Volunteer blog: I come from a low-income household, so I want to help young people just like me

The Access Project is proud to work with more than 1,000 volunteers who help change the lives of under-resourced young people. This week, we’re featuring a guest blog from one of our volunteer tutors, Dan, who dedicates one hour per week to tutoring biology alongside his studies at the University of Oxford.

I’m Dan and I am currently studying a master’s in biology at the University of Oxford.

Uni life is not just work for me – I enjoy doing archery, photography and still have time to binge TV series and movies with my friends. I was also the environment rep at my college for around three years during my bachelor’s and have participated in a range of environmental societies too. However, getting into university wasn’t always on the cards for me.

I come from a low-income household. I attended multiple state schools and was in receipt of free school meals throughout my early education. I had to work hard to get in the position I am in, and I know I would not have been successful without the extra support my teachers gave me while I was studying for my GCSEs and A levels. Unfortunately, I know many students are not as lucky to have this additional support available to them. I soon realised I wanted to make a difference to other young people to get to where they want regardless of their situation.

“Getting into university wasn’t always on the cards for me.”

I heard about The Access Project from one of my tutors at university and decided to read up on the programme. I applied to become a volunteer tutor, to help a student just like me for one hour a week. The application process was very smooth and efficient, and the training sessions equipped me with the skills I needed to write and deliver effective tutorial sessions. I was matched with a student, and we have already had 5 great tutorials. The Access Project’s digital platform provides you with all the resources you could need – access to textbooks, interactive whiteboards in the virtual classroom, and screen share for presentations prepared beforehand.

Overall, my experience with The Access Project has been very positive. The admin and coordinator teams have been very friendly and supportive and are quick to resolve any issues that come up. Participating in the programme as a volunteer tutor feels extremely rewarding knowing that you are helping a student achieve their goals and gives me more confidence in my presentation and tutoring skills that benefits me in my studies and career. It really is a win-win – supporting someone and gaining valuable experience at the same time.

Volunteering with The Access Project has been a brilliant experience. I’ve developed skills that will be a massive benefit to me moving forward with a career in STEM or education and has given me an enormous sense of fulfilment providing the same kind of support that once allowed me to flourish. I would really urge anyone – no matter what subject or career path – to volunteer with the programme.

The Access Project combats educational inequality through widening participation programmes, offering tutoring, mentoring and enrichment opportunities. We empower disadvantaged young people to realise their full potential.

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