Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


South Wales students get a ‘step-up’ to Uni

24 August 2010

Like hundreds of successful A-level students, Alex Jones and Henna Ahmed are looking forward to life at university.

However, their transition from school to university was eased by an innovative Cardiff University scheme designed to give pupils a ‘step-up’ into university.

The two join a growing list of students to have successfully completed Cardiff University’s three-year Step-up scheme - designed to give school pupils an insight into university life, the courses on offer and information on how to prepare for university.

This year some 57 pupils who took part in the Step-up Scheme are expected to take up their places at Cardiff University and a further 89 have secured places at universities across the UK. In total the scheme has helped 146 pupils secure a place at university, an increase from 116 last year.

"At the end of year ten, I joined the Cardiff University Step-up to Uni scheme, after hearing about it through school," said former Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School pupil Alex Jones, "The Scheme gave me the chance to attend a range of first year medical lectures at Cardiff University where I got to talk to many medical students who helped confirm my desire to do Medicine," she added.

Organised by Cardiff University’s widening access team, pupils are visited at their schools and are invited to apply to join.

Cardiff University’s Step-up Coordinator, Vicki Roylance said: "The scheme brings together pupils, student mentors and academic staff at a variety of events. Current students give talks about their experiences at university and there is plenty of information available on routes into Higher Education, university accommodation, costs of being a student and much more."

For South Wales pupils, Student Mentors also visit pupils at their schools and chat to them about their lives as students and what their career choice means to them. For those in other parts of Wales, pupils can contact their Mentors via an e-mentoring scheme.

A dedicated website allows Step-up students to chat on-line to Cardiff University students providing ‘role models’ for the pupils. Pupils can also attend a two-day residential summer school in July at Cardiff University. The summer school offers talks by health care professionals, project work, social activities, teambuilding and a one-night stay in university accommodation.

It also gives pupils the opportunity to witness what goes on in the various departments within the hospital along with a chance to experience a taste of student life.

Alex added: "During the school holidays in 2009 I attended a two day Step-up residential summer school at Cardiff University. This gave me the opportunity to witness what happens within the various departments of the hospital and attend talks by many health care professionals.

"These experiences gave me the insight to see what it's like to study Medicine at Cardiff."

The positive experience is the same for former Fitzalan High School pupil, Henna Ahmed who starts her Pharmacy studies at Cardiff University next month. Henna said: "Step-up scheme has been fantastic especially the support I received during the Step-up Summer Science programme.

"I think the work they do is fantastic and very important especially targeting students entering year 10 as it motivates and interests them to do better and aim for something", insists Henna.



For further information please contact:

Chris Jones
Public Relations
Cardiff University
Tel: 029 20 874731

Cardiff University
Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, Professor Sir Martin Evans.

Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.