January is a busy time for the Trust's Scholarship team. With the UCAS application deadline on 15 January we're contacting our partner schools to begin the annual process of identifying potential Robertson Scholars.
We're also delivering the second round of Journey to Success workshops for our 500+ existing Scholars, and reviewing and responding to their six month reports. We also have around 90 internships to source for our third year Scholars while planning for our annual Scholars' meeting in March and graduation lunch in June. Before long we'll be deep into the selection process for the new Scholars and planning their Residential Induction with the Outward Bound Trust in the Lake District before they start at their universities in September.
Journey to Success
A Robertson Scholar receives financial support from the Trust, but the core of our programme is the Journey to Success, a self-development programme that lasts for their whole university career and aims to equip them with the skills, resilience and confidence to make a difference in our society. Earlier this month, we recorded four current Robertson scholars talking their experiences of the Journey to Success programme, and the video can be viewed at the foot of this article.
Realising potential is one of the Trust's core aims, and through our Scholarship activity we aim to increase the number of young people from under-represented groups entering and successfully completing higher education courses.
The Robertson Scholars are at the centre of our Scholarship portfolio, and around them we are building a range of partnership projects that will support young people at all stages of the learner journey to overcome barriers to attainment, give them the belief that they can obtain a degree and a graduate career, and give them the life skills they need to achieve their aspirations. We are working with College and University partners on projects that engage with young people from P7 all the way to university, who face a range of challenges to success. The projects provide mentoring, develop literacy and numeracy, support the university application process and target particular subject areas such as STEM.
Supporting Fair Access
We aim to use the learning from our projects to support the development of education policy and practice. The Fair Access Commissioner, Professor Sir Peter Scott, is leading development of a Fair Access Toolkit, and we will be keen to support this welcome development. Sir Peter's 2017 annual report challenges universities to develop a common approach to bridging programmes and make more imaginative use of the first year of degree programmes as part of a step change in widening access. The experiences of our Scholars will we are sure be helpful in supporting our university partners in this work.
Sir Peter's report also proposes a 'social covenant' that will take a holistic view of the engagement of universities with their communities. Our projects as they develop will engage with a wide range of organisations and communities to support social mobility as we aim to create opportunities, reduce inequalities and realise potential throughout the learner journey and we look forward to being able to support Sir Peter and the universities and colleges as they grapple with the challenges of widening access.
It's an exciting time for our Scholarship team as we work hard to support our individual Scholars and our partners in the developing widening access landscape. I look forward to keeping you informed of our progress over the next few years. For now, I'll leave the final word to one of our 2017 graduates:
“The Robertson Trust Scholarship is not just a bursary award in my view but a family. As a family we all support and encourage each other as we increase our professional and personal networks.”