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Welcome to the SUN Progression Mentors Area. Click on the headings below to find out more.

Uni Connect works with further education (FE) colleges and universities in local areas to help underrepresented students understand their higher education (HE) and training options at Levels 4, 5 and 6.

The SUN Progression Mentor programme was launched in 2018 as a major investment and core element of its Uni Connect Programme. Modelled on a SUN-funded project delivered by a college based in Southampton in 2017, and with input and insight from other Uni Connect partnerships across the country who had trialled similar programmes, the partnership proposed the concept of introducing a SUN-funded role in each college across the region.

Employed by the college and funded by SUN, Progression Mentors are dedicated to supporting and delivering the aims of the Uni Connect programme and are tasked with supporting Uni Connect students in their progression towards HE. SUN Progression Mentors are located within their respective college (some across multiple sites); they are line managed by a member of college staff and receive additional support and guidance from a member of the SUN central team.

Progression Mentors provide impartial advice and guidance to Uni Connect students whilst working collaboratively with other colleges and sharing best practice. This partnership and the SUN programme have boosted the number of college and university trips and engagement, specifically for students who currently have no career destinations in mind.

Working with the SUN and Uni Connect has encouraged a cross-course and inter-department collaboration, in finding ways to inspire aspiration in this often hard to reach group of students. Having an inter-departmental approach to trips across the college, has opened up opportunities to a broader spectrum of students.
Queen Mary’s College, Basingstoke

My name is Naima Ali, a former student at Portsmouth College, where I studied A-level Law, Psychology and Religious Studies. I am currently studying Politics, Philosophy and Law (LLB) at King’s College London.

Whilst it might be straightforward to decide what degree you want to study, narrowing down exactly where you want to apply might be difficult. For this, I would advise researching into organisations such as Sutton Trust, SUN and HE+, who offer various summer schools, taster courses or experiences that allow you to learn more about higher education. It was through such opportunities that I was able to confidently make my university choices. For those who are struggling to decide their degree, I would advise following your interests and passions rather than the career as that will follow after.

Attending university should be a choice that you are proud of, not a choice you felt compelled to pick. It can be easy to feel persuaded by those around you to opt for university but through doing your own research on possible courses, university choices and career paths, it will become something that you want to achieve.