City Year UK celebrates university partnerships during Student Volunteering Week

Student Volunteering Week is the perfect opportunity for City Year UK to thank its university partners for their support in helping the charity have a positive impact on pupils in some of the most disadvantaged parts of the country.

After striking up relationships with a number of universities, including Aston, Middlesex, Birmingham City University and the University of Manchester, City Year UK has been able to provide more support to pupils who need it the most.

These relationships have led to students from these universities being encouraged to take up the challenge of joining the charity as part of their placement year.

One university partnership in particular stands out. City Year UK has 23 Aston University students serving in schools this year alone and another 16 already confirmed to join the charity as full-time mentors for the 2019/20 academic year. These students join the 35 Aston students how have already served with the charity.

To put this into context, that means Aston University students have given an eye-watering 50,800 hours of service to help young pupils overcome significant challenges to reach their potential, with thousands more hours to come this academic year and the next.

Iram Shariff, 20, is serving with City Year UK at Phoenix Collegiate (West Bromwich) during her placement year from Aston University where she is studying for a Business Computing and ICT degree. “I was a pupil at Holte School [where City Year UK has worked since 2013] and would always see City Year volunteers walking around. They gave extra support to help kids who needed to build their confidence and ran all sorts of after school clubs. I saw a change in the kids they worked with – I saw them grow as people. And, I could see the change in the school as well.

Iram Shariff (right) hosting a Macmillan Coffee Morning for City Year UK

“In my last year of sixth form, some of my friends joined City Year and they all told me how great it was and how it opened up so many opportunities to them. I had always wanted to do it, so when City Year came to my university opening day I grabbed my chance. “I’ve loved my City Year experience so far – it’s a massive challenge but really rewarding. I’m develop leadership, management, communication and organisation skills, which will help my in the industry I want to enter after finishing my degree.”

Jess Webster, 20, is serving at Hall Green Secondary School (Birmingham) while on her placement year from studying for a degree in Psychology at Aston University. “I volunteered as a City Year UK mentor as I wanted to gain experience working with children and young people as I have a keen interest in child mental health. ” said Jess. “With my own focus list students, I have seen developments in all students, ranging from attendance, behaviour, homework and attitudes to learning in classes.

“City Year UK has helped me develop professionally for my future as throughout the year my communication skills are continuously being developed through liaison within schools; adjusting from parents, pupils, teachers and senior members of staff. My interpersonal skills such as time-management, self-awareness, resilience and confidence have all improved due to working in the school environment and receiving feedback from my impact officer each half-term to look at where I have improved and where I can continue to improve. Additionally, as I seek a career working with children and young people, this programme has ensured me that this is still my passion and gave me a great experience working with this age range.”

Jessica Rexworthy, Recruitment and Strategic Partnerships Manager at City Year UK, said: “We are so proud of our partnerships with key universities. As part of Student Volunteering Week, we’re excited to pledge that will strengthen and grow these partnerships over the coming years. We couldn’t have the reach or impact we do without the support of our university partners and the amazing students they encourage to take part on our programme.”

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