What is Future Steps?
Future Steps is a programme introduced by the Southern Universities Network (SUN) to support school leavers, college and sixth form students as they transition through to their next steps into sixth form, college, university and beyond. SUN aims to support students via:
- Online chat platform – giving students the opportunity to chat with current undergraduate students, careers advisers and progression mentors
- Relevant content and FAQs generated from Year 13 feedback
- Bursary applications for additional CEIAG interventions for final year college and school sixth form students
Future Steps aims to support students with their questions, providing a link between your students and current university students, college progression mentors and careers advisors. The Future Steps chat platform can be accessed at any time and will provide your students with a valuable resource over the summer months. Parents, carers and other family members are encouraged to use the chat platform too!
Students can use the chat function to ask questions about their progression and tackle their concerns in this current climate. This is not intended to replace the college or school’s existing provision; it is designed to complement and encourage engagement, signposting students back to their school or college careers team, or progression mentor, for specialist information. By appealing to students on an informal, digital platform, in a chat format they are familiar with, it is hoped that students who don’t typically engage with traditional careers provision will feel comfortable to reach out and receive valuable support.
Safeguarding and student safety is a key feature of the platform, with built in keyword detection that flags and alerts any potential risks. Messages that are flagged will not be sent to or from the students before approval from a trained SUN member of staff. All student ambassadors will receive thorough training before going live on the system and progression mentors are already working for SUN in a number of colleges across Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight. Online chat is supported by Hampshire County Council, Portsmouth City Council and Southampton City Council.