Date banner - showing 2019 and 2020

 by Jon Cheek
, posted On 6 Dec '19

2019 in review and a reminder of how UniTasterDays can help - you!

2019 has been a great year for UniTasterDays – and encouraged by Jeff Haden’s* book, The Motivation Myth (which i'd recommend), I will look back on six (for the 6th December) of our biggest achievements as I look forward to 2020. *Jeff is a big one for taking stock of achievements, rather than just working constantly towards a massive goal.

Do look out for the call at the end, inviting your feedback on what UniTasterDays can do to further support universities and schools during what promises to be a very busy 2020 as well!

1: More institutions than ever listing events

The search area of UniTasterDays is only useful to schools if universities add their events. At the time of writing – over 70 institutions have accounts to list events on UniTasterDays – meaning just seven years after launching, more institutions are using UniTasterDays than those that aren’t – including 10+ new institutions in the last two months.

Teachers Guide to University banner

2: A new Teachers’ Guide with glowing feedback!

The UniTasterDays Teachers’ Guide to University brochure is produced each year - and the current edition (which was released in October) is the biggest and best one yet! Editorial has been provided by over 35 colleagues at universities throughout the UK, on topics including building university links, the Gatsby benchmarks, degree apprenticeships, university CPD opportunities and more.

Experts and celebrity names outside higher education have also supplied fantastic content in the Guide, including Martin Lewis’s exclusive content on university fees and finance and graduate employability content from one of Europe’s most successful business leaders, Sky Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch - and celebrity entrepreneur and retail magnate Theo Paphitis.

3: Workshops now delivered with impact reporting at the core

UniTasterDays have always delivered independent workshops for schools - and during 2019, these have been developed more than any other year through – (1) making them even more interactive, by investing in interactive clickers for students, and lots of workshop props and (2) making reporting at the heart – to ensure post-session, schools, colleges, networks and universities we are working with have a fantastic report to evidence post-session impact.

I also went back to my old school to deliver a year-long aspirations project – which was so successful, it was jointly entered into the Careers Excellence awards (we didn’t win – but I am sure we must have been close!!).

4: New NCOP and outreach hub relationships

UniTasterDays are familiar with national outreach initiatives – working closely with the NNCO scheme in 2015, then the NCOP from 2017 and now Outreach Hubs from 2019. At the time of writing, UniTasterDays are already working with 6 of the 29 new outreach hubs to support event signposting through the fantastic UniTasterDays connect technology which has been developed for these projects.

National review banner infographic

5: National research – with far-reaching acclaim

UniTasterDays also embarked on our first piece of national research, releasing the results of our national review of university guidance in schools and colleges in March this year -working closely with a steering group of HELOA members and Aimhigher West Midlands’s Matt Horton – who is one of the leading lights of higher education research nationally.

The research included the time period when university guidance in schools was starting, the activities which are offered, what schools consider to be the greatest barriers to the higher education participation of their students, and the challenges schools face when arranging university events. You never know, it just may influence future policy too!

6: A new request event support section with a Gatsby focus

UniTasterDays have also re-developed the request an event section of the site – making it more Gatsby-ready for schools wishing to engage with universities to meet their Gatsby Benchmark 7 requirements.

We are not stopping there. Can UniTasterDays do more to help you?

We are always keen to work with universities and schools – to further support the school and college university links. Pleaae get in touch if we can help.

Teachers, careers colleagues and support staff: request your FREE UniTasterDays Teachers' Guide to University brochure.

This brochure has been produced by in collaboration with HELOA - to support the university guidance that is provided in secondary schools and colleges.

Editorial has been provided by over 35 colleagues at universities and higher education institutions throughout the UK. On topics covering how to support students with their university decisions, university events, widening participation & fair access, UCAS applications (including writing school references) and more. It also includes the key student finance facts from Martin Lewis.

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