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Blog – Tapping All Our Talents

News – Perth hosts Fair Access Conference

Mike Cantlay, Chair of the Scottish Funding Council, attended a special event in St Andrews today to celebrate a group of youngsters from Fife and Tayside getting closer to achieving their ambition of going to college or university.

The young people, from high schools across the region, have completed a week-long residential course designed to give them a unique insight of what it’s like to be a student. Based at the University of St Andrews, the group visited a selection of universities and colleges for taster sessions on subjects as diverse as midwifery and architecture.

The experience was provided by LIFT OFF, part of a national programme which aims to encourage and support young people considering applying to college or university after school. Since LIFT OFF’s launch in 2005, schools benefitting from its work have experienced an increase in the number of their students going on to higher education.

The LIFT OFF project is based at Abertay University whose Principal, Professor Nigel Seaton, said: “We are proud to host LIFT OFF at Abertay University, with the collaborative initiative forming an important part of our widening access agenda.

“It is vital that young people across Scotland feel that going to college or university is a realistic option, and LIFT OFF provides a fantastic opportunity for those from Tayside and Fife to get a real sense of opportunities available on their own doorstep.”

Speaking after today’s event Mike Cantlay said: “LIFT OFF and similar programmes we fund across Scotland work incredibly hard to break down the barriers that can discourage talented young people from going to college or university. Thanks to this week’s activities, the youngsters I met today were knowledgeable, confident and excited about higher education. That’s a really important step forward and I wish them all the very best of luck in making the most of the opportunities they have ahead of them.”

Mairi McKinnon, LIFT OFF’s interim manager, said: “It’s been brilliant to see young people change during the week from being slightly nervous and apprehensive, to making friends, having fun, and getting really enthusiastic about where their studies at school can take them.”

A second group of LIFT OFF students start their residential week on 16 July.