As part of our ongoing commitment to support all young people to achieve their potential, we’re launching an ambitious programme to open up the world of tutoring to students from similar communities to our tutees.

Our First Steps Programme, developed through work with our university partners’ respective Widening Participation and Careers Teams, will enable more university students to boost their career prospects by tutoring with us.  

As a charity focused on fairness and inclusivity, we wanted to extend the opportunity to tutor with us to students from underrepresented groups, who have the qualities we look for, but who might not otherwise have the confidence to apply to us.

We know that tuition can be powerful, both for pupils, and just as importantly, for our tutors. Through working in a school environment, and planning sessions to help young minds engage with learning and understand subjects with which they had previously struggled, our tutors develop a suite of skills that they can use both through their time at university and after graduation.

First Steps targets current students and graduates who have taken part in widening participation programmes at one of our partner universities. We want to ensure that no lack of resources, experience, or confidence will prevent excellent candidates from working with us to support young people achieve their potential, in turn giving them the professional experiences and skills that they may not otherwise acquire during their time at university.

Chloe Williams (pictured right) is studying at the University of Manchester and has ambitions to start teacher training next year.  She was on the university’s Manchester Access Programme for her undergraduate degree, and, throughout her studies, has tutored with us. She feels the support we give tutors is preparing her well for her future career.

The guidance, resources and CPD events that Tutor Trust have offered have provided a great first stepping-stone into my future career as a teacher. I already feel well-equipped with the strategies and confidence to enter the classroom alongside a well-rounded awareness of students’ barriers to learning,” she says.

She has a Bachelors degree in Geography and is now working on her Masters in International Development, specialising in Climate Change and Environment. Her plan next year is to complete her PGCE in Geography.

She says: “I am currently writing my personal statement for the PGCE course and am able to draw upon the experience, knowledge and skills that I have gained from tutoring.

Chloe, is also an Advanced Tutor with us, and one who works with our Tutoring Plus team, supporting some of the most vulnerable young people, is now passing on her skills to new tutors, supporting them with lesson plans and offering tips and advice on starting new assignments.

Farzana Begum, a Biomedical Sciences student at the University of Salford, is also part of MAP. She finds tutoring rewarding in many ways.

Tutoring continues to be an amazing experience,” she says. “The best part is knowing that what I’m doing is helping the students to get the grades they are capable of and deserve. One of my favourite memories is one of my tutees recognising me outside of school and coming to tell me how their exams had gone. I felt so proud to see how proud they were of themselves!”

And Farzana is putting the skills she has learned – including time planning and presenting – to good use in her studies.

She adds: “Although I am not sure about my plans after university, I know that my tutoring experience will help across a range of jobs due to the transferable skills I have gained which has helped me both professionally and personally.”

For Dil Bahir (pictured right), also on MAP, the tutoring experience has been invaluable. Now studying Law at the University of Manchester, he says:

Tutor Trust provides a great opportunity for students like myself, allowing us to gain valuable experiences and connections in professional environments. It is rewarding to be able to transfer knowledge and build rapport with schools and students knowing that you are investing in the future of this world.

“With my completed law degree, I may not pursue a career in teaching further down the line, but I don’t rule it out entirely either.”

For our University Partnerships Manager, Dr Will Simms, the First Steps Programme is one that’s very close to his heart.  

“Having grown up in social housing in North Bristol, I faced a lot of barriers to learning.  It was only after the support of a teacher who encouraged my enthusiasm for the written word, that I was able to pursue my passion for literature all the way to PhD level. 

“I know that I was lucky to have someone who believed in me and encouraged me. The truth is that there are thousands of potential PhDs out there facing similar barriers to me who don’t have access to the support I had.

“This initiative gives us the ability to provide more intervention and support across the North of England to ensure that young people are given the opportunity to reach the potential we know they have. Added to this, it gives potential tutors from these same backgrounds an excellent first step into teaching, or any other profession, by providing them with the skills they need to flourish after graduation.” 

First Steps will support students to start their tutoring journey with us. We’ll:

  • Support individuals by allowing for contextual offers at our application stage, should they fall short of the experience we normally look for from our applicants.
  • Offer guidance for individuals while they complete their application.
  • Offer additional support in preparation for their tutor interview.

We continue to offer all tutors support throughout their time with us, with ongoing tutorials, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) opportunities and regular quality monitoring of lessons and tuition sessions, to maximise the impact of every hour of tuition.

First Steps is part of our offer to make education fairer for all.  And we’re also part of wider discussions. Our Director of Impact, Jenny Muter, represented Tutor Trust at the Fair Access Forum on Monday 10th October. Led by our partner charity, Impetus, the forum brought together charities with the Office for Students (OfS) to discuss the OfS's proposals for access and participation. The proposals include an increased focus on universities working with schools and charities to improve pre-16 attainment and widen access, which fits exactly with our work at Tutor Trust. Here's to progress being made in this area.

If you are interested in tutoring with us, please visit Join us | The Tutor Trust or contact Will direct on will.sim[email protected]. You can also find additional support for help with your application and interviews on our Steps to Success blogs.