By Amy Cutler

Both UCFB Wembley and UCFB Burnley dedicated student services teams regularly lead on a number of local student mentoring programmes where UCFB students offer mentorship to students at surrounding schools. The aim of these programmes is to work with a selected group of students at local secondary schools in order to improve cohesion and opportunities within local communities and to help those students to develop aspirations for their future careers.

The latest student mentoring programme undertaken by UCFB is in partnership with Harrow Hatch End. The first introduction for the Hatch End students was an exclusive personal visit to the world-famous Wembley Stadium, home of UCFB Wembley, where the students and their families were able to watch the FA Trophy Final as part of a Parent Engagement Day. In upcoming sessions, UCFB students will present their journey so far and deliver micro seminars on their experience of studying within Wembley Stadium as well as covering appropriate material from their own lectures. The project will also provide football coaching and tournaments, assisting the Hatch End pupils with their own project work and life skills sessions such as CEOP Internet Safety.

These sessions help to form positive relationships between the partner institutions and all of their wider stakeholders.

Leon Ettienne, the lead for the Harrow Hatch End Student Mentoring Project commented on the Parent Engagement Day:

“We had a total of 10 parents attend who all stated what a fantastic experience the day was. The majority of the parents and students had not been to the stadium before, which made visiting such an iconic place even more of a special occasion. This was the perfect way to introduce UCFB and the Raising Aspirations Programme. I also think that this programme will act as a vehicle to showcase what an excellent place UCFB is to study and what positive partnerships we have as a secondary school. I looking forward to our next session.”

Nick Radley, Student Services Team Leader at UCFB Wembley added:

“This project is a real opportunity to join in with the local community, develop our students and provide aspirations for the younger generation around higher education and the sports industry.

The way that our students have dived straight into this venture really demonstrates the values of UCFB and we are looking forward to a long and successful partnership with Hatch End and many other local services.”

UCFB Wembley BA (Hons) Football Business & Marketing student, Aaran Singh Korotana, discussed his first mentoring session:

“At first I was nervous in advising the Hatch End students but I quickly became more comfortable as my experiences clearly resonated with them. I elaborated on Leon’s points, such as the importance of attendance and self-motivation. They seemed very engaged and it was enlightening of them to ask various questions.

“After our talks we split into groups of three. I asked them questions about school, hobbies and their ambitions for the future. We then went outside for a football competition. It was great to see the pupils who normally wouldn’t associate with each other play and interact.

“Overall it was a very positive session and they were eager to find out more information about the next one that we have planned for them.”

Fellow UCFB Wembley BA (Hons) Football Business & Marketing student, Robert Quigley, added:

“We each presented our story of how we got to UCFB, why we chose to go into higher education and our hobbies and interests. Once we had shared our stories, we split into our smaller groups. I heard a bit of what each of the students do and what their plans are for the future. This was particularly pertinent as one pupil shares the same coaching interests as me, so I recommended completing their FA Level 1 Coaching certificate and gaining valuable voluntary experience. The other two play for Brentford football academy and have even been abroad to play in competitions. It was great to hear that they intend to study sport, so UCFB could be an opportunity for them in the future.

“Furthermore, everyone got involved in the football competition, which was great to see. They enjoyed this very much, and it was fantastic to see interaction from everyone across the different age groups.”

UCFB Wembley BSc (Hons) Sport Psychology student, Richard Harvey, said:

“Initially, speaking to children who have had trouble with their behaviour in school seemed to be quite a daunting task; however after speaking to them and getting to know them face to face it is clear to see that they are all very talented individuals and have the ability to achieve anything that they want with the right guidance. Getting to know them turned out to be a very fulfilling experience. Once we moved outside it was very rewarding to see them having fun and expressing themselves by playing football. I look forward to meeting all of the students again next week to offer help and encouragement to make the most of their opportunities”.

Learn more about student support at UCFB