Brightside Collaborative National Programme for Young Refugees September 2021


Refugees face significant barriers to successful participation in higher education, including a lack of
certainty over immigration status, tuition fee concerns, language and cultural barriers and issues
around validating previous qualifications. This means that those with the academic potential to
participate in higher education are often unable to access and benefit from it.

In response to this, Brightside, with support from Refugee Education UK, have developed a 1:1
mentoring programme to support young refugees aged 16-26 in the FE college system as they
navigate the unique and complex set of challenges with their next steps.

Programme Aims and Approach

The programme will provide refugee learners with tailored advice and guidance to support their
higher education and future career journey, including an insight into applying to HE, course and
university options, accommodation, student life, student finance and financial support available.

Specific aims:
– To increase mentees’ understanding of how to navigate the UK HE system and support them
in planning routes and next steps to HE
– To support mentees to build and use their networks
– To build mentees’ confidence and motivation to succeed
– To help mentees identify common barriers and concerns and how to overcome them
– To support mentee’s in navigating, understanding and making applications to HE

How will we deliver the programme together?

Brightside will:
– Recruit, DBS check and train all mentors for the programme
– Support mentees onto the platform and provide them with an induction
– Create mentoring guides and support materials to structure the programme
– Support mentoring pairs throughout the project: dealing with queries, sending
communications, monitoring and moderating messages for safeguarding purposes
– Provide regular sign-up and engagement reports, and updates for Partners
– Evaluate the programme

Refugee Education UK (formally Refugee Support Network) will:
– Design and deliver tailored training to mentors on the specific context and issues facing
refugee learners
– Design and regularly update a “Young Refugees” resource toolkit for mentees and mentors

Partners will need to recruit mentees to the programme and stay regularly involved throughout.


– 16 week programme
– Mentee recruitment to take place between August- September 2021
– Mentor recruitment and training to take place between July – August 2021
– Programme to launch at the end of September 2021
– Programme to finish at the end of January 2022

Next Steps

We are asking universities to let us know if they’re interested in joining this programme by completing an expressions of interest form by the end of May 2021, and if you have any questions please contact Nick Wells.