The mentoring programme supporting black pupils to progress to top UK universities

A mentoring programme is helping to empower young black-heritage pupils in the North West to progress to top ranking universities.

UCAS figures show black students consistently have the lowest entry rate to further education, something the charity With Insight Education is working hard to change.

University student Jesy Luyengi is a mentor for With Insight Education

Jesy Luyengi, a first year studying mathematics at the University of Manchester, volunteers as a mentor.

He said: "I come from an estate where, as a black man, typically, if you want to make a life for yourself you either do it through football or become a rapper or, unfortunately, you may have to turn to a life of crime.

"I wanted something different. However it was quite difficult for me to see people doing that so that's why I decided to get involved in this programme.

"I tell the pupils about my experience - the realities of what it's like - and it just helps them believe that they can do it."

The mentoring scheme was set up to help black heritage pupils successfully apply to top ranked universities

Jesy and some of the other mentors are give tours of the university to pupils from Oasis Academy, MediaCityUK and Cedar Mount Academy, Gorton.

The aim is to give them an insight into student life and help them visualise themselves thriving at a top university.

Christine Kinnear, Founder and CEO of With Insight Education said: "We need to be empowering our own young people with the self belief they can go to the top universities and then supporting them along the way and this scheme does both of those things."

Christine wants to inspire young people to aim high in their choices.

Christine Kinnear, Founder and CEO of With Insight Education

She said: "There's this enduring problem that black heritage students have the lowest entry rates to top ranked universities and I just knew from personal experience, both my own and my children's that it wasn't down to a lack of potential or talent.

"It's about a lack of representation at these universities. These young people can't see their future selves there and it makes them doubt they belong in those spaces."

Academically, all the year nine pupils selected to attend the programme are already performing at a high level.

Dwain Brandy, assistant principal at Oasis Academy, MediaCityUK

But Dwain Brandy, assistant principal at Oasis Academy MediaCityUK, says it is crucial black and global majority pupils are encouraged to realise their potential.

He said: "If you can't see it - you can't be it.

"That's why it's so important these black and global majority pupils come here and meet students who look like them, who talk like them."

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