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Innovative peer student recruitment company strikes up digital partnership with the Sutton Trust

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Thousands of the UK's most disadvantaged teenagers set to benefit from new initiative 

EDTECH pioneers The Access Platform, have joined forces with leading social mobility charity, the Sutton Trust, in an innovative move to bolster disadvantaged young people’s chances of getting into university.

Since its inception, TAP has revolutionised student recruitment for universities across the world by providing a peer recruitment tool which has seen engagement rates soar between partner institutions and prospective students.

Now the London-based organisation has collaborated with the Sutton Trust to support the creation of a new digital platform - Sutton Trust Online - which thousands of young adults will be granted access to as they bid to secure a place at university.

Nik Higgins, TAP’s Chief Strategy Officer described the project as a  “true milestone” in their widening participation work. 

He said: “The platform has been supporting several Oxford colleges and departments, as well as other universities and Uni Connect,formally known as the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP), but working with the Sutton Trust will extend that work considerably. 

“I know from my work as a careers adviser at an inner city sixth form college just how valuable and transformative this kind of peer-to-peer dialogue can be”. 

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the Sutton Trust had to postpone its flagship Summer School programme, at which thousands of students would have received crucial advice and guidance on university applications, along with an insight into academic content and help on student finance. 

During this time of uncertainty and with social distancing measures in place, TAP, along with Bloomberg LP,  has supported the Sutton Trust in creating and launching Sutton Trust Online.

It will be rolled out to more than 6,000 Year 12 students (16 and 17-year-olds) across the UK.

Students have been invited to take part in one of 300 subject-specific courses at their online host university. For example, if a student applied to the medicine summer school at the University of Cambridge, they would receive bespoke content developed by the team at Cambridge. 

Using TAP’s peer to peer technology, prospective university students will also get the chance to break the ice and gain an insight into university life by speaking to student ambassadors on a personal level online. 

Through Sutton Trust Online students will get the opportunity to connect with those who have been supported by the educational charity previously and gained a university place thanks to their help. 

Recent Sutton Trust research showed there was an increasing uncertainty amongst young people about how their next steps would be affected by Covid-19. Key findings were that a fifth of university applicants had changed their mind about their university attendance this autumn. 

And, almost half of the applicants in the survey felt the Covid-19 health crisis would have a negative impact on their chances of getting into their first-choice university. 

Binda Patel, Head of Innovation at the Sutton Trust, said: “Building a professional and social network is a key component of our programmes and we want to recreate these interactions on our new digital platform.

“The Access Platform has allowed us to connect our students with our growing alumni community. It will help our students to chat to their peers, and gain advice and tips from alums who are just a few steps ahead of them.” 

Sir Peter Lampl, founder and chairman of the Sutton Trust and chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation said: “Our research has shown that the coronavirus has had a major impact on young people and will have a profound effect on their futures. High-quality support is needed more than ever, but with face-to-face programmes unable to go ahead, there is a serious gap in provision.

“The new platform will incorporate all the features of the Trust’s flagship Summer Schools, including academic content, advice and guidance on applications and student finance, plus an insight into what university life is like.

“We are confident that it will be a good substitute for our traditional summer schools and help to ensure highly talented, lower-income students don’t lose out.”

Universities hosting their programmes through Sutton Trust online include Cardiff University, Durham University, Imperial College London, King’s College London, University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh, University of Nottingham, University of Glasgow and many more. 


This press release was distributed on behalf of The Access Platform by 32West. For further information please contact Celia Powell on 07903396973, 01229 808 306, celia@32west.co.uk.

Editor’s notes
The Access Platform uses bespoke technology to enable universities to recruit more students through peer-to-peer conversations, user-generated content, and FAQs.

More than 100 institutions worldwide are already using the platform to provide a more authentic experience for prospective students.

Universities using The Access Platform see three quarters of applicants being ‘more likely’ to apply to their university after using the service, and up to a 100x ROI on their initial spend.