Brightside Awards 2015

zain 1

Realising Opportunities (RO) is proud to announce a very successful night at the 2015 Brightside Awards.

Zain Hameed received the award for Student Mentor of the Year at the ceremony. Zain is a current student at King’s College London and his award acknowledges his dedication to E-Mentoring on the Realising Opportunities programme.

RO is also excited to announce that Summer Dolan was awarded ‘Higher Education Mentee of the Year’. Summer studied at Norton College and was mentored by Alex Stonebanks, a current student at Newcastle University, who was impressed by Summer’s enthusiasm for higher education and commitment to doing the best she could.

Many congratulations to all our shortlisted finalists:

Tania Ahmed and Jasdeep Wynter – Mentee of the Year

Brightside Awards 2013


Realising Opportunities (RO) is extremely proud that RO ementor Bethany Partridge won the award for Student Mentor of the Year at the Brightside Ementoring Awards in 2013. Bethany is a current student at the University of Exeter and her award recognises her outstanding commitment to online mentoring and providing advice and guidance to young people in the UK.

Well done to all our shortlisted finalists:

Rebecca Hall and Maria O’Hanlon – Ementoring Pair of theYear

Arsha Rani – Mentee of the Year

Brightside Awards 2012


In 2012 RO student India Stacey, from St Bede’s School in Lanchester, Co Durham, won the award for the Most Inspiring Mentee Journey at the inaugural Brightside Ementoring Awards. India was mentored by Elizabeth Green from the University of Manchester and commented that ementoring “reaffirmed all my beliefs about how important it is to go to university and it really puts you at the top of your game.”

Congratulations to all our shortlisted finalists:

Chantel Adom and Claire Chan – Most Active Mentee

Faith MacPherson – Student Mentor of the Year

Times Higher Education Award 2011

Photo - THE Awards 2011

Realising Opportunities was delighted to be named the Widening Participation Initiative of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards 2011, at the award ceremony held Thursday 24 November 2011. The Award, sponsored by Action on Access, was collected on behalf of the partnership by Professor Ella Ritchie, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University and Chair of Realising Opportunities.

Professor Ritchie said: “This is wonderful news for all the Universities who have been involved in this ground-breaking programme. Realising Opportunities has demonstrated that by providing a structured programme of activities targeted at harder to reach groups we can make a real difference to raising aspirations and increasing the number of young people choosing to go on to university”.

The awarding judges commented on the strengths of the programme, highlighting that:

Realising Opportunities is an outreach project involving a number of leading research intensive universities committed to increasing the recruitment of bright students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Summer schools, academic tutors, online study skills classes and ementoring by undergraduates were used to encourage teenagers classed among the “most able, least likely” to apply to top universities.

Led by Newcastle University, the scheme has targeted Year 12 and Year 13 students from educationally and socially disadvantaged backgrounds since it started in September 2009. It creates a bespoke support package for each student to help them when applying to university.

Staff and students from all RO institutions – Birmingham, Bristol, Essex, Exeter, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Warwick, York and King’s College London – engaged prospective students during the application process for entry in autumn 2011.

The project’s ementoring site was visited 12,000 times for an average of 30 minutes per session between May 2010 and May 2011. About 95% of participating Year 13 students applied for entry in 2011 and 58% of those applications were made to research intensive universities.

The project was funded by the Higher Education Founding Council for England, and the 12 institutions in the partnership have agreed to continue it beyond the pilot phase.

John Widdowson, principal and chief executive of New College Durham and a member of the judging panel, said: “This is an innovative national partnership showing evidence of real impact and great potential.

“The use of ementoring by current students provides a real link with prospective students and has resulted in increased application rates to targeted courses. The obvious success of the project for all concerned indicates that the partnership will be developed in the future”.