Extending opportunity through university experience

Pupils on the Northern Lights programme
Pupils on the Northern Lights programme

More than 100 secondary school pupils have been recognised for their commitment to learning and skills development by Robert Gordon University as it celebrated the fourth year of its Northern Lights higher-education programme.

Northern Lights helps S1 and S2 pupils explore further and higher education opportunities by giving them the chance to experience university life and engage in subject-focused study.

Northfield Academy has taken part in the programme since its inception back in 2014. The university was able to work with St Machar Academy and Mintlaw Academy this year due to the programme’s continued success.

Director of Enhancement of Learning, Teaching and Access (DELTA), James Dunphy, said: “The Northern Lights Programme is a key component of RGU’s commitment to extend opportunity and widen access. We are delighted to open our campus to young people through the programme and are proud to have played a role in supporting their ambitions.”

This year, participants experienced five engagement sessions that took place on campus and in their own schools. The activities were designed to develop the pupils’ confidence and maximise their potential.

S1 pupils were visited by guest speakers, who taught them about the skills and qualities they may need for entering the workforce. On campus, the pupils got to try stop-motion animation.

S2 pupils had the opportunity to work with engineers and build a “geek clock” that displayed the time through flashing lights. They also took part in film, print and photojournalism sessions.

The pupils’ completed works were showcased at the End of Programme Celebration events that took place on Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 May.

Widening Participation Project Officer Geraldine Lynch said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to work with the pupils. I really admire their attitude, the work they’ve put in and what they’ve brought to the programme. We hope to continue working with the schools and build on that relationship for the future.”

All of the pupils that took part from each of the three schools were recognised with certificates and hoodies with the Northern Lights logo on the sleeve.