The past few weeks has shown that more state-educated pupils are studying at top universities and institutions, with elite UK universities such as Oxford and Cambridge admitting greater numbers of state-admitted pupils than ever before. While schools and universities undoubtedly have a role in this improvement, increasingly, non-profit organisations, such as The Legacy Project, are also encouraging and aiding students from disadvantaged backgrounds to apply to top UK universities and beyond.
The Legacy Project was founded in 2020 and aims to empower and develop young students from less socially mobile backgrounds to pioneer in their chosen fields. Particularly, it focus on helping students build their academic portfolios, working with established organisations to offer mental health support and delivering soft skills and personal development workshops.
Within less than a year, TLP has successfully launched several projects, all free of charge.
Examples of these include:
In furtherance of the aims and objectives of TLP, The Legacy Project is divided into four sub-branches as follows: TLP Careers and Academia, TLP Development, TLP Mental Health and TLP Give.
‘TLP Careers and Academia’ encompasses its work in aiding students throughout their educational journey. For prospective University students and Apprentices, TLP’s services focus on helping students build their academic portfolios by mentoring students, helping them with their university admissions and holding drop-in clinics for careers advice amongst more.
‘TLP Development’ encourages soft and hard skills development, such as public speaking, critical thinking and networking. These are skills which are not often taught in state schools but are incredibly important for students often continuing into further education or entering new environments as they begin their careers. Through its development programme, TLP will be working with students across different age groups on how to attain the life-skills necessary to grow as an individual.
‘TLP Mental Health’ aims to help to direct students, many of whom are from backgrounds where discussion on mental health is often lacking, to self-help resources, as well as raise awareness of and break the stigma often present around mental health.
Finally, ‘TLP Give’ encourages all students to continuously give back through participating in grassroots and third sector charity work. Through meaningful mentoring opportunities and fundraising projects, within just a year, TLP has raised £7,500 for Orphans in Need and towards building a Girl’s School & Wellbeing Centre in The Gambia, Africa.
The Legacy Project fulfills its objectives by comprising its volunteer team with individuals from the very backgrounds that it is aiming to support. These volunteers come from similar ethnic and educational backgrounds and are largely students from some of the country’s top universities. This feeds into two of TLP’s values: empathy and community. For the former, by having volunteers that resonate with the students’ experiences, it ensures that every individual feels safe and valued, without feelings of judgment to give them the freedom to be themselves and perform to their highest potential. For the latter, it encourages the creation of a space that fosters meaningful connections between team members to encourage a productive, engaging, and positive work culture.
In the future, The Legacy Project aims to build a network of individuals around the country and work directly with schools and educational establishments to expand the number of students benefiting from its programmes. Beyond this, it seeks to create a team of thought leaders in the social mobility sphere
The Project’s co-founder, Raihan Karim, makes it clear that “social mobility is a space that benefits from a proliferation of new organisations” with “no such thing as ‘bad competition’” – the growing number of such organisations demonstrates the drive of students, especially from minority backgrounds, to transform the educational space to a more diverse and accepting one.