Mentorship for success: The Access Project launches Impactful Mentoring report

The Access Project is thrilled to launch its ‘Impactful Mentoring’ report, delving into the critical role mentoring plays in widening access to higher education.

The Access Project is a leading social mobility charity dedicated to supporting under-resourced students in accessing top-third universities. Today, we’re unveiling our ‘Impactful Mentoring’ report, concluding our recent series of research news pieces on the effectiveness of our mentorship programme. This report provides a closer look at how The Access Project has honed its mentoring model to drive tangible outcomes for young people from under-resourced backgrounds over its last 15 years in operation.

The report also outlines how The Access Project plans to develop its mentoring programme to focus on inclusive and adaptable mentoring, as well as a new initiative to develop essential transferable skills in students.

Crafted by our Strategy and Impact team and with foreword by Chief Executive Officer Anna Searle, we explore the evidence base for mentoring in widening access to universities, citing research that underscores the positive impact of mentoring on academic, social, and emotional development. The report emphasises the importance of sustained, high-quality relationships between mentors and mentees, tailored support, and well-trained mentors. Through structured programs delivered by expert mentors, students receive guidance on navigating the university application process, building essential skills, and overcoming barriers to success.

The impact of The Access Project’s mentoring programs is evident in the outcomes achieved by its students. External validation from UCAS shows that students on The Access Project programs are almost twice as likely to secure a place at a top university compared to their peers from similar backgrounds. Throughout the report, testimonials from students, alumni, and school staff underscore the profound impact of our mentoring on individual lives.

“I am so grateful for my mentor and all the support she has shown me over the past few years, where she has significantly contributed to the person I am now and will be.”

Ceydanur, student at The Access Project

Adam Runacres, Impact and Policy Manager at The Access Project, said: “I’m thrilled to share this report highlighting the impact our mentors have at The Access Project in empowering our students to push boundaries and overcome hurdles on the pathway to achieving their ambitions. We hope that this report illuminates the real difference that mentoring can make to turn young peoples’ aspirations into reality”.

Moving forward, our aim is to continue to support students as our operations grow. This report serves as evidence for the necessity of this growth, and our ambition is that students will build their essential skills alongside their university readiness, setting them up for even greater success at university and beyond. In 2024, we will pilot a new mentorship programme with greater involvement of corporate volunteers to help grow students’ professional networks and skills for employability, with a dedicated focus on inclusive and adaptable mentoring.

The Access Project invites stakeholders to engage with us and join our mission to help shape the future of the higher education landscape.

Read the report in full below.

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