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Widening participation podcast appearance

Widening participation podcast appearance

Last month, our CEO Laura Gray spoke to Tim Roe of PURSUE (Practitioners from Underrepresented Sections United through Education) on the Open Circle podcast. She was joined by former mentee and now mentor, Anton Springett.

The podcast promotes and represents working-class voices in widening participation and higher education by interviewing guests with lived experience.

This episode opens with a discussion of Anton and Laura’s backgrounds and the decisions they made to get them where they are today. Laura admits that she didn’t have a plan beyond studying Fine Art at university and would have really benefitted from having a mentor to talk to when she was deciding on her future pathway. She said:

“Mentoring is a safe space to ask the silly questions. Because of my background, I had no idea what a first meant until I got to university.”

Laura Gray

Anton spoke about his experience of mentoring; how he found out about it through a talk at his school in sixth form, his first few exchanges with Alex, his mentor, and how it helped to clarify his thinking. Talking about his mentor, he said, “he was so helpful, he answered every question, and I had A LOT of questions.”

They discussed how all young people have aspirations, and all young people want to move to a positive destination but they might not have the knowledge, the space or the role model to negotiate that pathway effectively. Laura also highlighted that as a charity, we don’t only help people understand university, we help young people find the path that’s right for them.

Thinking about kids now with Covid and what’s gone on, the opportunities have been greatly reduced, so Brightside is a fantastic opportunity for young people from working class backgrounds to tap into things online.

Tim Roe

If you’d like to partner with us to run with young people who could benefit from mentoring, here’s how to get in touch.

Anton’s advice for anyone considering mentoring was: go for it. He said, “It can be a really fantastic opportunity to learn something and to grow and you just don’t know what it’ll lead to.”


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