our partner colleges, and other Uni Connects. Not to mention the events coming up in the first quarter of this year with National Apprenticeship Week, National Careers Week and the Humber Big Night Out. We are really proud of all our work in 2023 as we still navigate education post Covid-19 and we are ready to tackle 2024 head on and find even more HOPPORTUNITIES for the future! (Sorry cheesy bad joke to end). Happy New Year.

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